Overcoming Fear Of Failure

We can all fear failure or even just taking that first step towards getting something done, even when we KNOW it will improve things and it can seem easier and less stressful to do nothing, no matter whether we need motivation for finals, motivational fulfillment or whatever. Quite often managers look for ways to motivate their staff, just VERY occasionally we find the staff or a friend working out how to motivate the boss! Here is Don’s story, told in his own words.

 

Don’s Story

I experience this exact same thing. The problem is to be able to get beyond the fear of failure. It is a very hard thing to beat. I even have a fear of trying new things. I own a stamp manufacturing company in Casper Wyoming. I bought it back in 1994. Like most things I do I just couldn’t leave the thing alone. I tinkered and played and did some things that were really dumb, but it all worked out. This story is about modernizing my equipment in order to expand further and faster. I was using a system to make stamps that was a multiple step process. Like five to six steps to get to a workable product. All of the steps were manual, hard to accomplish, and even harder to get right. I had increased the business so much that the stamp orders were falling behind. I was getting close to the maximum I could do with the equipment I currently had.

I had no trouble making the decision that I need to upgrade. I did the research and I knew the equipment I wanted to upgrade to. I flew down to Arizona and met with the manufacturer of the equipment and negotiated a really good deal on the equipment I needed. The expenditure was well over $40,000.00. The equipment arrived at my place of business and I set it all up. AND, there it sat for the next 3 months while I worked like a dog to get all the stamps out in a timely fashion.

You see this new system was a three step system. I could do all of the stamps I currently was doing in 1/3 of the time it was currently taking. But I was still procrastinating for whatever reason. I had lots of excuses. I didn’t really know how it would work. I didn’t know what types of problems I would face using the new equipment. blah, blah blah….. I really just don’t like new things, YET, I really do like new things, I bought it didn’t I. What the heck was my problem.

One day I came to work on a Saturday. There was a pot of flowers on top of the new equipment, they were beautiful, but they were on my new equipment, what the heck. Then I noticed there was a note stuck under the edge of the pot. It said, If we aren’t going to use this thing for anything else, I’m going to put flowers all over it. This was from a friend who had been watching my struggles with the old equipment while the new equipment just got dustier and dustier.

That was like the final straw. I took the flowers off of the top of the thing, dusted it all off, cleaned it and turned it on and just sat down and worked with it. Dang it was fun, and easy, OMG, it was easy! I loved that new equipment. I had to get over my fear of new stuff in order to get going on it.

Author Bio

This was written by Donald. You can see his stamps at http://bbrubberstamp.com/

So if you are procrastinating over getting something done, look out, if Don finds out, he may come over and plant some flowers in your computer box!

Why Can’t I Stick To A Diet?

Can’t Do It Any More!

Do you find that you get 2 weeks into a diet and suddenly, you no longer want to do it? Maybe it’s only 2 days or even 2 hours? Don’t laugh, I have been there. You decide you need to go on a diet, because everyone tells you that you are putting on weight, especially those close family members, like your mom or sis or really close friends. You agree, “yeah, I know” and start starving yourself or stuffing yourself with lettuce until a couple of hours later, you need a fill of chocolate ice cream or a bar of chocolate or a candy bar of some kind and you gulp it down secretly, guiltily hiding the wrappers behind the wardrobe until you can stuff them in the bin. Or maybe you take extra time at the shops and buy a giant size bar of candy to eat while window shopping, so you can drop the wrappers in the garbage bin at the fast food outlet?

It’s Because You Have Been TOLD You Have To Do It

Think about it. Was it the same when you had to do homework as a kid? You were just psyching yourself up to get it done, when someone, mum or dad, or nosy neighbor told you had “better get on with it” and whoosh …. instead of psyching yourself up to do it, you instantly rebelled and determined NOT to do it just because someone told you that you had to! It didn’t matter to them that you would have done it eventually. They felt you SHOULD do it NOW and of course, you decided that no one was going to tell you what to do and when. It’s a no-win situation.

