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Happiness & Satisfaction

Tapping into curiosity when things don't work out

November 8, 2022

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Christof Zellweger
3 minutes read
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Whenever life doesn’t work out the way we want, we get to make a choice on how to respond. When we react instead of respond, we typically resort to less effective means of handling any situation, such as going into panic, fear, scarcity or lack.
A way to respond in a usually more productive manner is to tap into your innate curiosity.

 

The role curiosity has played all along

From day one, getting curious about things and life has been nature’s psychological and emotional mechanism to explore our environment, making sense of the world around us and form our perceptions and ideas while forming (at least) part of the very personality we inhabit today. It allows us to discover and learn new skills, gain knowledge and engage with life fully, on a continual basis.

When we grow up and life happens as it does, we can easily forget how magical curiosity can be and feel drawn more toward safety and protection, even though they are often illusionary and don’t hold up under proper scrutiny. Then, we try to minimize and mitigate risks and shy away from riding our very own metaphorical dragon – the very thing that makes life so exciting.

 

So how do you engage with curiosity then?

When we start noticing how life isn’t going in the intended direction, we can put our curiosity to work by asking ourselves:

  • What is really happening?
  • How am I showing up and what am I creating, consciously or unconsciously, that has me experience the current circumstance?
  • Why is it going the way it’s going?
  • What am I missing here?
  • What is in the way?
  • What do I get to remove?

You are maybe feeling resistance to what is. There might be a sense of misalignment with what you are experiencing right now with what you actually want. Maybe you’re reading this and feel frustrated, angry and upset or it’s sadness, anxiousness, resentment and hurt.
Emotions carry important information that tell us something of value if we have the capacity and awareness to listen with an open heart and a curious mind. Maybe you need to cry, punch a pillow or put into words what is circulating in our heads.

Can you become intensely curious about the situation at hand, without resorting to blaming, shaming and guilt-tripping yourself?

Some questions to refocus your attention:

  • What might this be about?
  • Did you go through similar situations in the past, perhaps in a different context?
  • What is this trying to teach you?
  • And what is trying to emerge out of you as a result?
  • What are you invited to look at here?

 

Harnessing curiosity’s full power

Curiosity is the pre-cursor to awareness. Awareness points to the fact that something has come to your attention and now you are looking to understand it better. Feeling curious will drive you forward and lead you into a knowledge-gathering process, widens your perspectives and thus increases your awareness of behaviors, habits, patterns and beliefs you previously haven’t yet considered.

Curiosity invites us onto a less travelled but also more enlightened path. A path where we don’t blame ourselves or others for our circumstances. A path where we get to respond instead of react. A path where we allow, accept and embrace what has been sent our way. Then, we can take inspired action to make the necessary changes. Accepting what is doesn't mean we become passive and go into victim-mode. Quite the opposite actually. Acceptance allows for the space so that the highest-order solution can show up once the blocks, unsupportive habits and negative patterns have been transformed and integrated.

What can you get curious about right now? Follow the bread-crumbs and see where they lead.

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