Emily Aborn Content Copywriting and Consulting Services

Can Curiosity Be Taught?

Cultivate Curiosity and Spark Inspiration and Creativity

Have you ever wondered how some people can churn out content and ideas like it’s a walk in the park and others sit there staring at the blinking cursor of death indefinitely?

What makes some curious and creative and others seemingly not?

“Can curiosity be taught?”

To find the answer, I invited my friend Karen Kenney to have a conversation with me on the She Built This podcast about whether or not curiosity can be taught.

In our She Built This podcast episode with my guest, Karen Kenney, she describes herself as a lifelong learner and in her words, “A wicked curious person”. 

Join me as I curiously explore the topic of curiosity and look at the role curiosity plays in our lives and business last it helps us grow and improve our relationships. 

I’m always seeking to cultivate curiosity in my life and in writing for my content and copywriting clients, and I’ve learned that in working with clients in over 90 industries, I’m constantly getting a chance to tap into even more of my own curiosity and creativity.

I wanted to know the benefits of cultivating curiosity in our everyday lives. 

So what do you think? Are we born with it, or is it Maybelline? “Can curiosity be taught?” 

Here’s Karen Kenney’s answer as to whether or not curiosity can be taught:  

“It comes from the inside. I don’t think we can make anybody more curious but what we can do is show them why curiosity is a benefit to their life, relationships, and their business.” — KAREN KENNEY

In our conversation on the She Built This podcast, we went on to discuss how to cultivate curiosity to create connection, growth, creativity, and new opportunities and solutions. 

Where Does Curiosity Come From? My Curiosity Journey to Cultivate Curiosity

Growing up, I don’t recall asking a ton of questions about “why” things were the way they were. I definitely liked the details and being prepared -don’t get me wrong, and I was a creative kid always devising businesses and coming up with weird ideas. But I wasn’t asking my mom why the sky was blue or why the clouds moved how they did. I was busy navigating my way around people and solving all the world’s problems with my big ideas. 

I loved reading and learning and did a lot of it on my own (I was homeschooled up until I was fourteen). But, a  lot of things I was given for information in life were presented as “cold hard facts” and I didn’t often go further and question my elders and authorities. 

When I got into high school, it was the teacher’s way or the highway I was either following rules extremely closely or breaking them unabashedly and landing in detention. I spent a lot of time dreaming about the future and philosophizing about the meaning of life with my friend Rachelle, but for the most part… I did my homework and assignments like a good little student and my invitation to explore or cultivate curiosity within myself got, for the most part, lost in the mail.

Enter College. 

A whole different story. 

Suddenly, a world of possibility and new perspectives and information was at my fingertips. Professors gave more fluid assignments, they asked questions I’d never even thought of. Things were more open to interpretation and creativity, and my curiosity began showing itself throughout my college experience. 

I took classes that had me more glued to my chair than the ACTUAL glue a prankster put on my seat back in high school. I’d stare drooling at the whiteboard, hanging on every word that my psychology professor wrote up there. 

The world of learning was a magical playground and like that, Pandora’s box was open and my creativity and inspiration were sparked.  

I’m not alone in my experience of finding and leaning into curiosity a little later in my educational path. 

Many tell me that it was once they broke outta’ college and were able to read what they wanted and find their own path, the curiosity fire was officially aflame. 

And now, back to my question, “Can curiosity be taught?”

As human beings, I think we’re all born with a level of innate curiosity and creativity. Though some, more than others. 

I’m not sure if curiosity can necessarily be taught, I’d be curious (pun intended) to hear your thoughts. I DO think that an environment in which it’s encouraged can definitely help! 

I also believe curiosity is a bit like a muscle, and as you continue to work it, it gets stronger and more versatile in interest and scope. 

Once we get the spark and feel the energy of it, once we get the desire to learn or explore new areas of knowledge or skills, then what we do to cultivate curiosity and foster it is up to us. 

We can choose to lean into our curiosity and grow it, or we can kind of passively brush it to the side and stay right where we are. 

The choice is yours and there’s no right or wrong decision. But do know that once you unlock your own curiosity, you might just never go back!