You’re Older Now?

Of course, you’re older now and that doesn’t apply any more – or does it? Think about it. How recently did you decide NOT to do something because someone else tried to push you into it or into getting something done when you weren’t ready? Have you been called stubborn? I saw a t-shirt a few weeks ago. It was being worn by a worker at her retirement party in work. It said, “Don’t wanta, don’t havta, I’m retired – do it yourself!” So even seniors can feel that they are being pushed into doing things they don’t want to or that they are being pushed into doing things sooner than they would choose. This includes diets and eating “healthily”.

How To Overcome Others’ Pressure?

You have to want to do it for yourself and for your own reasons, NOT because someone told you that you needed to lose weight. What story or explanation would help you decide to stick to a healthy diet and lose weight? For my grandmother, it was mobility. In her 60s she had to start using two walking sticks to get around (there were no zimmer frames in those days). Once she started dieting, she was able to throw away the sticks and walk normally again, a big benefit for someone with no car. For me, it was the feeling of my heart bumping in bed at night because it felt as if it didn’t have enough space in  my chest and with one diabetic grandmother and one diabetic sister, that was enough to determine me to lose weight.

Don’t Tell Others

There are arguments on both sides here. Telling others can make you feel accountable and keep you on the straight and narrow when you don’t feel like it. For me, I prefer to make my own choices and not have others try to second guess me or try to push me faster than I might like.

Write It In Your Journal

You can keep yourself accountable by writing everything down in your journal. I keep  motivation charts with exercise o calories consumed and body measurements. It helps me keep track of progress.

You CAN Stick To Your Diet

When it’s YOUR choice about what and when you will do something. Try reading or finding other information on health problems caused by overweight or obesity, especially ones that particularly relate to YOU, perhaps on mobility, or diabetes or arthritis or stroke or heart problems. Once you find your own reason for doing something, it will be easier and won’t feel like you are being pushed into dong something you don’t want.

Health Benefits Of Massage

Using Massage To Improve General Well-Being

Did you ever wonder about the health benefits of massage, or did you think it was just a luxury item for self-indulgent rich folks with lots of time on their hands for pampering? There are several different types of massage and many ways that massage can help to increase your general well-being.

Some of the most commonly known types of massage are Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu (Japanese finger pressure) aromatherapy massage, and reflexology.

A quick definition of these types follows below:

• Swedish massage typically uses oil on bare skin and long sweeping, or circular, and rhythmical strokes that induce a sense of relaxation, peace, and calm.
• Thai massage may be done with the recipient either naked or clothed: the practitioner uses various stretching maneuvers along with deep finger pressure to reduce tension. It is usually performed on the floor and famously the practitioner walks along the back!
• Shiatsu is typically performed through clothing on a mat known as a futon on the floor. Deep pressure on acupuncture or acupressure points using thumbs, hands, elbows, and even feet may be used. Some stretching but generally less vigorous than Thai massage. Shiatsu works by balancing the distribution of energy throughout the body.
• Aromatherapy massage uses oils blended with essential plant oils whose properties are known to have medicinal qualities. The beneficial molecules get absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin and aid in healing.
• Reflexology is an ancient form of foot massage. Points on the feet relate to various parts of the body and are pressed and massaged to bring about healing in the related body part.

Relaxation

You probably know that massage is incredibly relaxing. If you are into natural highs, or just want to feel better overall, then massage is probably a good choice for you. It can also help you sleep better and relieve stress. So, how does it work? You know that when you have a massage your body quickly softens into a deep state of relaxation. Massage works by relieving muscular tension, increasing blood flow to an area and promoting relaxation.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, massage helps to alleviate stagnation in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, and improve the circulation of energy. When energy in the body is in flow, health ensues. When energy is stuck, disease is the result.

Massage Benefits

Various studies have found massage to be helpful in reducing symptoms in the following conditions:
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Insomnia
• Back pain
• Sports injuries
• Stress
The benefits of gentle caring touch should not be underestimated in and of themselves.

