Curiosity: the answer to any kind of stuckness

Liz Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) made this brilliant podcast with a guy called Jonathan Fields, their conversation is number 16 on this list, and it is incredible.

One of the (many brilliant) things Liz Gilbert talks about is curiosity.

When we fail at something new, it can be tempting to avoid trying again. When we fail, things like shame and self doubt and self criticism can show up. And shame and self doubt and self criticism don’t feel very good. So the temptation, once we’ve failed, can be to go back to what we know. Be it going back to a job in our ‘old’ industry after failing at a new business, or putting down the paint brush after throwing a failed masterpiece in the bin.

Often going back to what we know feels safe. But most often it also feels stagnant and doesn’t provide us with opportunities to grow and learn. And we can be left feeling stuck.

Liz Gilbert’s answer to any kind of stuck feeling is to get curious. And I couldn’t agree more.

Getting curious means, observing your emotions, looking at them, turning them over in your hand, asking ‘why?’ Getting curious means learning about something new ‘just because’. Getting curious is asking questions about others motives from a place of openness and inquiry (as opposed to judgment and fear). Getting curious is about identifying what went wrong the last time and making changes for your next attempt.

In the podcast Liz quotes one of her Indian guru teachers (this is the closest I can come to referencing her/him!) who said ‘Become a scientist of your own experience.’ Life if about trying stuff, being curious about the outcomes, changing the formula, and trying again. When we step into this way of being the journey becomes a repetition of discovery, the journey becomes an adventure.

Liz Gilbert suggests that challenges are ‘another opportunity to learn and grow and be.’ When we approach any difficulties in life, anything keeping us stuck, with that curiosity mindset the weight is lifted a little, we’re able to move forward, life can almost become a game, or a science experiment, or an opportunity to try, recalibrate and try again. Life becomes an intoxicatingly, exciting process of discovery.

*Image by Sebastian Unrow (

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