G.K. Chesterton was a writer who lived large—both figuratively and literally—and who was wildly in love with life. He said, “The world will never lack for wonders, only wonder.”
Those few words are vital for the cultivation of a great imagination.
I am always puzzled when I hear someone say, “I’m bored.” As I’ve tried to teach my children, boredom is a choice one makes, not a condition imposed.
With so much happening in politics, culture, technology and science (just to name a few arenas), anyone who wants to think creatively is living in the richest, densest environment they could hope for.
Want to expand your ability to wonder, and enlarge your imagination in the process? Here are six simple ideas:
1. Wonder broadly.
Heraclitus, known as the philosopher of change, said, “Those who love wisdom must be inquirers into many things indeed.” Our wonder diminishes when we limit it to the few areas we are most interested in or familiar with.
Pick topics different than you’ve considered in the past. Wonder a bit about them, and do a quick study of them to stimulate your creativity.
2. Wonder wildly.
Sometimes we wonder too safely; we don’t dare wonder about alternative points of view, or crazy ideas.
Wonder with abandon. Occasionally think about things you’ve previously thought nutty. At the very least you’ll be entertained if not enlightened.
3. Wonder smaller.
The opposite of view the universe through a telescope is looking at the tiny worlds within through a microscope. Restricting your wonder to a smaller area will often yield new insights.
Get granular and go deeper into what you wonder about, and how intensely you wonder. Unpack the riches of an idea by diving into it deeply.
4. Wonder more often.
Don’t wait for long periods of study or reflection. Take periodic breaks during the day to think about something or pursue a new idea.
Make it a habit, when you encounter a challenge, to begin with, “I wonder…” See if wonderment can take you to a solution.
5. Wonder longer
We live in an ADD world. Thanks to technology and daily times demands, few believe they have the luxury or ability to ponder for any significant length of time.
Leisurely enjoy your favorite beverage while you wonder and record your thoughts on a notepad or in a journal.
6. Wonder with emotion.
Passion infuses process with wonder. Being detached can provide objectivity, but being passionate can fuel action.
Aim your curiosity toward those things you are passionate about and see if you can’t make a positive dent in the universe as a result.
Harriet Martineau said, “Readers are plentiful. Thinkers are rare.” I would suggest that observers are many but wonderers are rare.