Contra Indications

There are a few contra-indications for massage, which include deep vein thrombosis, cancer, blood disorders, open wounds, severe osteoporosis, and fractures. If in doubt, consult your physician before trying massage.

Benefiting From Massage

A good massage usually lasts about an hour but length of sessions can run from half an hour to up to two hours. A recommendation by word of mouth is usually the best way to find a great practitioner; however, you find them you should check out their credentials and make sure they are certified by a reputable school.
All in all then, massage is much more than a superficial and luxurious way to pamper yourself. Massage can have far-reaching effects on your overall health and general well-being and can be a valuable tool in your self-care regime.
Regular sessions can increase your quality of life by enhancing your mood, reducing the tension you carry, and alleviating an array of physical symptoms.
If you can manage a session, a week you will really notice an improvement in how you feel about yourself; and your motivation and outlook on life will improve, as you feel more comfortable inside your own skin.

Overcome Denial

I’m In Denial – Now What?

This was told to me by someone I knew some years ago:

Agnes’s Story

“I know others have told me to lose weight. Even my doctor has told me to lose weight. I thought he said ‘wait, wait’ and I asked, ‘wait for what?’

‘No,’ he said, ‘The problem is W E I G H T! You need to lose weight, not wait for something to happen. Although if you do wait, it’s likely to be diabetes or a heart attack!’

So I have acknowledged that I need to lose weight, well … at least I heard my doctor say that and some of my friends too, but it’s too hard. I’ve tried before and failed. I was hungry all the time. I even went to exercise classes but nothing worked, I didn’t lose a single ounce. Now what?”

Agnes was in denial.

Overcoming Denial

The virtuous spiral can be exited at any point if you choose and denying there is a problem is a choice. You may not think it much of a choice but nevertheless, you have chosen to leave. You may argue that “nothing worked before, so it won’t work now”, or “it’s too hard”, but those, and other phrases are just your body whining because it doesn’t want to have to leave its comfort zone.

Comfort Zone – What Comfort Zone?

Your comfort zone is where you do what you have always done. It’s where very little changes, where you eat the kinds of things you have always eaten, where you refuse to learn anything new because “it won’t make any difference” and where you hover between the fire and the ice, so you’re not too hot and not too cold, even though you may not be truly comfortable there, at least you’re not frozen or burnt. It also includes searching out those “sweet treats” or “allowable sins”, so you can keep your sweet tooth in the comfort to which it has become accustomed.

diagram
But NOTHING CHANGES there, unless something is forced upon you. That something may be slowly progressive, like joint pain, creaking knees and increasing breathlessness. They may be brushed off as “Just getting old” but the something could also be a dramatic event like a heart attack or a stroke or a diagnosis of diabetes.

That is what you are choosing when you deny that change needs to be made. Your choice to do nothing does not guarantee that things will stay the same, though they may. Your choice to do nothing ALSO contains the possibility of something dramatic happening to you through your inaction.

What Next?

Agnes decided to take up a new exercise. She got herself a bike and used it for doing her shopping and travelling back and forth to her part time, local job. She lost her weight, by deciding to find something DIFFERENT to do that would give her more exercise and help her lose weight and of course by USING it. The best exercise or road bike in the world won’t help if it doesn’t get used.

QUESTION

The next stop on the virtuous spiral is to “Question”. You can use this to get yourself out of denial. Ask yourself WHY people (especially your doctor) might be telling you to lose weight. It’s definitely a topic few friends will bring up unless they are very close and concerned about your health. Most spouses won’t mention it either unless they are deliberately trying to upset you or get at you. Ask yourself whether your friends or partner might be deliberately trying to make you unhappy or whether they have your true interests at heart. If you think they are trying to help, then ask WHY they want you to lose weight.

Why Do I Need To Lose Weight?

