Want to Think Like a Genius? Cultivate Your Curiosity

05/27/2015 10:35 am ET | Updated May 27, 2016

Albert Einstein once said, "I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious." It's interesting that the man who developed the theory of relativity, plus numerous other brilliant discoveries and inventions believed that curiosity was the most significant reason behind his success.

The good news is, you don't have to be a genius to be curious. Everyone is curious to a certain degree. Perhaps you love to travel and visit places you've never been. You like to immerse yourself in the culture, try exotic foods, learn the native language, or study the history of a country.

Or you may choose to peak your curiosity closer to home. You keep your mind active whenever you take a computer class, restore an old house, or try a new recipe.

Whatever your preference, if you want to keep your mind sharp, it's important to constantly find ways to exercise your curiosity. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Ask questions.
Be inquisitive and don't be afraid to ask questions wherever you go, with whomever you meet. When you're genuinely interested in a topic, you're more than likely to strike up a stimulating conversation with friends and strangers alike.

Here's a simple exercise. The next time you go to the grocery store, ask the produce manager the differences in the variety of tomatoes, apples or onions. When you visit a new place, ask a local resident about the most popular restaurants or landmarks. The more you know, the more you'll want to learn. And you might even cultivate some new friendships along the way.

Take an art or cooking class (or both).
According to the Alzheimer's Association website, as we age we decline mentally because of altered connections in our brain cells. But keeping the brain active makes it stronger and may build brain cells and connections.

In order to keep your brain in motion, stimulate your curiosity by taking an art or cooking class. Once the class begins, don't just sit there. Be an active participant. Ask questions and share your opinions or experiences to help satisfy others' curiosity.

Go back to school.
Going back to school can be an enormous curiosity booster. It's never too late to learn or continue your education. Last year, for example, a 103-year-old woman from Wisconsin earned her high school diploma. Go online or peruse a course catalog for more information on classes you might find interesting. Attending workshops and seminars can fuel your curiosity.

Learn a new language.
Maybe you would like to visit a foreign country but you're afraid to because you don't speak the language. Well, that's no excuse. It's never too late to learn a second (or maybe third) language. Learning another language can nourish your curiosity, benefit your brain, and improve your critical thinking skills.

Take in nature.
Go outside and let your curiosity run wild and free. The earth and everything in it is wide open and just waiting for you. Go on a hike at a national park, search for seashells on the beach, buy a pair of binoculars to identify various bird species, or plant a vegetable garden in your backyard. Activate your five senses and feel the beauty of nature in every way. Not only will your curiosity be inundated with reactions to the environment, but you'll start to feel more relaxed too.

Go on a retreat.
Do yourself a favor and nourish your mind and soul. Retreats can be spiritual or holistic in nature and can help you focus on becoming more in tune with your best self. In other words, it's all about you. This is a time to reconnect with what brings you joy and happiness through a variety of methods like yoga, introspective workshops, and meditation. The goal is to recharge your battery and your brain.

Visit the library.
The library is a haven where books live. For those who love reading and collecting literature, a library can be a magical place. You can find volumes on almost every imaginable topic. But the best part -- when you become a member of your local library, you have access to an unlimited number of books and other literary resources -- all free of charge.

For more lifestyle and etiquette tips, visit Jacqueline Whitmore's blog or "like" her Facebook page.