Four Types of Curiosity to Cultivate in Your Life

Thanks to Karen Kenney piquing my interest in this, I learned that there are four types of curiosity that we can cultivate. Maybe curiosity can’t be taught, it can be cultivated. After reading, it seems to me that we’re all somewhere on the spectrum and tend towards one primary type – but by being aware of how to cultivate curiosity, we can lean into another! 

Which of these four types of curious are you in your life right now?

According to “Identifying Your Curiosity Type is the Key to Getting More Done”, an article on Entrepreneur.com, the four types of curious people are: 

  • “The Fascinated” – If you tend to have a broad range of interests, feel you probably read more than your peers, and have your hands in lots of different things, this description probably captures your day-to-day life well.
  • “The Problem Solver” – A problem solver tends to have fewer, deeper interests. They are the type that may lay awake in bed at night thinking about a nagging problem and have a love of figuring out puzzles.
  • “The Empathizer” – An empathizer is a people person or socially curious. Data shows that these people were most likely to use social media, both to project having it all themselves and to observe the behavior of others.
  • “The Avoider” – An avoider has generally lower curiosity and both read less and reports more stress in their day-to-day lives.

I think I’m personally one part problem solver and one part empathizer. I LOVE learning about people and observing the behaviors of others #mallpeoplewatcher and I also love solving problems and finding creative solutions. #crosswordandsodukunerd

Cultivating curiosity has immense benefits for your life, relationships, and business and it starts with a desire to know, solve problems, or learn about others and the world around you. 

It starts with a DESIRE. So, find where that desire, that excitement is within you, and follow it. 

If you want to discover for yourself whether or not curiosity can be taught, check out these three ways to strengthen and cultivate curiosity and spark inspiration, by simply leaning into what interests you.

#1) Read. A lot.

Read books and literature within genres you love and then, make sure to dive in and read genres you haven’t yet explored (I recently started this and it’s life-altering!). Books, articles, thought pieces, essays, magazines, whatever medium suits your fancy. Read about people who did things you want to be doing, read about how stuff works, read about things that spark your imagination and make you want to read MORE. 

In addition to reading, listen, and watch! Podcasts, audiobooks, documentaries, things that fascinate you, teach you, challenge you. 

Pick something you’re interested in and get started! And if you ever need a good recommendation in a certain area, I’m your girl! 

#2) Slow Down and Take Your Time. 

How often are we just simply moving too fast to explore, to get creative, to think about NOTHING, and make space for questions and thoughts to pop in? Or maybe you’re so busy that RIGHT when you want to go explore something… you realize you have to be on Zoom with a client again. 

You can make time to cultivate curiosity. Here are just two ideas: 

  • Save links, articles, and posts you’re interested in and take time to read them when you’re present, focused, and not distracted. ((I also do this with podcast episodes and screenshot things on my phone I want to go back and check out more thoroughly.))
  • Start a curiosity journal. Write down questions you have as they come up, or things you want to explore, and then make time to delve into these things that interest you! 

And, bonus tip: Spending time doing nothing is equally as important to letting curiosity and creativity bubble up inside you.  

#3) Ask Good Questions and then, Listen.

This is something I’ve been continuously working on to cultivate curiosity in my own life, as a podcast host of the She Built This podcast, a content writer for women entrepreneurs, and a friend/wife/sister-in-law-auntie/sister, etc.

Ask questions of others, ask questions about the world, how things work, why they are the way they are, and then listen. 

It’s amazing how much we can improve our relationships with others by getting curious about them, asking more questions, and getting clarity when there’s a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Prioritize listening to other perspectives instead of simply sharing your own. 

One exciting thing about asking good questions is that it typically begets MORE good questions. 

Sit with the question for yourself, “Can curiosity be taught?”

Have fun! Explore topical areas that make YOUR curiosity come to life, and carve out time to strengthen and cultivate your curiosity muscles. 

If you want to hang out with me while I do the same, I highly encourage you to check out this She Built This podcast on cultivating curiosity and whether or not it can be taught, a conversation I greatly enjoyed with Karen Kenney. I release new episodes regularly and try to make it FUN to learn and grow together as women entrepreneurs and human beings!