I am certain that one of the reasons why I love the character strengths work that I am involved in, (besides it just being downright awesome), is because curiosity is a signature strength of mine. Ever since I can remember I have been a curious individual. It has led to me discovering all kinds of different and new things. Things that even surprised me a little bit. For example, when I was younger I never thought I would like fishing, but I tried it because I was curious about it and now it is one of my most favorite things to do. I think that curiosity leads to freedom. And I am all about being free.

VIA defines curiosity in this way:

Curiosity falls in the virtue category of Wisdom. Wisdom deals with strengths that involve the way we acquire and use knowledge. There are two key components to curious individuals: They are interested in exploring new ideas, activities and experiences, and they also have a strong desire to increase their own personal knowledge.

One of the coolest things about humans is that we all have so much in common, yet we are all intricately unique. We all possess these 24 character strengths but they are ordered differently in everyone. I think that curiosity plays out a little differently for me than it may within someone else because of a few factors. For one, curiosity in conjunction with my other signature strengths may cause me to go down a different road. My life experiences applied to my signature strengths could potentially cause me to pull on them in different ways.

In taking a look at what my other signature strengths are, I can see how some of them fuel the fire of the others. My other signature strengths are Appreciation of beauty & excellence; Bravery, Creativity, and Gratitude. But in looking at my particular combination I can see that curiosity is the fuel for all of those others. Curiosity combined with bravery can be dangerous. I can see where those two have come together previously in my life in positive and negative ways. The cool thing about the strengths is you can do things to dial up lesser strengths. In this scenario, I could probably use more prudence which is kind of low for me. In knowing this about myself, I can intentionally spend time cultivating prudence so I recognize when to tap into it. Curiosity combined with creativity has been an amazing adventure for me. Being an artist I am constantly looking at different modes of art and dialing up curiosity about different mediums and techniques in painting has grown my skill set as an artist in a big way. I am thankful to have curiosity as a signature strength because it definitely makes learning more interesting.

If curiosity is high for you, think of how you may be able to use it in conjunction with your signature strengths. If curiosity is not high for you, and you are interested in learning how to boost it, there are activities that you can help.

VIA suggests:

Consider an activity you dislike. Pay attention to three novel features of this activity while you do it.

Practice active curiosity and explore your current environment, paying attention to anything you may often ignore or take for granted.

Some of the things I have personally done to boost curiosity includes learning every aspect of something that I find interesting, intentionally setting aside time to deepen my knowledge and understanding, and practicing mindfulness while doing so. For as long as I can remember, people have described me as an “outside of the box” kind of person. In my younger years, I thought this was a negative statement. In some instances, I think it may have been intended that way. Since then, I have learned is that being outside of the box is the best place to be. Even better than that is realizing there is no box. There never was.

Join us as we take the month of September to further explore the character strength of curiosity. Spend some time deconstructing whatever kind of boxes you may find yourself in.