How to revive your sense of wonder | Psyche Guides - Deepstash

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Revive Your Sense of Wonder

Revive Your Sense of Wonder

That childhood urge to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ usually fades. But we can all learn to rediscover the joys of wide-eyed discovery

Wonder and the learning it encourages enable us to more fully engage with others.

Each instance of wondering in turn launches a branching network of new instances and opens a door to the potentially endless joy of successive discoveries. If this sounds overly euphoric, it is exactly how renowned polymaths describe their lives, from childhood to their final moments.

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Wonder Is Rewarding

Wonder Is Rewarding

By embracing wonder – your drive to learn about the world – you can deepen your appreciation of the world’s richness and engage more fully with others.

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Regular Introspections

Regular Introspections

A periodic check-up can help you take stock of the insights you have recently gained – or prompt you to start wondering about areas of ignorance.

Ask yourself: have you learned anything new in the past month that has changed how you view or understand some aspect of the world? 

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Embrace the proliferation of wonder

Embrace the proliferation of wonder

Wondering deeply is not about finding one simple answer. Answers to questions beget new questions, and each offers an opportunity to learn.

When you wonder, try to approach a question with the expectation that you are just taking the first step in what might turn out to be many possible cycles or branching paths of wondering, each one triggered by what you learn in response to the prior question.

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Adopt Diverse Ways of Wondering

Adopt Diverse Ways of Wondering

You can experience extra pleasure in information foraging when you discover a new way of learning more.

Search engines have their place, but also look to other resources, such as videos, educational events and books that provide an accessible introduction to a subject.

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Look for Anomalies and Puzzles

Look for Anomalies and Puzzles

Wonder will often go into high gear when you are confronted with an apparent anomaly or puzzle. Sometimes, people ignore anomalies as annoying exceptions to a simple explanatory story that they have in mind.

Zero in on phenomena that seem atypical or unclear – they can provide fuel for wondering.

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Explore Contrasting Cases

Explore Contrasting Cases

Examining the similarities and differences between related kinds or concepts can yield unexpected insights.

A range of studies has shown the value of contrasting cases for learning more deeply about a topic.

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Entertain Counterfactuals

Entertain Counterfactuals

Wondering what would happen if something about the world was different can help you understand why certain things work the way they do.

Wonder is most powerful when it uncovers the causal structures that lie beneath and are responsible for surface phenomena. These structures often include elaborate and extensive branches, so that each ‘how’ or ‘why’ question can launch a cascade of follow-up questions.

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Practice Win-Win Wondering with Others

Practice Win-Win Wondering with Others

One way to reawaken wonder lies in your interactions with others. Many adults see arguments as aversive battles with the goal of conquering the other with your point of view. But this ‘argue to win’ perspective neglects the opportunity that disagreements offer for expanding wonder. To take advantage of this, we need to adopt an ‘argue to learn’ mindset.

Adopt an ‘argue to learn’ mindset, treating disagreements as opportunities for wondering rather than battles to be won.

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Create a Checklist for Wondering

Create a Checklist for Wondering

  • A checklist can help ensure that you wonder in ways that are as fair and thorough as you’d like.
  • Depending on the subject of your wondering, the checklist might include different items.
  • To foster more moments of wonder, upon encountering a new phenomenon that is puzzling, you might check how often you pursued the topic with a number of ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions instead of just seeking a simple answer. 

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The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

The more you engage in wondering, the more you will ask why you haven’t wondered more in the past. Wondering deeply is one of the few activities in life in which you can acquire something of great value at little or no material cost – something that can continuously enrich how you experience the world going forward.

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