While it’s true that curiosity may kill your cat, it can also make you well-rounded, self-aware and, ultimately, happier. To get a sense of how powerful curiosity can be, consider the opposite strategy: disinterest.
An absence of curiosity is a close-minded approach to life and implies there is nothing left to know.
The thirst for knowledge is what has driven some of the most astonishing scientific discoveries in history, and yet, it can also improve the quality of your life and promote happiness.
1. It stimulates your brain
When curiosity strikes, you become hyper-aware. You pay attention to details and try to find patterns to help make sense of what you perceive.
In turn, this cultivates self-reliance and independence, which can improve how content you are with your life.
2. It makes you comfortable with risk
Curiosity often arrives in tandem with uncertainty. Being curious often requires you to step outside your comfort zone, eager to learn and find something new.
Getting used to taking risks ensures you aren’t letting fear inhibit you, which will make you happier in the long-term.
3. You become filled with a sense of wonder
If you’ve ever watched a small child fuss with building blocks or any other kind of toy, you’ll quickly realize we are curious beings from birth.
They’ll try different methods of stacking and orienting the building blocks, not knowing what to expect. Children are especially curious because, at such a young age, they don’t yet know very much. As we age and learn, we tend to lose curiosity.
The fact is when we are curious, the sense of wonder enriches our lives.
Regarded by many as a pleasant sensation, The New Oxford American Dictionary defines wonder as, “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
4. It kick-starts the search for meaning
This is another behavior that is a function of time and needing to see meaning in everything we do. By being curious, we don’t settle for “that’s just the way it is.”
Even the most trivial moments of our days are subject to analysis: What is that? Why did I do that? What does it mean that I do that? To reflect inward on your curiosity in gentle, non-judgmental ways can comfort you in times of need, as well as make you more self-aware and content.
5. It encourages you to try new things
If you remain open and curious, you might be surprised by how positive the result may be. So often, we recoil from trying new things out of fear or insecurity, but if we remain curious, our decision-making processes will become much less stressful.
Let’s say you’re thinking of trying skydiving, but you have some reservations about going through with it.
Curiosity doesn’t mean you need to jump out of a plane; rather, it allows you to approach the idea of skydiving with a bit more clarity than if you completely rejected the idea.
6. It cultivates understanding and peace
Curiosity precludes hatred, violence and exclusion. If you approach confrontation with a sense of curiosity, you’ll be able to resolve the situation with ease: Why is this person frustrated with me? How can we resolve this?
If you’re genuinely interested in finding and neutralizing the source of conflict, you won’t be distracted by conflicting emotions or your defense mechanisms.
What’s more is that curiosity helps bring out our best selves by promoting emotions like empathy, compassion and understanding.
These are just some of the many ways curiosity can improve the quality of your life. The best part about it is that you don’t have to change anything about yourself to implement it into how you already think.
We all have access to this mode of thinking. If you pay attention to what triggers you to be close-minded or exclusive, you’ll find a place to start.
Like any skill of the mind, curiosity requires time and practice, but once you have a good handle on it, you’ll notice that life gets easier, lighter and much more fun.