By Rae Oliver
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” – Albert Einstein
Our responsibilities grow as we get older — mortgages, car payments, medical insurance, and school fees, to name some. As much as we want to avoid it, the cycle of obligations traps us. So much so, that we may lose our inner child or child-like ways, and with it, our sense of wonder. This unique way of looking at the world is a gift that everyone should try to cultivate in life. Mainly because as children, we are born with a natural sense of awe, but as we age, it slowly diminishes.
So how do we get it back, and why would we want to? Before we go into the benefits, let’s first clarify what a sense of wonder is.
What is a Sense of Wonder?
Put simply, a sense of wonder is a feeling of child-like delight, amazement, and admiration at the natural state of the world. It refers to that feeling of grateful awe in the smaller things in life. It drives that natural feeling of wanting to know more about the world around you, like a young child with a curious mind. Wonder gives you a positive feeling and makes you pause in appreciation for those things like nature that are greater than you are.
Whether it’s a day where you’re exploring the world through exotic adventures or commuting to work on a Monday, here’s how cultivating wonder can benefit you:
You Appreciate the Little Things
Life isn’t a bed of roses. We know that. But having a sense of wonder can help us feel happiness from things we might normally overlook. These things become a part of why your life is so great. No judgments, no questions – just pure awe, curiosity, and appreciation for things that are often free—sunsets and sunrises, the chirping of birds in the morning. As you stop to “smell the roses” more, you’ll begin to view the world through the eyes of a child with wonder and excitement.
You Grow into a Better Person
Having a sense of wonder can help you become an even better version of yourself. How so? Well, when you view the world with astonishment and admiration, you open yourself up to learning about anything and everything. You appreciate the fact that the world is your oyster, and that you are in a prime position to make the most of life’s opportunities.
With a sense of wonder, you can wholeheartedly engage with a new activity or skill that you may not have had time for before. Instead of being wrapped up in distractions, you set aside the time to develop yourself as an individual. A sense of wonder leaves you with insatiable curiosity, asking yourself questions that an inquisitive child might ask. It can be as basic as learning how to make pasta at home (How is pasta made?) to enrolling yourself in a religious workshop (What is God?).
No matter what exciting endeavor you take on, it’s a means to work on yourself and flourish.
You Get Out of Your Routine
Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Sound familiar? Most people tend to fall into a rut and complete the same tasks at the same time with the same lack of enthusiasm. However, maintaining a sense of wonder in life can help you break free from the mundane repetitiveness, making you inherently happier.
When you have a sense of wonder, you want to explore more. You see the potential of each moment and want to make the most of it. You naturally begin to utilise your time better with the appreciation that life is a gift and full of opportunities.
As you marvel at life’s wonders, you naturally push yourself out of your comfort zone. You realise that there is so much to explore outside of everyday life. Maybe you book yourself that gorilla trekking holiday you always wanted to do. Or maybe you take up salsa lessons because you’re finally turning your interest in dancing into a reality.
No matter what it is, you will sharpen and expand your mind. You begin to utilise your time better and become a more holistic person, not just a continuously exhausted, narrow-minded individual.
How to Cultivate Your Sense of Wonder
Now that you know how much this magical sense of wonder can help you, you’re probably wondering, “How can I get it back?” It’s not as easy as snapping your fingers, but there are actions you can take in your everyday life to regain your feelings of wonder:
- Look up at the sky, every once in a while
- Immerse yourself in art, literature and music
- Spend time watching children
- Travel to new and exciting destinations
- Take up a course or masterclass
- Go for a walk (leave your cellphone at home)
- Expand your social circle
- Do something good for the community
The most important aspect of reigniting your sense of wonder is to give yourself time. It won’t happen overnight, but it starts with baby steps. As you open yourself up to the wonders of the world, you’ll realise how much love the world has to give; and how much love you have to give in return.
Rae Oliver, editor in chief at Truly Experiences, is a 20-something professional digital nomad with a deep dislike for the term ‘digital nomad’. When she’s not daydreaming about bamboo straws and strong cheese, she’s hunched over her laptop, furiously smashing out sarcastic jokes and witty words. Most days you’ll find Rae galavanting around the world, hopping from one coffee shop to the next on the hunt for the world’s fastest Wifi and perfectly ripe avocado.
Steven Tye Culbert says
Thanks, Rae, for writing about wonder. You wrote sensibly and helped me understand the personal nature of wonder. I hope you keep on writing in coffeeshops and wonderful alleys, at iron tables and cloth-covered tables. God bless you!