The word ‘wonder’ is defined and described by the American Heritage dictionary in three ways:
- The emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or surprising
- The quality that evokes such emotion
- One that evokes awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration; a marvel
Some might even describe awe as a sense of smallness contrasted against an unexplainable vastness.
When was the last time you felt moved by something awe-inspiring? Do you recall the last time you felt stirred by admiration or felt moved to marvel? In today’s world of weird and never-ending pandemic land, the words of Jerry Garcia ring true––“What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
Most likely, it’s been quite some time since you’ve felt a sense of wonder over much of anything. How could you? We’ve endured well over a year of cultural and societal trauma, with the world around us constantly shifting beneath our feet. It’s enough to cause even the heartiest of souls to feel fatigued, anxious, and uninspired.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can intentionally cultivate a sense of awe and wonder in your life, much the same way you develop gratitude by acknowledging things to be thankful for each day. Wonder can also come from a sense of adventure by resolving to say ‘yes’ whenever you’re invited to do something new.
Think of it like a tool in your psyche’s toolkit, a way to help you dig yourself out of your ‘stuckness’ and reignite your creativity.
Benefits to Cultivating Wonder
There are many benefits to cultivating wonder in life, both personally and professionally.
Wonder Sharpens Your Brain
Practicing seeking out moments of awe helps you think better and become more self-aware. You’re able to think critically and ask questions, not just assume something and never ask yourself why. You are more rational, self-disciplined, and have a better grasp of your own motivations. All of which serve you well when seeking to achieve your goals.
Wonder Inspires Joy
When you seek out things that inspire wonder and awe, it just makes you happier. You feel a greater sense of satisfaction and contentment with your life, and your outlook is more positive and upbeat.
Wonder Fosters Kindness and Humility
How you look at yourself changes when you’re faced with something awe-inspiring. Suddenly you feel smaller, and the world seems bigger, while at the same time realizing you’re an intricate part of it. Plus, when you realize how small you are in the world, you tend to focus less on yourself and more on others, therefore expanding your generosity and kindness toward others.
Ways to Seek Wonder in Your Everyday Moments
It takes some practice, but there are ways to look for the wonder in life.
Immerse Yourself in Greatness
Whether it’s reading or watching, or listening to something by someone who’s done amazing things in life, there are people in this world who have done some pretty awe-inspiring things in their lives. When you learn their stories, you can’t help but feel motivated towards greatness, too.
And when you encounter something in the world that seems larger-than-life, stop and simply admire it for a moment. Being present is a huge part of appreciating the greatness that’s all around you.
Slow Yourself Down
Again, living in the present is so key to experiencing moments of wonder. If you’re constantly moving and on the go, and you never stop to look around you and appreciate the moment you’re in, it’s no big surprise that life soon becomes stale and monotonous.
Embrace your inner Ferdinand and smell a few roses. Give yourself permission to simply ‘be’ and not succumb to the impatience and restlessness that’s so prevalent in our culture today. Use those moments to notice the life that’s happening all around you.
Borrow Someone Else’s Eyes for a Day
It’s no secret that the days can slip by, one ordinary day into another. Try looking at your life a little differently, as if you’re viewing it through someone else’s eyes. Look at things you’ve looked at, read things you’ve read, listen to things you’ve listened to a thousand and one times before, but do so as if it’s your first encounter.
Pretend you’re experiencing those things anew through the eyes of someone else. How would they see it? How would they perceive it? What would they hear?
Of course, these are just a handful of ideas to get you started. There are countless ways to challenge your own personal status quo and reintroduce a sense of wonder into your life.
Sometimes it’s as simple as breaking your daily routine for something new to appreciate the wonder in it. However you do it, make it a point to do it regularly because seeking out wonder will inspire you to new heights, both in your personal life and in your work life.
Chase after the things that help grow your inner genius because, in business, creativity and innovation make all the difference!