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Forever In Bloom: How To Cultivate Lifelong Curiosity

Forever In Bloom: How To Cultivate Lifelong Curiosity | Flourish Careers

In my career, I’ve received plenty of advice. Still, one piece of feedback has made more of a lasting impact than any of the others.

“Always remain open and teachable.” ​​​​​​​​​

John, one of my first managers—and, incidentally, one of the best leaders I ever worked for— had noticed my eagerness to learn and grow in those early days. He appreciated it and perhaps he dropped this sage advice without knowing the lasting impact his words would have on me. 

Because John knew then what I know now: There is power in being receptive to new ideas, perspectives, and knowledge.

John’s words became my mantra, and by embracing his guidance, I’ve had doors to new opportunities open with ease throughout my life, accelerating my professional and personal development. 

And so, today, I pass these words on to you. 

Your career path is a lifelong process; every experience is a chance to grow. Here’s how you can embrace the power of remaining open, watch your career flourish, and stay forever in bloom. 

1. Embrace a sense of wonder.

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” – Anais Nin

Do you remember what it was like being a kid? The wonder you felt when everything was new to you? The excitement you felt with each new discovery? 

If you can’t remember anymore, I suggest spending some time with any toddlers in your life. Notice how they marvel at the sun’s reflection in a puddle of water. Let them remind you what it’s like to find beauty in acorns, dandelions, and mud. Watch their wide-eyed and open-hearted approach to discovery. Listen to how unabashedly they ask questions and seek answers.

When did we stop asking “how” and “why”? 

There’s a lot we can relearn about wonder from tiny humans. The sense of wonder in all of them shows us that it is intrinsic in all of us, even though many of us repress it as we age. 

We can regain a sense of wonder if we work at it.

Action Step: Keep a “Wonder Journal.” 

Instead of using your Google history to rack your curiosity, try writing down your questions and adding your thoughts to your questions. Track all your insights and “aha moments” to see what you gain.

Curiosity begins with a sense of wonder. And, in the best of times, it leads to a lifelong love of learning. 

2. Cultivate your love of learning.

“I am learning all the time. My tombstone will be my diploma.” ― Eartha Kitt

If you’re working to regain your sense of wonder, you’ll likely notice a natural return to your innate love of learning. 

According to Maslow’s theory of motivation, we cease our childlike wonder when we have to focus more on ensuring our most basic existence and relationship needs are fulfilled daily. (See: adulting.) But when we’re assured those needs are met? It’s the perfect time to resume our natural pursuit of knowledge and cultivate a love of learning.

Curiosity and love of learning are closely related but differ in critical ways.

Curiosity is quick and easy; learning is slow and deep. Curiosity is the driving force for immediate answers. It motivates us to pick up our phones and type questions into Google. “Love of learning,” on the other hand, pushes us deeper. We read books, listen to podcasts, and experiment with solutions. Ultimately, when we love learning, we gather more information and do so over an extended period. 

Cultivate Lifelong Curiosity in Your Career | Flourish Careers

All humans are, by nature, designed to pursue learning, but not everyone follows the call. If you are passionate about learning simply for learning’s sake, you may be a lifelong learner. You may find yourself constantly looking to acquire new skills/knowledge or build on your existing skills/knowledge because you feel your best when learning.

Action Step: Create a Learn List. 

Learning doesn’t just have to happen in a classroom. Create a list of things you wonder about and would like to learn more about—and then go for it. Learning about them can be as simple as reading a book or joining a community. Here are 13 ways to put your Learn List to work!

One thing is certain: People who love learning keep an open mind, which inherently makes them more open to new opportunities and experiences. 

3. Stay open to new experiences. 

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” — Walt Disney

Lifelong learners are less likely to fear trying something new. They can look at ideas and concepts from various perspectives and angles. They see opportunities and uses that many people overlook. 

For example, in the last year, AI technology rapidly became a new tool commonly used in the workplace. But along with its implementation came a ripple of fear through every job sector. But we’ve also seen some people approach it with an open mind. They’re using AI to streamline their work processes and support the work that they are doing. 

But when we talk about “new experiences,” we are not just talking about tools like AI. We’re also talking about ideas and opportunities.

Action Step: Find comfort in the gray.

Wonderers and learners don’t live in a black-and-white, right-and-wrong kind of world—or there would be little to wonder about. Instead, true wondering often involves accepting that there is more than a straightforward answer to your questions. Let your questions unfold naturally into more questions. Learn everything about the inspiring topics and then share what you learn with others. Here’s a short lesson on improving or learning new skills for continued career success.

Whenever you open your mind to experiences different from anything you’ve encountered, you begin thinking, creating, and living outside the box. And that trait can make you the most desirable employee: a worker who is both creative and innovative. 

Final Note

Growth happens when we admit we can never have all the answers—but we’ll never give up trying. 
There’s always room to expand our knowledge and skills in any area of expertise. The more you learn, the more you become your most flourishing self.

Want more career wisdom? Check out these podcast episodes/blog posts!
+ Beyond the Office Walls: Exploring the Shift from Intrapreneurship to Entrepreneurship
+ Daring Decisions When You’re At A Career Crossroads
+ How To Craft Your Career Plan B – Without Losing Sight Of Your Goals

For more insider stories, quick tips, and #CareerTalk, I invite you to sign up for the monthly newsletter.


March 8, 2024

Forever In Bloom: How To Cultivate Lifelong Curiosity

Forever In Bloom: How To Cultivate Lifelong Curiosity

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