I set out to discover the why of it, and to transform my pleasure into knowledge
Why! Why! Why! Ask it of everything your mind caresses. If spectacle, revelry and mystery are missing in your everyday life, it may be simply that you have forgotten where to look! Curiosity is the offspring of mystery and wonder and it is the inspiration of the true adventurer. When is the last time you experienced moments of insight and meaning, your eyes sparked with revolutions, your hair stood on end with astonishment? When is the last time you lived outside prescribed boxes, daring to live until you discover the treasured purpose of your one and only life?
And It all begins with the desire to know more. Curiosity is the single most important quality with which humans are born! More than simply a desire to discover or know things, it is a powerful device to feel more alive, to bring openness to your heart and mind, and to boldly learn something you did not know before. One of the most faithful and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity.
Curiosity, at its heart, is all about noticing and being drawn to things we find captivating and compelling. It is about observing and seizing the pleasures that novel experiences offer us, and finding novelty and meaning even in experiences that are proverbial, familiar and dull. Our innate curiosity can easily become dulled by the mundane and familiarity of our daily routine.
She had an immense curiosity about life, and was constantly staring and wondering
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
It is a well known fact that most of us spend little of our day doing very engaging, enjoyable activities such as creating, talking the meaningful talk, playing, pursuing spiritual enlightenment, loving your loved ones, stealing apples from an orchard…Sadly, most of our time and energy is spent engaged and bound in unsatisfying activities and chores such as commuting, standing in line, filling in forms, talking the small talk, and walking the prescribed walk.
And there, sitting staring us in our little eye, is that wonderful little tingling sensation called curiosity.
Curiosity means just that. Endlessly curious. Endlessly asking questions. Endlessly wanting to know the how and the why?
Curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. With practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks, even the mundane ones, into interesting and enjoyable experiences. We can also use curiosity to deliberately create wonder, intrigue and play out of almost any situation or interaction we encounter.
Research continues to suggest that experiencing novelty and surprise is an important factor in both health, happiness and vitality. And opportunities for novelty exist practically everywhere. However, to discover and make the most of them, we need to develop our “curiosity cache” through more routine and intense use. Learning is by nature curiosity: snooping into everything, reluctant to leave anything, material or immaterial unexplained.
Keep your baby eyes on what we don’t know.
Curiosity is a strength and energy that is available to almost everyone at almost any given point in time and at any time in life. Carl Jung, the great 20th century minder of the mind said: “The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.” Polishing your cognitive lenses through which you view your life sharpens your mind and adds a toe tapping verve to your life at any age.
If we think back to our childhood, we all embarked on our life’s journey with curiosity, wonder and awe. I have no doubt that we lose this childlike nature, the nature we are born with, because of society. Therein you will find certain establishments and systems in place that beat the childishness out of us, so we can be more productive citizens and consumers. Woebegone those who challenge the way it always has been and the status quo.
In some ways, our society seems dedicated to disposing of childhood. We often tell our children to stop acting like a child and grow up. Even the word “childish” has a negative and gloomy tone to it.
Thankfully, that childlike imagination and creativity still rests inside you – no matter how old you happen to be. Simply thinking back to when you were a child can bring you into that mindset again. It is never too late to salvage those positive characteristics of youth and a little dash of childlike wonder and use them to enhance the wisdom and experience you have gathered with age.
Curiosity is the lust of the mind
One of the best ways to better appreciate the power of curiosity is to start exercising it more consciously in your daily experiences. By doing so, you can transform routine tasks, enlivening them with new energy. You will also likely begin to notice more scenarios that have the potential to engage you, giving your curiosity even more opportunities to flourish.
The payoff is that you will feel more alive and engaged, more capable of embracing opportunities, making connections, and experiencing moments of wisdom and meaning, all of which will provide you with a foundation for a rich, aware and pleasurable life experience.
Nobody in this crazy old world understands everything: not the greatest scientist, not the most delicate poet, not the most finespun academic, not the most tortured painter. The rejuvenating power of taking care to unceasingly fatten your own range, abilities, and horizons can not be underestimated. Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark and into the shade.
I have no special talents – I am only passionately curious
So now you must choose… Are you a still a child who has not yet become disenchanted? Or are you a philosopher who will promise never to become so? To children, the world and every little thing in it is new and unfamiliar, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Many adults accept the world as they find it, as a matter of course, as prescribed.
The only thing we must cling to with all our might is our sense of wonder. Cultivating curiosity rather than questing after a state of hollow bliss is the key to wellbeing. We can intentionally change the way we view the world and arouse our innate curiosity.
We must never quite get used to this world that we live in. For it will continue to be unreasonable, bewildering but ultimately enigmatic. The missing ingredient to a fulfilling life is steadfast curiosity.
Savour every step you take. If you are curiouser and curiouser, there is always something new to be discovered in the backdrop of your everyday life.