The Unexpected Dividends of Curiosity

May 5, 2015

Last week in my weekly video series, Quotability, I talked about fear, the types of fear, and how we can hold ourselves back from taking risks, or trying to new things. If you didn’t check it out, you can view it here.
Let’s keep this conversation going a bit longer, why don’t we?! Over the weekend, while reading and listening to others’ journeys and perspectives, I had my own shift in thinking about fear and risk and I’d love to share it with you. Perhaps it will help you take a few leaps forward too!
What are your thoughts about this statement: The biggest risk is avoiding risks altogether. What do you think about this? Do you agree? When you think about not taking risks how do you feel? What do you feel in your body?
I can personally relate this to being in line at Disney (was just there!) for Splash Mountain or Space Mountain. That jittery feeling inside is awesome! It makes you a bit uncomfortable and nervous, but it also contributes to so much excitement. I love that feeling! I would hate to live my life without that feeling of excitement—like I’m about to embark on a journey that although over in a matter of seconds, is still so worth it. Thinking about this feeling—about taking the risk of going on a ride that may or may not operate properly— I still value the feeling highly. When I read the statement above, then, my curiosity is peaked. I ask myself, “What would life be like without tons of those moments (either similar or different)? What would I be missing? What could small, daily risks be for me that could provide me with this feeling?”
It’s a curious thing, and here’s what the legendary singer and performer, Iggy Pop, says about curiosity…
“Curious is a good thing to be, it seems to pay some unexpected dividends.”
I just love the simplicity of this quote— of the concept of “unexpected dividends.” Yes, the benefits of taking these smaller, daily risks in our lives can provide us with unexpected dividends. Is it possible, then, that switching my vocabulary from “risky” to “curious” can help me take this little leap more often? Of searching for unexpected dividends all the time? How fun is that!!!
What if instead of saying to myself, “No, you shouldn’t do that, it could be dangerous,” I wonder, “What feeling of joy or pleasure can come from this, and is it worth it to me?” Could this small shift in our thinking help us experience more “dividends” of excitement and pleasure?
Now, let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you become an adrenaline-seeking, risk junkie! Nope! I’m asking you to consider using your curiosity to examine if you can extract more joy and pleasure out of life by doing things a bit outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes that comfort zone comes with a lot of fear and worry.
As a student of energy and what good and bad energy can do to our wellbeing, I’m here to state firmly that these “bad” feelings of worry, fear, anxiety, etc., especially at high levels, can produce too much cortisone in our body and make us sick. Conversely, feelings of exhilaration, excitement and joy do the complete opposite. They give us the kind of energy to accomplish all those wonderful goals we have for ourselves, and to feel satisfied with our lives.
I love how an article in GoodTherapy.org states it:
“While some risky behaviors might not be worth their potential consequences, risk-taking in small doses is almost universally beneficial for your brain and mental health. Novel experiences can help ward off depression and reinvigorate a stale relationship. Risk-taking is often a necessary prerequisite for starting a new business or launching a new career, and the excitement associated with uncertainty can be a powerful antidote to boredom and even depression. Because dopamine produces a natural high, risk-taking behaviors can help you get a positive mood and a new perspective without the risks associated with drug use.”
Where will you turn up the volume of your curiosity this week? How will you step a bit outside of your comfort zone and into excitement?
I’d love to hear your ideas! Sharing is caring. 🙂

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