What subject were you most curious about at school? For me it was Biology. I was fascinated by the human body and how all these miniscule cells came together to make each and every one of us. It was always the homework I did first, the book I turned to in my spare time and the subject I most wanted to talk to friends and family about.
And then there was Latin! Without a doubt, Latin was always the homework I did last, always the lesson I dreaded and always the lesson I counted down the minutes until it ended. I couldn’t understand how it was ever going to be of any use to me in the future and it took so much longer to learn.
As I have got older my version of Biology has become all sorts of fascinating topics (to me) like Behavioural Psychology, Coaching and Leadership and yes, I could literally read, listen to or talk about them for hours.
But my Latin has morphed into Tax, Sales and Technology. I quite quickly switch off or accept there has to be a better way to get those things done that doesn’t involve me!
The thing is, what I’m curious about is going to be different to what you’re curious about but no matter our differences, curiosity works the same way in each and every one of us.
Curiosity is the basic building block of motivation.
When we’re curious about something, doing the work to learn more about it doesn’t feel hard. It requires work, absolutely, but it feels effortless. When you’re interested in something your neurobiology gifts you dopamine and norepinephrine, two powerful neurochemicals which focus your attention into the present moment on the task at hand and trigger flow. Since focus is energetically costly to the brain any way that we can get it for free is a huge benefit and makes everything feel easier.
Getting curious about what you’re curious about
Think about curiosity as something you would listen into a conversation other people were having about it, say in a cafe or at a bus stop. Maybe you’d watch a TV program about it, read a couple books or articles on the topic or go to a conference about it. Hopefully you get the idea.
Rather than listing general things like health or performance get specific what is it about health. Is it mental or physical? Is it one aspect like nutrition or movement, or is it more broadly? Is it in certain people or universally? The more specific, the better as it will help your brain to form connections which is where the power really comes from.
If we want to have the motivation fuelled effortless effort, we need to test out these curiosities and make sure they really are long lasting and not just momentary curiosities. Ever had something you were massively fascinated by for a week never to think about it again? Then you will know why this is so important.
Hunt for the place where two, three or more of these curiosities overlap, and you are going to find a real passion. Here you will get an increased amount of dopamine and norepinephrine, so more focus for free.
Take time to clarify, hone and tune your passions feeding them each and every day and you will start to feel the momentum. And remember, even the most incredible performers who are obsessed about what they do started with a little glimmer of curiosity so don’t expect it to happen overnight.
If you are interested in learning more about working with your biology and unleashing your peak performance we offer a range of 1:1 and group programs. You can find out more by emailing: email@example.com
Why your curiosities really matter if you want to get results — Corporate Health, Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing is written by Amanda McMillan for www.wellineux.com