Life seemed so beautiful back then
With my six childhood friends I had so much fun
Everyday seemed new
They taught me all the things I never knew
“Stop dawdling away your time” yelled my parents
Coercing me to ignore their existence
Taming their presence every now and then
I miss my friends named What, Why, Who, Where, How and When
Penning these words in their remembrance
I still hope for their magical reappearance
These words poured into my mind as I sat down to analyze my curiosity quotient. Somewhere deep down our heart we all lament over the loss of wonder and curiosity we had in our lives while we were kids. In fact we secretly crave for the reappearance of this trait, that made our life so exciting back then. Wasn’t it your curiosity that taught you more than anything else when you stepped into this world? The only way a toddler learns about his world is by exploring the things around him out of curiosity. The benefits of curiosity are underestimated and even frowned upon once we step into the adult world.
We fail to realize that curiosity is as important to us as it is to a toddler. If you are aiming for personal growth and experiencing a more fulfilling life then it is worth improving your curiosity quotient.
Why should we be more curious?
Source of Happiness and Motivation
Todd Kashdan , a psychology professor from George Mason University talks about the link between curiosity and happiness in his book “ Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life”. He says that curious people have a higher sense of wellbeing. The scientific phenomenon behind this can be explained in the following manner – Curious people are always exploring and trying new things. When we move out of our comfort zone to try something new, our brain produces a chemical known as Dopamine. Dopamine kicks in whenever we are in an unfamiliar situation. In curious people this high level of Dopamine generates a feeling of wellbeing and keeps them in a constant high-spirited state. Also when we try new activities by overcoming our fear we feel a deep sense of accomplishment which skyrockets our motivation levels.
A Mind stimulant
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious” - Albert Einstein
Curiosity is what separates a mediocre person from a genius. Think of Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein, they were all chronically curious characters. Like our body craving for oxygen, our brain craves for constant stimulation in the form of new experiences and new activities. Lack of such stimulation causes gradual atrophy of brain cells leading to mental ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Though some people are naturally curious by nature this trait is not inborn. So the good news is that each one of us can cultivate curiosity. It is like developing a new habit. You might have to consciously make an effort in the beginning. But with repeated practice it would become more effortless and natural. As Maria Mitchell once said “We have a hunger of the mind which asks for knowledge of all around us, and the more we gain, the more is our desire; the more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.”-
Route to new opportunities
A curious mind attracts new opportunities which are often overlooked by an incurious mind. I would completely agree to this one. Going down the memory lane I feel I would have missed some exciting opportunities had I not taken the first step out of curiosity. As a teenager I was very shy with low confidence levels. One day while I was having a casual chat with my friend, she mentioned about Toastmasters Club(An organization where one gets to hone their public speaking skills). Out of curiosity I joined the club. In a short span of 2 years I have grown from a shy person to a more confident and outgoing person. I have discovered new passions and developed new skills through curiosity. In fact my curiosity to explore the world of writing is what got me to PickTheBrain in the first place.
Route to an exciting life
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood” – Marie Curie
“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen
The life of curious people is never dull or boring. It is full of action and adventures. Every day there is something new to capture their attention. There are few people who are driven to try dangerous acts like skydiving or cliff diving out of curiosity. Probably this is what gave rise to the adage “Curiosity killed the cat” But Psychologists feel that the positive effects of curiosity still outweigh the negative effects. So curiosity might have killed few cats but it has surely skilled many.
I hope these benefits stirred your curiosity about curiosity. Read further to learn about the ways to improve your curiosity quotient
Ways to improve your curiosity quotient
Ask for more
Understand that you don’t know everything. Statistics say that 42% of college graduates never read another book after college. As we grow up we tend to assume that we know everything and there is nothing more to learn. This clogs our curiosity. To stay mentally agile we should make it a point to make learning a lifelong goal. It is not bad to stay greedy when it comes to learning.
Learning is Fun
The word “Learning” often reminds us of those sweaty palms and never ending jitters we experienced before exams. We often consider learning as something daunting. If you consider learning as a burden you would not be able to take the initiative to learn. Change this mindset by affirming to yourself that “ Learning is fun and exciting”
Observe and Explore
“Everyone and everything around you is your teacher”– Ken Keyes
Use all your senses to understand the people and the world around you. We can be as receptive as the sponge soaking in more and more information from our surroundings. One way to strengthen our receptiveness is by asking questions. Our observations cannot help us unless we try to delve into the details of the things we observe. As Bernard Baruch once quoted “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why”.
Note – Take the help of your friends What ,Why, When ,Who, How and Where in this step
Flex your mind
Get rid of those rigid ideas you are holding in your mind. Some of the things we know and believe might be wrong. We can learn so many things from others which cannot be learnt otherwise. This doesn’t mean that you have to accept everyone’s ideas but atleast give them a little consideration. By looking at the world from other person’s perspective you would surely notice the things you would have overlooked.
Go ahead and experiment
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” –Walt Disney
Dabble in different things. Having eclectic taste and interest makes life more exciting. If you are fond of reading fiction try reading nonfiction once in a while. If you like hip-hop go ahead and listen to country music. We all experience some level of resistance while trying something new. The only difference is that curious people break through this barrier more easily by entering the unfamiliar territory often. So push yourself out of your comfort zone regularly. Persistent practice would make you perfect in this.
I am curious to know your ideas about curiosity. Do post your ideas in the comments column.
Swati Ramnath is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain.
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