In a physical fitness gym, a deadlift is a deep-squat exercise that recruits several major and minor muscles. I think of getting deeply curious in the same way—you need to use focus, positivity, learning, open-mindedness, and love to be truly curious. If instead you exercise the use of fear, then fear will shut down your creativity instead of building up your positivity.
When we allow ourselves to get deeply curious about something, we’re practicing a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses. It’s not something you have to conjure up—you just have to learn how to access it. No matter how far we drift away, mindfulness is right there to snap us back to the present moment: where we are, and what we’re doing and feeling.
Think about a time when you were curious about something. You just wanted to know more, so you started asking questions, reading articles, or watching videos on the topic—whatever it took to satisfy your curiosity. Remember how that felt? Did you find yourself feeling interested? Engaged? Energized? That’s what happens when we get curious about things.
When we satisfy our curiosity, we are in a state of “flow” or “the zone.” I bet you’re familiar with the state of flow—it’s that feeling of being completely absorbed in an activity and losing track of time. When we’re in flow, we feel our best and do our best work.
The good news is that we can get into flow anytime, anywhere, simply by getting curious about something. All it takes is a little bit of mindfulness to snap us out of autopilot and into the present moment, where we can start asking questions and satisfying our curiosity.
Try it right now:
1. Take a few deep breaths and close your eyes.
2. Focus your attention on your breath and notice how it feels as you inhale and exhale.
3. When your mind wanders, which it will, don’t judge it or beat yourself up about that. Simply bring your focus back to your breath.
4. Once you’re feeling calm and centered, open your eyes and choose something to focus on—it can be anything from a plant in the room to a person walking by outside.
5. Spend a few minutes observing whatever you’ve chosen, and notice as many details as you can. What does it look like? What does it smell like? What does it feel like?
6. Once you’ve taken the time to notice your chosen object, ask yourself some questions about it: What is it? How did it get here? What’s it made of? What does it do?
7. Keep asking questions until you’ve satisfied your curiosity, then move on to something else.
The more you practice this exercise, the easier it will be to snap out of autopilot and into a state of flow. And the more you’re in flow, the happier and more productive you will be.
So go out and get curious about something today!
Ready to work out your mind and build up your positive outlook?
Check out all three mindset workouts at the Positivity Gym: