Monday Motivation: Stay Curious to Stay Young
This article was originally published on November 11, 2019 at https://gritdaily.com/monday-motivation-stay-curious/
Monday Motivation here we come! We see you – coffee cup in hand, trudging through a cold, dark morning cursing your commute. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
This column is for those of you who slog through your Monday mornings. If you lament the end of the weekend and dread returning to the office, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. And nobody wants to go through their day like an unmotivated, unproductive sourpuss, right?
Grit Daily offers an avenue to connect with others like you. We’re here to help get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!
Young at heart
What matters is how you think and how you behave. Those are the real metrics that eclipse any chronological reality or generational stereotype. This Monday Motivation column isn’t about accepting your age (we’ll get to that in a few weeks).
This is about being young at heart. Having that joie de vivre that your curmudgeonly counterparts envy. And maintaining a youthful mindset.
It’s about being ageless with respect to your curiosity and having an insatiable appetite when it comes to learning from others. And that learning has to come through a lens that pierces any unconscious bias that you may have towards gender, race, religion, politics or whatever aspect you may be predestined or practiced at filtering for.
Curiosity killed the cat – and our spirit
Why do we stop asking why by the time we’re five or six years old? Something happens to our curiosity as we age. Uninhibited curiosity dies. Cynicism and life-weariness take their toll and impede our interest to learn something new. We also develop a heightened awareness and deep pride in ourselves that we don’t want to be shaken when someone gives us a sideways look if we ask a naïve question. When we arrive at that stage or phase and feel that we have nothing left to learn, we begin aging. Rapidly.
Experts cite that “diminished curiosity is one of the first signs of aging.” Those who seek to constantly learn and be surrounded by younger people are the ones who win the war on aging. Sure, their wrinkles may suggest otherwise but that’s not what matters here. Youth is associated with vitality, adventure and learning without limits. Society and we, ourselves, self-imposed restrictions on how we should behave or what we should do by a certain age or stage.
“I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” -E. Roosevelt-
Don’t think like an old person
Our fear of being wrong or, even worse, looking stupid, holds us back from being curious. In this era of always-on with high tech video recording devices (mobile phones and security cameras) everywhere, coupled with the potential for viral content on multiple social media channels, we hold ourselves back. Consciously and deliberately, we stop asking. We stop trying to learn from others.
Curiosity is connected with memory and learning which, of course, correlates with aging. So there is some natural biology that does put limits on what we can do and for how long, but, short of a mental health condition or brain dysfunction, there’s still plenty of time to keep learning. Even on Mondays when your Monday motivation levels may be slightly below normal. 😉
Last week, I had the terrific opp to guest lecture at a college senior class in computer science and entrepreneurship. It’s been a long time since I last lectured at a college so I spent hours working on my lecture. I offered micro-learning, quick tips, some longer explanations and used a variety of media to keep them interested. A few memes even found their way into my deck but I had to think about each one – would they get it or is that an old-school reference? The self-doubt voice inside my head had to be smacked down a couple of times.
After all, aren’t I the one who adopted the mantra, “I’m not too old, it’s not too late” earlier this year?!
Tips to stay curious
Nearly all tips for staying young – not looking younger – are grounded in brain activity. From eating less and exercising, which both stimulate thinking, to socializing to believing in yourself all have a positive effect on aging. And here’s three more tips.
#1 – spend time with people younger than you
Maybe it’s a niece or a nephew or a recent college graduate who just joined your office. Maybe you’re thinking that you’re so old that they aren’t going to want to spend time with you. Silence the mean girl voices in your head. Reach out, extend an invitation for coffee and take it from there.
#2 – ask more questions
Don’t self-deprecate yourself or open the dialogue with a statement like, “This is probably a stupid question but…” Just ask. Own it. If you get weird looks, shut them down with a comment like, “I learn by asking. I asked because I didn’t know and I wanted to learn.” What can anyone say to that?
#3 – try something new
No, you don’t need to go cuckoo crazy off the deep end and try skydiving or something insane like that to feel more youthful. Pace yourself, you’re not young anymore! Just kidding. Recently, I entered the foray of podcasting. In a few weeks, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned.
Podcasting requires the use of six different apps, four of which were new to me, not to mention equipment set-up which had a teeny wrinkly of figuring out that I needed to remove the professional microphone adaptor to expose the standard headphones jack hidden inside it.
Who motivates YOU?
Sue Abuelsamid founded a coaching platform on the basis of curiosity. Her books, leadership and conversation-starter cards on The Curiosity Project have opened a dialogue. People that didn’t even realize they had something to say or learn have opened up in session. They freely share what they know, didn’t know they didn’t know and what they wish they knew. Coach Abuelsamid has even lived nomadically and focused her energy on learning by trying everything in her path. She embraces everything that her day offers from the people she meets to the weather to engaging nature to the food she eats. This constant journey keeps her young and vibrant with positivity to spare.
Okay, parting thought for Monday Motivation this week. Did curiosity kill the cat? Maybe so, but, as a fine Canuck, Arnold Edinborough, once said, “the cat died nobly” – and it probably lived longer, too!