Intellectual curiosity is a competitive advantage.
But contrary to what you’ve been told, it has nothing to do with intelligence.
#1: Scrub Your Windows
“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.” - Isaac Asimov
Curiosity is a light that can only enter when your mental windows are clean. Scrub them off now and then. Let the light in.
#2: Embrace “I Don’t Know”
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” - Socrates
Avoid false confidence (and the people that display it!). Embracing what you do not know is a superpower. Recognize your gaps and blind spots. Slowly, methodically fill them in.
#3: Go Down Rabbit Holes
When you find a spark of curiosity, dive in and don’t look back. You cannot control when they come, so you must embrace them when they do.
The rabbit hole is the amusement park of the intellectually curious mind. Enjoy it!
#4: Ask “Dumb” Questions
When we are young, we always ask “Why?” But over time, we develop a fear of asking the “dumb” question that may draw the ire of our peers.
That fear stifles our intellectual curiosity. Fight it back. Face it. When in doubt, ask.
#5: Build Curiosity Circles
Curiosity is communal. Find a group of friends who are motivated by learning and growth. Share ideas, learnings, and insights with each other.
You’ll build bonds and have a constant source of stimulation for your intellectual curiosity.
#6: Make Learning the Goal
Learning with a specific end goal in mind often becomes a chore - it is a fast track to stifled curiosity. Focus on the learning itself - not other outcomes. Take pride in learning something new every single day.
“Learn as if you were to live forever.”
#7: Open Up to the World
The diversity of human experience in our world is one of the greatest gifts to the intellectually curious mind. When you meet someone new, take genuine interest in their life and experiences.
The world opens up to you, when you open up to the world.
#8: Focus on Your Passions
Forced learning is for school. It doesn’t work in practice. It stifles curiosity. Find what you truly enjoy learning about. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to be “intellectual” or impressive.
Remember: You are learning for you!
#9: Read Flexibly
Books are a life-changing investment that you can make for under $100.
But to take advantage, you must read flexibly. Read what you love. Read what draws you in. When it stops doing so, put it down. Forced reading is the antidote to curiosity.
#10: The Curiosity Chronicle
And last - but certainly not least - sign up for this newsletter...
A weekly short-form newsletter with five pieces of content curated to spark your intellectual curiosity.
So those are 10 ways to start developing your intellectual curiosity today.
For additional writing related to cultivating intellectual curiosity in your children, check out my friend Ana Fabrega at Synthesis, who is putting out incredible content. Synthesis is building something special disrupting traditional childhood education. Check them out here!
Until next time, stay curious, friends!