12 Tips to Learn How to Be Curious

da-vinci_self_portraitSome people are born curious like Leonardo da Vinci. For others, curiosity just “kicks in” over time.

t’s never too late to learn how be curious. Finding your passion in work gets easier with the journey more interesting if you develop curiosity. So how can you learn it?

The Problogger’s How Guide to Curiosity

“How to Be Curious” by Darren Rowse of Problogger.net is the perfect “How-to” guide on learning curiosity. Here are the how-to steps with my commentary:

  1. Don’t accept spin: often what we’re exposed to is only the tip of the iceberg. Scratch the surface by dive in a little deeper or look at it from a 360-degree perspective, and then investigate any or all new information that you discover.
  2. Ask questions: be like a little kid. If I see or read something that peaks my curiosity, I’m thinking, “how?” or “why.” Asking more questions is like turning over more rocks. You never know what you’ll find under there. Perhaps it’s something amazing or it’s mundane.
  3. Ask ‘What if…’: I think in three scenarios. I analyze by using the worst, most likely, and best-case scenarios. When I’m feeling creative, I think Sci-Fi asking, “what if, in a parallel universe” or “what if, in another life time, it had turned out like this?”
  4. ‘Turn questions into quests’: God bless Amazon.com. The first thing I do when I get curious about something is go to Amazon.com and do a search on whatever I’m curious about. I buy the most relevant item and then enjoy getting lost in Amazon’s Recommendations for more books. It turns into a quest for me. I typically buy up to 3 or 5 books before I leave the website.
  5. Dig deeper than the RSS feed: breadth is nice, but depth is better. Taking a deep dive into the object of your curiosity is more satisfying than only looking at the high-level or macro view. Think verticals, not horizontals, unless your 360 view has you motivated to research breadth and depth.
  6. Use available tools: Amazon.com is a great resource for finding the books for your research. If you’re brainstorming, then mindmapping is always effective. I also use other programs like Google Notebook so I easily save what I’ve found in my online research. Use note cards or all the usual ways you collect information so you can easily organize your thoughts later.
  7. Put disconnected ideas together: over time, you learn how to see disparate things, realizing that they may be related. Cross pollinate ideas by using a paradigm or framework from one disciple and apply it to another.
  8. Play: some of my play comes from business travel or vacations when I read books on the latest objective of my curiosity. I also love going to bookstores and browsing in other cities, doing a physical search on the topic. Discovering new books is play to me. How can you incorporate what you like to do for play?
  9. Get proactive: it’s easy to accept things as they are, but we have take initiative if we want to be curious. Being reactive or doing nothing reaps different results than being curious.
  10. Network: talk or email others you respect on the thing you’re curious about.
  11. Find a ‘curiosity buddy’: it’s more fun when we get curious with someone. It makes for lively discussions and more field trips to the bookstore.
  12. Slow down: just sit, reflect, or slow down. Once you find great information, then sit down. Do nothing. Let the thoughts come to you.

The Curious Blog, Design for Learning

I mentioned mind maps in number six above. The following mindmap is from a wonderful blog that I just discovered called Design for Learning by Natalie Kilkenny. Her blog is refreshing because she’s a curious soul, especially on knowledge management.

This is a perfect example of using mindmapping as a tool for discovery. As Natalie learns more about the nature and implications of applying a Knowledge Management system, she’ll update this mindmap on her blog.


So get curious by getting lost in your thoughts, mindmaps, and Amazon’s Recommended books on the object of your curiosity.

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