Only you can answer this. Some of your answers might be:

  • I don’t have the energy to do my daily jobs, work or housework
  • I am finding it difficult to climb stairs or get breathless if I move far
  • My knees or hips or both hurt because of the extra weight being carried
  • My clothes don’t fit any more and I find it hard to get new ones that fit me
  • My doctor has told me I have high blood pressure, or I am prediabetic
  • My doctor or health adviser has said I need to lose weight
  • I can’t bend down or reach to do up my clothes at the back
  • A close relative has diabetes or has suffered a major illness because of overweight
  • I don’t like to have my photograph taken and I wince when I see ones taken without me knowing

So Now What?

If you have provided yourself with some questions, now you need to get the information to answer these, so you have taken yourself on round the virtuous spiral to the next step – get information.

Motivation For Weight Loss

http://www.motivation4success.net/motivation-for-weight-loss/Need Motivation To Lose Weight?

Do you want to lose weight? Or have your friends, your partner or your doctor told you that you could do with dropping a few pounds? What is your reaction? Do you pat your muffin tops or your belly and agree, then forget about it? Do you starve yourself for a couple of hours, or perhaps a couple of days, then gorge yourself, because you’re starving? Maybe you get a diet cookbook and find the meals are nothing like what you’re used to and give up in despair?

How To Develop Motivation

Developing motivation is a virtuous spiral (you know, the opposite of that “downward spiral” we all get into sometimes when we have dropped off the bandwagon and decide there’s no point in continuing because it’s just too hard).

It’s a spiral because you move in a circle to take your first baby step and then continue round that circle but at a higher level. Each turn of the circle is a small step, as small as you want, but it’s in the right direction.

First ACKNOWLEDGE The Problem

Did you pat your belly or muffin tops (or some other overweight or jiggly bit) or look in the mirror and agree with the speaker, or say to yourself, “I need to lose some weight”? What happened then? Did you forget about it? Maybe you sighed and said, “I’ve tried but it’s no use”, or perhaps you starved for a couple of hours, then reached for the ice cream tub? Maybe you said, “Everyone puts on a bit of weight as they get older”, or perhaps “A bit of extra weight won’t hurt”? This is called DENIAL. If you deny you have a problem, or even agree that you have a problem but do not intend doing anything about it, then you are denying there is any problem at all. At this point, you have removed yourself from the virtuous spiral and won’t be able to continue on around it.

What Does “Acknowledge” Mean?

In this case, it doesn’t just mean “Agree”. It is possible to verbally agree with your reflection or with someone else that you could do with losing a few pounds (or more) but mentally not accept the position. If at that point you forget all about it or do not recognize the situation as being serious then you are either in denial (I hear what you said, I don’t accept it but I am not going to argue) or you have recognized the problem and chosen not to do something about it (I admit that there is problem but I won’t tackle it). That is of course, your choice. If you acknowledge there is a problem but having thought about it, decided to do nothing, then you CHOSE that course of action. I have done that in the past too.

 

diagram

Acknowledge = Accept = Agree = Admit

Provided you acknowledge that you have a problem, either one you have recognized yourself or one that someone else has pointed out, then the next small step is to QUESTION.

Second – QUESTION

You may find it difficult to agree with your eyes or with your friend, even though you have acknowledged that there MAY be a problem. With weight loss, as with so many other changes we feel we need to make (or others WANT us to make) there can be a reluctance to actually engage with the problem. We feel there is a barrier of some kind maybe protecting us from making changes. This can be so. Very often, our body or our mind does not want to accept that there is a problem because if we truly accept there is a problem, then that means we have to change. Change can be scary even if it is to protect our health because it means moving out of our comfort zone. Sometimes the only thing scarier than accepting we need to change is getting a life or health fright, like having a heart attack, a stroke or diabetes. Getting an event like that can provoke life changes because the event was so frightening that no change is as bad as that event was, but without a scare like that, our body or our mind may put up a barrier that we cannot see and that we find it hard to cross or push through, that stops us making changes and keeps us in that comfort zone, where nothing changes, so nothing gets done!

What Type Of Questions?

