Extreme Esteem: Nurturing a sense of curiosity

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

— E. E. Cummings, American poet

Curiosity is a critical component of an empowered life. A desire to learn something new keeps life exciting, engaging, and enjoyable. Lack of interest can lead to a lack of involvement in life. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for we humans, curiosity is a vital ingredient of a healthy and ever-evolving life.

Children possess what Zen philosophy terms as the “beginner’s mind.” Children are awed and fascinated with the wonder of the world – curious about everything.

As an adult, it’s vital that we nurture a healthy sense of curiosity. For most of us, though, the demands of everyday living – work and family – have stifled our natural curiosity. We’ve lost touch with our innate sense of wonder. It’s time to get it back!

A cat may be curious for curiosity’s sake. A simple case of stimulus and response. Since humans can think in abstractions, we can be curious about our immediate stimuli, but can also ponder things and imagine any number of possible outcomes. We can observe, surmise, explore and experiment. Curiosity may prompt us to try wild things, and in the process, we just might discover some new and practical applications.

Incredible advances have been made in technology, medicine, manufacturing and such, just because someone explored a possibility for the sake of curiosity.

Think about it. A millennium ago, some curious person noticed that seeds accidentally dropped onto fertile ground soon took root and produced edible plants. Curiosity prompted this individual to try deliberately sowing seeds, and agriculture was born.

To me, building our self-esteem is all about curiosity. It’s about becoming intensely curious about ourselves – our beliefs, values, perceptions and motivations – and asking, “Why do I think, act or react in a particular manner?” When we become curious about ourselves, we begin to see possibilities and the potential for change – perhaps for the first time in years. With curiosity comes hope for a better life, free from self-doubt.

When we make time to study our past and ponder the possibility of a different outcome, we become hopeful once again. The possibility of change looms large. We look for new tools, and we try new things. We plant good seeds in the fertile ground of our mind, and we watch to see what emerges. As our healthy self-esteem grows, so does our curiosity and with it new ideas, insights and a renewed desire to improve.

The time has come to awaken your sense of curiosity. Challenge yourself. Push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Collect new tools. Try to see things with beginner’s eyes. Re-engage your imagination.

You can start today by becoming actively involved in your personal development. Talk to empowered people, read good books on self-esteem – attend workshops. Do what you can to expose yourself to different people, places, and things. The more you do it, the more curious you’ll become. Curiosity will lead you to discover amazing things about yourself and the world around you.

“Curiosity is the very basis of education,” wrote Canadian author Arnold Edinborough. “And if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, (then) I say only that the cat died nobly.”

The most efficient way to unearth new experiences is to go looking for them. In other words, become intensely curious about everything. Nurture your natural curiosity and reawaken your glorious sense of wonder. When you do, you’ll never see the world or yourself in the same light again. And you’ll be amazed at what you discover.

Murray Fuhrer is a self-esteem expert and facilitator.

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