Cultivating Wonder Enhances Creativity

Today we live in a fast-paced, goal-driven society that emphasizes accomplishments and outcomes. We problem solve and multitask. We don’t like not knowing why or how. We want answers, and we want them yesterday. Seldom do we allow ourselves to indulge in mystery, pure curiosity, or to contemplate questions that don’t have quick and easy answers. Yet the act of questioning can be a powerful way to enhance creativity.

When someone says the word “wonder,” it might evoke the image of a wide-eyed, awestruck child. But cultivating wonder can be a lifelong pursuit. Socrates said, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” Instead of mastering information, we could instead enfold our questions in curiosity, and even come to appreciate the unfathomable. There are concepts we may never fully comprehend, and giving ourselves permission to embrace the unknown may be a key to unlocking creativity.

Bestselling author Mark Nepo reveals, “Wonder is one of the arts of reverence. It is always very close to the surface, just behind the eye, below the tongue, in between the beats of a waiting heart. It’s a subtle resource that requires our welcome to show its full strength.” That reverence is a way of honoring the mysterious, including the curious place from which our creativity originates. Allowing the flow of ideas, instead of overthinking or second-guessing them, can open the mind to more inventive ways of problem solving, in work and in life.

A sense of awe inspires us to ask more compelling questions and consider fresh ideas. We might make unexpected associations that lead to greater innovation and a renewed sense of excitement about a project or experience.

For further inspiration about why and how to incorporate more wonder in your work, check out the article “Why We Need to Cultivate Awe in the Workplace.”