What makes us curious?

Insight: 8 ways to arouse curiosity

Asking questions, learning something new, rethinking: this is how we arouse our curiosity

1. Deepen knowledge

Find out more about a topic that fascinates you, but about which you know little or nothing at all: about an artist, an animal, a historical event - or simply about how to cook the perfect egg. No matter what, it is important that you immerse yourself in the topic over and over again for a few days. Or you read an article in the business or science section of the newspaper from start to finish.

If we deal with current topics in more detail and don't just scan the news on the Internet, we usually understand the situation better. This is a good prerequisite for sustained and long-term interest in certain topics.

2. Practice self-reflection

If we don't really feel at home in our own skin, it is important to analyze why this is the case. "If something bothers you and your thoughts do not come to rest, try to approach the inner world with friendly curiosity," advises the American psychologist Ruth Baer. "Instead of ignoring or suppressing your inner turmoil, open yourself up to him without judging what you find there. Greet your feelings kindly, like respectable guests." This cautiously inquiring attitude helps you to constantly develop yourself further.

3. Ask more questions

As a sincere interest, you can ask others anything. This is the best way to find out more about someone or about certain topics. Sometimes the answer to a question seems so obvious that you don't dare ask it. We think we're annoying the others or we really need to know the answer. Dare to do it anyway, because the answer is often very different than expected.

4. Overcome fear of failure

Taking on challenges can be satisfying if you are successful at it. But if we approach others or try completely unknown things, then we will also encounter resistance, run into dead ends or even fail. Allowing yourself such moments is important, because we can only develop ourselves through experiments.

Realize that failure, especially in small things, can also be enriching; the experience that something does not work out the way we thought it is often a great learning opportunity.

When we move around the world openly, life becomes more interesting. How do we keep a curious look?

5. Try something new

Consciously seek out entirely new experiences: try something you've never eaten before, listen to a new radio station, go to a museum or some other interesting place you don't know, or try to learn something from a colleague that you still have didn't know. Breaking new ground is one of the nicest and easiest ways to challenge your own curiosity.

6. Make everyday observations

Make more of seemingly boring and familiar situations in everyday life: For example, you can take a close look around when you are standing in line at the supermarket instead of checking Instagram. Look at the labels on your food or see what other people are doing while they are waiting.

In short: look carefully at what you normally would not even notice. To perceive the environment with curious astonishment is even a meditation exercise in the Buddhist tradition - it trains the open mind.

7. Go under the explorers

Read about thinkers, artists, and people whose work you admire. Find out how they lived and thought what drove them in their work. You might even make the effort to do some real research. Instead of just searching the web, you can go to a bookstore or library and look for information there. This will possibly bring you exciting chance discoveries - and with it the pleasant surprise of looking for one and finding something else. In such moments we often feel particularly inspired and given gifts.

8. Change perspective

Are there any topics that you have a very firm opinion about? Where your position is perfectly clear to you? Whether political convictions, your attitude towards environmental protection or a colleague you don't like - try to look at things from a different perspective.

Research what people from other parties think and why, try to make environmental protection more important or less important than you usually do for a while. And try to see the world from the point of view of your slow, self-centered, or accurate colleague. You will probably be able to understand better what drives him or how he feels afterwards. And that's worth a lot.

Text: Chris Muyres, Anne Otto