Habit 7 from the 12 Habits of Resilient + Thriving People
Each week for 12 weeks, I’ll blog about one habit. And if you feel inclined, you can road test it for yourself. Habit 7 is about the Love of Learning.
Habit 7: Love of Learning
Resilient people are learners. Gaining insight about themselves, others, and their world. They see challenges and change as an opportunity for learning. They see new conversations with people as an opportunity for learning. Learning can also lead them to accomplish new goals. Learning is happening all day and every day for resilient and thriving people.
Curiosity stokes the learning fire within everyone from children to adults. Curiosity is central to being a lifelong learner and to being open to new ideas, challenges, and opportunities. Curiosity switches our mind to “on” so it becomes open and active to new information and experiences coming towards it. Without curiosity, our beliefs and biases take control, flicking away and ignoring that new information or experience. Our beliefs and biases only want to put out the “welcome mat” to those things already known and familiar. Anything new is quickly ignored, sometimes to protect our self-esteem or social anxiety.
What seems like a million years ago, I went on a date (clearly this is before I married my BFF). He was a talkative man who told some great stories about his love of rock-climbing. Having always had an Everest fascination, his conversation was interesting. I asked lots of questions letting my curiosity of climbing go free-wheeling. I ate most of the Thai dishes we ordered as for him it was difficult to eat and talk at the same time. And talk he did. Non-stop. For what felt like hours. My husband and I often joke that some people just don’t seem to have that “receptor” that signals to them that the conversation is all one way (their way) and that the person they’re speaking “at” has stopped listening and allowed their mind to have a mini-vacation.
But what are these “non-curious” folk missing out on? Lots.
- Curiosity will develop good listening and questioning skills
- Curiosity questions beliefs or biases that may be limiting or unhelpful
- Curiosity curtails boredom. It invites excitement in
- Curiosity opens up new possibilities that could lead to all sorts of adventure
- Curiosity trains your mind to be attentive and observant
- Lifelong learning is awesome for cognitive growth, happiness, wellbeing, confidence, resilience, and so much more
- And curiosity might get you a second date!
Being curious so you become an everyday learner throughout your life is vital to developing resilience, wellbeing, and enabling a thriving life. What can you do to develop it?
1. Know your beliefs and biases
If you’re well aware of the lens you see your world through, you’ll be able to detect when they’re getting in the way of curiosity and learning. This might sound simple but does require some good honest excavation of your mind. Do I have on a negative lens? Am I listening with my bias of how things should be done? Be open to changing beliefs or biases that aren’t supporting learning.
2. Ask questions
Remember your what, when, where, how, who, and why family. Take them with you always. They’ll be your best friends particularly when your questions are digging into a new topic.
3. Replace boring with exploring
"Only boring people are bored". My mum would say this when I was a child and said “I’m bored”. It might’ve felt harsh at the time but I get it now. Putting the boring sticker on anything prematurely is chastising your curiosity and it stops you from a little exploring. Be curious at least for a while before deciding it’s not for you. You never know, boring might lead to interesting. Interesting will lead to learning.
4. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears
Don’t be one of those people who are looking everywhere other than the person you’re having a conversation with. Learn to listen with your eyes too. Being conscious of this small but “oh so important” behaviour will keep your mind focused on listening.
5. Read and listen to new information
We tend to subscribe to news feeds, blogs, podcasts, or magazines that we’re interested in. Makes sense. When you get the chance though, read an article that you wouldn’t normally put in your shopping trolley. Podcasts are fantastic for learning and they can be consumed so efficiently. Do a Google search on trending podcasts and find something new for your ears.
6. Drop aiming for “straight A’s”
Goals are great and resilient people set goals. However, if you set goals that are either too high or too focused on metrics, then you’ll lose sight of the wonderful learning that takes place on your journey towards your goal. Set realistic goals and enjoy the learning that takes place on the way.
Habit 7: Road Test
Review the six ideas above that will cultivate your curiosity and learning. Which one could you focus on that would give you the most benefit? Just choose one. This week, put a daily reminder in your phone that will prompt you to road test it. For example, could your eye contact improve when you’re in conversation? Write “eye contact” as your reminder so you become conscious of it during your next interaction with someone. Notice how better you listen when you’re listening with your ears as well as your eyes.