We have been doing some interesting work, along with the members of the Frugal Explorers Group during the last couple of weeks. In a sort of «behind the curtain» mode, we started a common research on the topic of the Sense of Wonderment. We are especially interested in how to regain the sense of wonder we used to have when we were kids.
As part of the project, we decided to ask experts about this matter directly. Chris Guillebeau is an authority on finding awe. He’s not just the bestselling author of “The Art of Non-conformity” and “The $100 Startup”, he’s also an expert traveler and explorer. He’s the only person I know that has been in every country in the world (He set a personal goal of visiting all the 193 countries before the age of 35).
The question I made Chris was: What would you do if you wanted to regain your sense of wonderment (as the one you had when you were a kid)?
This was his answer:
I’m fairly sure I still have a sense of wonderment. But if I somehow lost it, I think I’d go back to basics: what did I like to do when I was a kid? What made me feel excited and challenged? What were those moments like when I felt in awe and wonder?
The next step, presumably, would be to deliberately recapture or recreate those experiences. This wouldn’t necessarily be easy, of course, but in my opinion wonderment is worth working for.
Chris’ answer is a very good one, especially because it deals with a problem we identified before when trying to find a way to regain/improve our sense of wonderment. The problem is that the capacity of wonderment works differently in each person; there is no unique way to find awe.
As we learned before when exploring how curiosity works, our sense of wonderment, our curiosity and the way we learn things are mental processes belonging to the reward pathway of the brain, which is unique in every individual (if you want a simple explanation of how this mechanism works, without the scientific jargon, click on curiosity 101).
For some people, curiosity gets activated by images; for others, by sounds or even ideas. Some people are sequential learners (they like to learn by following a process) and other are global learners (they tend to make cognitive leaps); some learn better participating actively, others learn passively…
Setting a single way to reinforce our sense of wonder would not suit everyone; so, Chris’ suggestion comes very handy because, the best way to recognize the way you learn better is to go back to your past experiences and use what had worked before.
So, if you are interested in learning how your (unique) sense of wonder works, travel back in time to your past and identify those moments when you stood rapt in awe (to use Einstein’s expression). What worked then will, most likely, work again today.
Chris shares his experiences about living an uncommon life and conquering the world in your own terms in his awesome blog: The Art of Non-conformity (If you like the idea of traveling around the world and you wish to benefit big time from his large experience in traveling, I encourage you to enroll in his traveling membership program)