eric kim swans

How to Be More Curious in Life

eric kim swans

How can we be more curious in life?

1. Take things apart

Neil Tyson says, “Kids are born scientists…the best thing a parent can do, when raising a child, is simply get out of their way.”

I was lucky enough that when I was a kid, my mom let me experiment. I took apart toasters, took apart my computer, and my car. I loved figuring out how it worked; and the best way was putting things back together. Often, they wouldn’t work, or I would have all these mysterious left-over screws. My mom never discouraged me, she let me do as I wanted.

In today’s world as adults; we are discouraged from tinkering like kids.

I say screw that. Some tinkering ideas:

  • Buy an old junk car, take it apart, strip it, and figure out how it works. Add a new engine, or upgrade it.
  • Build your own PC. Or ‘Hackintosh’ (a PC that runs Mac).
  • If you have Android, figure out how to mod it. Or if you have an iPhone, ‘jailbreak’ it, and modify it.
  • Figure out how to make your own presets in Lightroom. Make your own computer programs on Make your own music in Garageband, or take old songs you like, and chop them up.
  • Take things apart, to figure out how they work. Then (try) to put it together.

2. Experiment in your own lab

As kids, we like to fool around, experiment, and pull ‘pranks.’ Yet, we stop doing this as we get older– why?

Build your own lab at home. It can be your laptop, your desk, your garage– whatever. Let it be your play place, or ‘sandbox’ to tinker, and try out new things.

Think of yourself like a scientist. Treat your lab as a play to experiment, and to make your own research.

Research music, research art, research photography, research books, writing, sculpture, dance, whatever.

There is no ‘failure’ in experimentations in labs. Only forward progress.

Some ideas:

  • Build your own lab, by filling up your garage full of experimental tools.
  • Treat your laptop like your lab; start using apps that allow you to tinker, create, and draw. If you have a Mac, use Garage band to make your own music, iMovie to make your own videos, and Photos for photo-processing.
  • Buy a sketchpad, and keep it on your desk, and sketch out random ideas.

3. Allow yourself to play

Fröbels Building Box

Picasso once said that we are all born as artists as children. The problem is how do we stay artists as we get older?

Fröbels Building Box
Fröbels Building Box

Let us learn from children. Let us learn how to play. To follow our own curiosity, not for the sake of becoming ‘smarter.’ But rather, to follow our curiosity for the sake of our curiosity.

That means, don’t let anybody tell you that whatever you’re studying or pursuing is ‘dumb.’ Ignore them– like what kids do.

How can do you a little more creative play today?

Some practical ideas:

  • Take out a piece of paper, and start sketching whatever is in front of you. Your coffee cup, whatever.
  • Use a free smartphone sketching app like ‘Paper‘ on iPhone or ‘Infinite Paper‘ for Android. Or search the App store for: “drawing” — and just use your finger to sketch, and draw.
  • Use your smartphone and make photos like a kid. Don’t care whatever you photograph; turn off your brain, and shoot from your gut. For 30 minutes, just wander without a destination– follow your curiosity.


eric and mom child kid
My mom and me, when I was a kid.


Just have fun, don’t over-think this.

My biggest advice: don’t judge your curiosity. Never think your idea is ‘dumb’ or ‘good’ or ‘smart’. No censorship.

Have fun,


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