Albert Einstein said that his “curiosity, obsession, dogged endurance combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas.” Then I read an article ‘The Secret to Being Creative’. US psychologist Todd Kashdan concludes that IQ, personal relationships and professional creativity are all enhanced by curiosity. “Jo is so different to me.” This is a remark I hear often and is usually meant by way of criticism about the person my client is discussing in therapy, usually in a close personal or professional relationship. It can be receipt for the way to success.
It seems Todd Kashdan has a book to promote: ‘Curious, Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life’. He advocates stimulating curiosity and has some ideas how to do that. He has teamed up with Psychologies magazine to create a 3 day Life Curious Challenge. Look out for it. I couldn’t find the challenge on the website, but I read the article. Some of his ideas are excellent and often correspond to tips, or tools, I talk about with my clients.
1. Do something different.
2. Take in new ideas by talking to people who may have a completely different way of thinking about an issue to you.
3. Change your desk / workspace layout.
4. Go for a walk, or take the time to let the ‘light bulb’ moment distil.
5. Focus on the here and now: i.e. disregard the pile of what you have got to do or what you’ve done wrong. Breathing steadily and rhythmically through the body is a great way to achieve this. (More detail of this technique later.)
6. Day dream, lateral thinking, brainstorming … do whatever works to kick-start.
Business psychologist Steve Carter agrees “playful and rebellious spirit produces the best brainwaves.” He breaks up the process into
- recognition of the problem or opportunity
- incubation, when you mull it over
- illumination, when you identify the way forward.
That’s what I call the Ah Ha or Light bulb moment.
Our curiosity can be contagious, and helps to strengthen our relationships