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Modern life has been killing me.
And it's been killing me in one very specific way.
It has been trying to prevent me from using something that is at the core of who I am.
And that "thing" is curiosity, the tendency to simply notice the world around me and ask questions.
I've been under an extreme amount of stress lately (I decided to quit my job last week--story to come in a future newsletter) and I've realized that I'm not being as curious as I normally am.
So I've started doing something to change that.
And now I'm going to share this powerful strategy with you so that you can keep curiosity alive in your life and reap the rewards that follow.
Curiosity Kills the Cat (But Not Me)
My wife and I have a cat named Chip.
He's one of three cats we have, and he's by far the most curious of the bunch.
When he was a kitten, he would fly into cupboards or drawers the second we opened them.
It didn't matter what was in them--he had to go in there RIGHT AWAY.
I thought it was pretty stupid, to be honest.
But I realized something about Chip.
He learns remarkably quickly.
He's both incredibly mischievous and extremely intuitive.
And I chalk much of that up to his tendency to be curious to the max.
Compare Chip with how my life has been over the past few months.
I've been working extremely hard at a job that, I just realized, is not right for me.
I love the team I manage, and I love the mission we support, but there were factors at play that were not aligned with my values.
This busy lifestyle has put me in super-focus mode, always on high alert, intensely focused on all the spinning plates I need to keep in the air.
And when you're watching spinning plates, it leaves no space for being curious.
It leaves no space for being present in your life.
I didn't realize how much I was missing being curious until now.
The Benefits of Having Things Go Wrong (Why Curiosity is Important)
When I decided to put in my two weeks at work, I felt like a failure even though I know I'm not.
This business has been more successful than ever since I became manager, but I had to do what was right for me.
Still, there was this pervasive feeling that I had failed and that things were not going according to "my plan."
But something good happens when life goes "wrong."
Space opens up.
And I opened up to that space.
I love learning, and I love technology.
Something I used to do a year or so ago was scan producthunt.com for new, free software that entrepreneurs had made.
I've been giving myself permission to do this again.
I've been going to a section of the site that lets you view the most-voted-for products of each month. I did this for every month going back to December 2020.
What I discovered is that there are some pretty amazing creations--and creators--out there.
And then I came across an app name Geneva that I realized might be the answer for a community dilemma I've been having with The Mental Health Update.
I shut down the Members sections of The Mental Health Update a month or so ago because I didn't feel I was providing enough value for my paying subscribers.
I tried out various communities with them, and each app was clunky and hard to get people to use on a regular basis.
Geneva is the first app I've found that creates community in a way that is perfect for our modern, digital age and for the way we interact in a digital-first world.
I never would have found this had I not created the space for curiosity.
Every night, I reflect (OK, almost every night) by typing in a journal, and I realized carving out curiosity space has been absolutely life-changing--and life--invigorating.
That's why I'm sharing it with you.
This is how you can carve out curiosity space in your life:
- Find pockets of free time of at least 30 minutes.
- If you can't find that time--create that time. It's important.
- Let go of any judgments or assumptions you have about your life during this time--and just let yourself relax and explore.
- Search and notice as much as you can. Whether you're exploring the Internet or exploring your neighborhood during a walk around town, just be open to whatever you see.
- Being open to everything will help your brain form connections and likely solve problems you've been having. A lot of research has been done around how light activity provides just enough stimulus to occupy your attention but not too much to block creative thinking. This is why so many great ideas happen while you're taking a shower!
- Rinse and repeat (Bad shower joke...)
Seriously, try this at least once this week and see what happens.
Because things will go wrong in your life.
You will have to navigate stressful times.
That's just reality.
But you always get to choose how you respond.
Starting today, I hope you'll choose to allow more curiosity in your life.
That one thing you haven't yet noticed might be the one thing that changes your life for the better.