Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.
What if we could just reach into our minds and replace fear with curiosity? The good news is we can. I’m curious about other cultures and religions. I’m curious about starting a business. I’m curious about Wall Street and investing. When you replace fear with curiosity, you’re moving your thoughts from the future, which is unknown, to the now. By acting on your curiosity, you replace that unknown future with something real in the now.
When we learn something new, that’s really worth learning, it becomes part of us. Unfortunately, if you’re relying on news from your favorite media outlet to learn and understand more about what you fear, you may find yourself going in circles. The reason is that “fear” sells. Major media outlets are often full of bad news and celebrity scandal click-bait. If we spend too much time scanning the news and listening to biased talk radio, that fear they love to sell is reinforced and strengthened in our thoughts. When it comes to traditional news and talk radio, you should put yourself on a low information diet and skip the fear.
Here are some ways to replace fear with curiosity.
Tap into mobile technology to create collections of high quality content that is tailored to your interests. I use the free version of Feedly to follow my favorite blogs. You can search for blogs on any topic, look for recommendations then add them to your feed. I regularly add and remove feeds on a wide range of topics ranging from business and investing to art and minimalism. Once you start getting your information this way, you’ll notice all the click bait and flashing banner ads will have simply slipped away in a distraction free environment. I recommend starting by searching your interests and trying out three or four feeds from popular blogs. As you add more you can quickly add or remove or categorize them. It works on smartphones, tablets, and your browser.
Go analog. Digital devices are great but our eyes need a break. Between work and flicking on our phone most of us have way too much screen time. If you read just one book a month it will change your life. Check out your local library, you may find it’s a much better place to chill out than a coffee shop. Take a look at the new release section and see if any old interests or hobbies are triggered. I like popping in once a month to drop off books that are due and picking up a few new ones.
Simplify your social (media) life. Maybe your social media friends are really interesting. They share a fascinating stream of cat and dog videos, right and left wing political rants (where did the middle go?) or, once in awhile, something really great that stops you in your tracks for 10 seconds before you jump back in for more. It’s okay. I’ve shared and discovered a lot on social media including many things on this blog. There is a great way to streamline your social media use and remove distractions. It’s a great app that I’ve used for years specifically for following my Facebook Twitter and Instagram feeds all in one place. It’s called Flipboard and is hugely popular. It uses a fantastic magazine style interface to present your social media feeds in a modern highly visual format with less distractions.
Satisfy your curiosity on the move. Sure lots of people would like to sit around the library or a coffee shop reading. Unfortunately after life intervenes and we finish up with that work out, long commute, or frozen dinner, there’s not much time for curiosity. Podcasts are quickly replacing radio. If you don’t believe me take a look at the podcast charts. Podcasts can be quickly downloaded and provide unlimited free listening. You can also stream them, but check your data plan. You can subscribe to a podcast on virtually any subject you’re interested in and get a steady flow of fascinating guests and book recommendations.
“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
Leave room for discovery. What if you’re curious about everything or if you have it all figured out and are curious about nothing. The answer is simple. Set aside some time for discovery. Even though I’m on a low information diet when it comes to news, I still spend about an hour with a real newspaper on Sundays. There’s something about the clumsy nature of folding and flipping through a newspaper that leads to a different type of discovery than you have online. The primary reason for this is there’s nothing to click on, no flashing notifications or alerts, just the paper and it’s inherently more local. It’s a nice break from screen time and we all know it goes much better with a cup of coffee than a phone or a laptop does. No newspaper? Then check out Medium. Lots of great writing on every topic imaginable. You can even share your own writing.
Just be curious. Let no talent or interest go unexplored.