The sorts of questions you could ask yourself (and write down your answers, so you can look back on them) could be: Do I really need to lose weight? How do I know? Why did they say that? Who mentioned it? My doctor, a friend or relative, myself? Did I see a photograph of myself that horrified me?

Is there a particular reason I have put on weight recently? What? Have I always been heavy? Am I under stress at the minute? Is something happening in my life that means I am turning to food for comfort? Am I eating because I am bored? Is my mouth bored and just wants something to chew? Am I on medication that makes me get bigger?

What effect will excess weight have on my  health? Have I been told I am in danger of a heart attack, a stroke, going blind, getting diabetes? Are there any other problems I have been told I might get because of excess weight?

Am I having any problems with my health at present? Am I finding it hard or harder to move? Are my joints suffering from carrying extra weight? Am I puffing or panting when exercising, when I didn’t used to? Are my clothes getting too tight? Do I have to wriggle on the bed to pull up those trousers I used to fit into easily?

What am I actually eating? Junk food, too much sugar or sweet stuff?

There is a free downloadable workbook available if you want something in which to write down your answers to keep.

Third – INFORMATION

Now you have asked yourself questions and maybe provided some answers or thoughts on these, you need to go and find the INFORMATION you need. What you NEED will depend on your answers to the QUESTIONS in step 2. For instance, if you are not sure whether you need to lose weight, check out your BMI and see what the official guidelines are. You need to be cautious with this if you are a bodybuilder or athlete because you may appear to be overweight using the BMI guidelines when you are not. But for every other adult, the BMI is a good guide to whether you need to lose weight (or even gain it!).

If you don’t know what the health effects of excess weight are, then check these out on line. Google is your friend here. For instance, there is a video from WebMD on the effects of extra weight or there are a number of informational pages from NIH. Basically, excess weight can lead to increased blood pressure (hypertension) diabetes, which can lead to possible blindness, amputation of limbs and many other problems.

If you are not sure whether your diet includes a lot of junk food, then you could check this page on WebMD for information.

Fourth – PLAN

Now that you have acknowledged that you have a problem, questioned yourself about this and gained information that will help you decide what you need to do, it’s time to PLAN WHAT to do. You may find that the information you gathered has frightened you or at least made you very much aware that you may have a problem that needs dealing with NOW rather than later. This can be helpful in planning what to do, as long as you plan a sensible and healthy way of dealing with it, rather than jumping immediately into an unsustainable crash starvation diet, which you just as quickly crash out of!

What Sort Of Plans?

If the information gathered shows that you are carrying excess weight and you decide you want to get rid of it, then you need to plan HOW to do this. You may have been on diets previously and found them difficult to stick to. You may have concerns about feeling hungry or tired. You may not know what sort of diet would suit you and your lifestyle or you may have health problems that mean you need to be careful when changing your diet. These are all the sorts of areas you need to cover in your QUESTIONS and INFORMATION sections and now PLAN to cover as many of these as possible. Your plan may include getting more information, perhaps on a particular diet, or on the kinds of food that would suit you best. Your plan might include speaking to your medical adviser, especially if you have other health concerns. It might include getting started on a particular diet and getting in any special items you need for it. It could be planning to buy a set of food scales or a set of bathroom scales or even a diet cook book for your preferred diet.

But what ever plans you make, the next step is to take ACTION

Fifth – ACTION

There is no point getting a lot of information and planning down to the last detail if you do not TAKE ACTION.

What sort of action? It can be as small a step as you feel comfortable with. You might actually purchase those bathroom scales or food scales. You might start eating more healthily, cutting out soda, candy and cookies, or taking a large glass of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning. You might go to your library and borrow books on nutrition or a particular diet plan or you might join a slimming group. Whatever you have planned to do, TAKE THAT ACTION.

What Then?

