Curiosity

What is your Curiosity Quotient?

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.

Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter!

Related Articles:

7 Steps to Compel Creativity

The Secret To Creativity

  • http://www.simpletruths.com Matt

    This is brilliant, to think of curiosity as a way to stay young and flexible. I think that our culture writ large writes off curiosity as being much too risky and unproductive. When, really, curiosity motivated many people to find new solutions to old problems and to think outside the box.

    Swati, I blog for an inspirational company called Simple Truths. May I repost this entry on our blog? I would love to get this idea out to as many as possible.

  • http://improveminduniversity.blogspot.com jonathan figaro

    Curiosity can kill fear quicker than certainty. Having the ability to be excited for the unknown is a great trait to obtain. Living in a world where any and everything is truly possible, curiosity can elevate the mind towards self expression. Being able to think for ones self, who is fearless and child like in imagination. Child like imagination is what Walt Disney acquire as he began building the empire he left behind. Keep you mind focused on how to think positive on a daily basis while allowing curiosity to move throughout your heart, mind and soul.

    • Swati

      Hi Jonathan,

      I liked your point that ” Curiosity kills fear quicker than certainity” Most us are a bit hesitant to accept change and life throws new opportunities disguised in the form of a change.By being in the curious and fearless state of a child we can attract more opportunities.And as you said our curiosity also makes us more imaginative and creative.

  • http://maintainyourself.blogspot.com/ Haim

    Right to the point, create curiosity and you will earn new energy and motivation

    • Swati

      Haim you are right our curiosity is a sign of excitement vigor and health. We all can relate to a child who is brimming with excitement at the sight of a colorful butterfly. Curiosity is a life empowering trait.

  • Swati

    Thanks Matt for those encouraging words.Some people say that curiosity is the cousin of creativity so I guess we bloggers who are constantly striving to be more creative need it the most.

    Regarding posting the article on your website you can check it with pickthebrain as they have the right over this article now.

  • http://www.timelessinformation.com Armen Shirvanian

    Hi Swati.

    I like that you pointed out the dopamine release when we continue curiosity, and how the process can be extended as long as we continue seeking new items. That is one of those momentum-filled habits that can be easy to develop once it is pursued.

    Getting rid of rigid ideas is wonderful. All you do is take something you thought for a long time and ignore it for a period of time, seeing how you change your action. It then leads us to see things we didn’t see, like you mentioned here.

    • Swati

      Hi Armen,

      You are right we should all strive to remain open minded and ready to learn.This would happen only when we believe that we don’t know everything and we are not always right.
      After all our thoughts are the ones that create our actions and our life.

  • http://www.thelifeuncommon.net Nacie Carson

    Hi, Swati thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it!

    • Swati

      Thanks Nacie :)

  • http:///www.positivewayoflife.com Josten

    Wow i did not know that a lack of curiousity leads to alzehimers (sp?)

  • http://www.aflourishinglife.com A Flourishing Life

    This is a fabulous article with some novel ideas. I imagine you are a very curious person! We are so much more present to life when we are interacting with what is actually happening.

    I would also add being curious about our inner life. When we are more conscious about what we are doing, we can make choices that are aligned with what we really want for ourselves. This is essential when we are trying to change habits. The thoughts and feelings about the undesired habit need to be fully known before we can make a lasting change. It takes genuine curiosity.

  • http://www.aflourishinglife.com Gail @ A Flourishing Life

    Sorry I didn’t leave my name – it’s Gail.

    • Swati

      Thanks Gail :) As you said apart from being curious about the external world we should also be curious about our internal world.How can we expect life to be more fulfilling if we don’t even know what we want out of life.We must reflect on our life by asking questions like ” What do I love doing?” or “How can I contribute to this world?”

  • Crusader

    Just want to help you curiously discover that “learned” is accepted in the English language–Learnt is not however.

  • http://dwellupon.net Peter

    This is a really great article, curiosity is truly a great friend to our personal development and education.

    I have just completed an article on self education here http://dwellupon.net/2009/09/learn-to-learn-how-to-teach-yourself/. However I never really touched upon the aspects of curiosity.

    Good work

    • Swati

      Thanks Peter :) I liked your article Learn to learn…What matters the most is knowing how to apply the knowledge we have…this is one area where we all need to improve

  • http://Pickthebrain Shafeeq abdulla

    Hi.. Swati.. I liked your article very much.. I have read it many times.. It really motivates me whenever i am down because of less curiosity.. It would be mine if you post more and more articles about curiosity…

  • Jesmar

    curiosity brings us the truth…

  • Etornatore67

    WOW!! So great made me think ! I am a very curious as well and its awesome to know that there are people out there that curious too!!

  • Desalegn 1Delu

    I am also  curious person. But, my curiousity is specifically channeled to Learning/knowing (the reason behind) something, never intend to do an action. I am so eager to learn what New Guinea looks like, its weather, people, history….but, never think of travelling there.
    I always read travel books, with no plan to travel.
    Seems strange to me.

  • Pingback: 02.01.2012 • Curiosity - Wednesday Lunch Read(s)

  • @swedishroots

    Love this post! Thank you! I linked to it on my blog: http://wednesdaylunchreads.com/2012/02/01/02-01-2012-%E2%80%A2-curiosity/ 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003356470582 Helen Lorenzo

    I am so curious and this curiosity makes me feel so excited! HAPPY-JOY-FUN-LEARNING-CREATIVE-EXPLORE-and many more. That makes me OPEN-MINDED PEOPLE. True GREAT. Thanks for this article…