Moving into 2021, I’ve decided to devote myself to the notion of curiosity and how it can become a gateway to personal happiness. Remaining open to and curious about what is really happening—without attaching judgment—can be transformative and even healing.
So why in the world would I make a case for curiosity?
Because there is so much more to learn. Because the human experience is vast as is the wisdom buried in every moment. Because being curious makes us stop and notice. It is an outcome of mindfulness practice. It can shift awareness and draw us to moments of illumination. It invites us to ask questions, connect with more sensitivity, help break down barriers that exist between people and, finding purpose in life.
With an emphasis on curiosity, we begin to bring a different state of mind to each moment. We bring our full presence. We remain receptive. We make each moment a learning one—a moment in which we strengthen our mindfulness, grow from within, and be more kind to ourselves and others. We share our insights and, in caring for the insights of others, create an even better world. Rather than getting trapped by the power play of the mind, self-judgment and wishing things were different, we drop our fixed perceptions to allow things to be just as they are. We intentionally let go of old stereotypes, judgments and labels, open our minds and take risks to do something that fulfills our potential.
While becoming curious means different things to different people, in my experience, the first step is to pay attention in the present moment.
Present moment awareness is where we awaken to the more animated parts of our human story. It is where all my experiences, insights and revelations live. It is where I can choose to be curious about the world around me, my strengths and weaknesses, my dreams and lays the groundwork to turning each day into a good day.
"What can you do on a daily basis that will help you get to where you’d like to be in one year?"
Moving into the new year, let’s focus on being curious.
It’s a whole other way of being mindful. After all, we have learned so much from 2020. We’ve learned that life is out of our control. Health is fragile. Climate change is real. Systems of oppression exist. These are just a few global concerns that need our curiosity. If you are someone who cares about creating a kinder, more compassionate world, start by creating deeper connections with yourself and others. Recognize the humanity of all people and in doing so, watch the whole world become more inclusive, fair and just.
If you’re curious and feel motivated, watch Denzel Washington’s motivational speech on what you are going to do with what you have.
By Theo Koffler, public speaker, author and educator. Koffler is also the founder of Mindfulness Without Borders—a charitable organization that facilitates programs and workshops to strengthen social and emotional intelligence and secular mindfulness in the education, health and corporate sectors.