Back To ACKNOWLEDGE

Now it’s back to “Rinse and Repeat. Remember, this is a virtuous spiral and you have come full circle, back to the top and “ACKNOWLEDGE”, so you need to keep going round it, improving as you move through each level. What do you acknowledge this time? You may want to consider whether you bought your books or scales or diet plan or joined a slimming group. or started on your diet. What did you DO with what you learnt and planned? How did your ACTION pan out? Then move on again to QUESTION: did you find out anything particularly worrying? Do you need to take medical advice? Do you need more information? Do you need to try something different? Get more INFORMATION and PLAN your next step, then again, TAKE ACTION.

Follow these steps round this spiral, improve your information, give yourself feedback, plan your campaign and take action on the next step, motivating yourself to lose weight.

 

Big Life Lessons From Small Events

Harvesting ripe apples
Harvesting ripe apples

I was picking apples from the tree a few days ago, before the autumn winds turned them all into bruised windfalls. There is something soothing and relaxing about being out in the garden alone, picking the fruit and carefully putting it in a bag or box to store or share with neighbours. Concentrating on fruit picking and climbing up and down a ladder or on a chair every couple of minutes, rather than worrying about other things can give you a perspective on strategies to deal with other aspects of life, without having to think about specifics of any one problem and I realised that I was learning a lot of valuable lessons about life.

When Birds come calling – get picking

One of our apple trees (we have 5) is a magnet for birds. When they start flocking to that tree, it’s time to pick the fruit, before it’s all spoiled by peck holes, letting rot in. The birds are a good indicator that the fruit, especially at the top of the tree, is ripe and ready to eat, even if that lower down is not quite ready.

Life lesson 1

If you have a regular or annual job or even a big job to do, what are the “birds” that can signal to you that it’s time to do something? If you regularly run over on your credit card for instance, maybe an email or letter from your bank should be dealt with immediately, rather than ignored, before your card gets declined. If you try to watch your weight, maybe the “birds” are your waistband getting tighter. Think about what happens just before something has to be done. If you can pick up on those signals early enough, you will have fewer problems.

Low hanging fruit is easy but not necessarily the best

The low hanging fruit is the one you can pick standing on the ground. It’s easy to reach, it’s perfectly edible and probably less likely to have been attacked by the birds, who prefer the fruit at the top of the tree. If you don’t have an apple, then the low hanging fruit is the one to get. On the other hand, it may be smaller and not as red brushed by the sun and a bit more effort, using a chair or stepladder (careful) would get you a bigger, possibly sweeter apple.

Life lesson 2

Should you go for low hanging or the high fruit? How about both? If you are working on the internet, perhaps trying to rank a website, then the low hanging fruit is best to try for first. Get those easy keywords, find the quick sales, get the articles written and posted, because that low hanging fruit is what will lead you to the higher fruit. If you are picking apples on the other hand, it may be best to get out the stepladders and go straight for the high fruit, it is often bigger and sweeter and will provide you with a better return for your effort. Choose what is best for your circumstances – the easy wins or the longer term gains?

Low Hanging fruit
Low Hanging fruit

Find a Different Perspective To Get The Fruit

When you’re in the middle of an old apple tree, balancing on a chair or stepladder supported by an uneven grassy lawn, with gnarly branches poking at your back, it can be hard to spot all the apples. They may be hiding behind leaves or on the other side of a branch. Getting down from the chair or ladder to view from the ground, or climbing a bit higher can give you a whole new perspective and help you find fruit you had not realised was there.

Life lesson 3

A new perspective is very helpful when trying to solve problems. If you can look at a problem from a different point of view, or from a different angle you may find solutions that were not visible when you stayed in the same place and kept looking in the same areas. Standing back, taking a deep breath, asking for someone else’s point of view are all useful ways of gaining a different perspective. What do you need to take a different perspective on in order to find the fruit?

Find Your Strategy

Placing the ladder or the chair in the right spot to pick apples without getting poked in the eye or risking falling means looking at the situation to decide which set of apples to go for and the safest and best place for the ladder / chair BEFORE climbing up and picking. Looking for the right spot ahead of time gains you the most apples with the least amount of shifting around.

Life lesson 4

apple tart
apple tart

What do you need to develop a strategy for? Are you writing a report, finding keywords, researching something, selling goods on a stall, teaching your child to read or digging a garden pond? Each of these would benefit from developing a strategy to tackle it. What is your goal? What is your strategy to reach it? My goal was to make an apple tart! My strategy included first getting the apples.

Cultivate Curiosity

curious cat in tree
Keep on being curious

Curiosity Meaning

Curiosity is the name for a totally natural drive to learn something new or to find out about something. It is sometimes considered a bad character trait, with people being termed “nosey” because they are curious about other people’s doings. Curiosity may also have killed the cat, but on balance, being curious is a good thing to be and to continue to be throughout life: it keeps us engaged in life and keeps our brains active.

Curiosity Quotient

Researchers have defined the curiosity quotient (CQ) as how “hungry” your mind is to be inquisitive, to learn something new or to be open to having new experiences. Those with high CQ quickly get bored with the routine stuff and enjoy new experiences, always preferring the new over the tried and true, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Natural Curiosity

Curiosity is also a key component in lifelong learning. Natural curiosity is a trait that should be encouraged, and if you feel you have lost yours over the years, it can be brought back to life again!

Rekindle Your Curiosity

Here are some ways to cultivate your curiosity which can lead to a love of learning new things for the rest of your life.

Question

Ask questions and remain a learner. Sometimes, as we get older we think we should already have all the answers, especially when a young person is asking us about something. But thinking this way could keep us from acquiring new knowledge and skills and even from changing our attitudes and learned preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t worry about asking what might seem simple questions, after all, everyone has to start somewhere.

Wait Before Coming To A Judgement

Have you ever noticed that if you are having a conversation with someone and you disagree with something they have said, you tune out everything else they say until you get a chance to reply? Instead of listening to what they are saying (and meaning) you are thinking about your response. We all do it. But if you want to cultivate your curiosity, it’s important to actually LISTEN to what the other person is saying. Try being fully present when in conversation and use non-verbal noises to keep them talking like “uh huh” and “hmm mm” and encouragement phrases like “go on”. Just listening to what the person has to say will bring up natural opportunities to ask questions and learn from them, when they have finished what they wanted to say.

Start Anew

Avoid focusing on the past. Sometimes we want to do something, but if we have had a negative experience with something similar, we avoid learning about it for fear of failure or looking silly. Of course, we want to learn from past mistakes but watch out for those times when past experiences make you feel worried or want to resist the urge to try something new, assuming that it will have the same outcome as the last time.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Move outside your comfort zone. The comfort zone is where you feel comfortable, not too hot, not too cold, not too taxing, not too easy. It often feels safer to just learn more about something you are already really good at. But it can be hard to stay curious that way. Try learning about something new, something you know nothing about. It doesn’t matter what it is. Psychological studies prove that the more we know about a topic, the more we want to know. So do some initial research on a subject you’ve always wondered about. A quick Google search is likely to start a whole new interest. This is how lifelong learning is born.

Make it Fun

Make learning a game. Games motivate people. They are fun and naturally cultivate curiosity, motivation and determination. When playing a game, we are often willing to try over and over to master something, without fear of failure. Making learning something new into a game can be an easy way to learn without feeling like you are learning. and without fearing failure.

Use a journal to develop your curiosity

You can use a bullet journal or a diary and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical journal or online. Asking yourself a question each day and answering it can help you develop your curiosity. Good questions to ask and answer are:

  • What did I learn new today?
  • How did I come to learn it?
  • What do I plan to do with this new learning?
  • What new thing would I like to learn tomorrow, next week, next month?

You could also try asking

  • what is difficult about this new learning?
  • What is easy and where might I struggle with this?
  • Which of my values are affected by this new learning, for good or bad?

These questions could also help you develop your empathy quotient, by considering your own feelings, those of others and how your own learning may affect others for better or worse.

Try cultivating YOUR curiosity and see where it takes you!