One wonderful thing about being a parent is watching how your child discovers and explores the world around them. Simple things are really exciting to them, like seeing a plane in the sky, different coloured leaves on the ground, a rubbish truck drive by..... Their curiosity and desire to explore new things is a really enjoyable part of childhood and can be fun for parents too.
According to an article in Psychologies magazine, the natural curiosity that many of us develop as children and later lose as adults could be the key to life fulfillment. Dr Kashdan, who has written a book called, Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life, conducted research that also revealed curiosity is linked to a child's IQ, "with highly curious children at the age of 12 performing better in IQ tests compared to less curious kids". Most people tend to lose their curious, exploratory side around the age of 30.
By curiosity, Dr Kashdan means not just enjoying new experiences but also looking for new challenges that will involve doing something different (eg. making new friends, learning a new skill). It also means seeking the new in the familiar parts of lives, such us in our relationships and jobs. It's a way of being mindful. "Each of us experiences moments every day that we can explore or ignore", explains Dr Kashdan. Often those moments can be ones that make us feel uncomfortable because they are 'new' and not what we are used to. Stepping out of our comfort zone is the first step to developing our curiosity.
We all have our routines and ways of going about our day-to-day lives. I'm sure most of us could say that we feel stuck in a rut sometimes. Taking even a few small steps to move away from the familiar can help us in more ways than one. Below you will see some suggestions from Psychologies for developing your curiosity. Several of them involve acivities that could be said to keep the mind active, something that is often recommended to do into old age. Take an interest in something new, different and who knows where it might take you....
Here are the 10 Life Curious Tips
Start your day with a new experience
- Listen to a different radio station or make a smoothie
Find the unfamiliar in the familiar
- Take a new route to work, or chat to someone you see on the train/ at the station each day
Find out something you don't know
- Read a section of the newspaper you wouldn't normally
Schedule in regular doses of novelty and challenge
- Lunch with someone from work you don’t know, and find out something about them
Surround yourself with creativity and creative people
- Visit a new gallery or go to a seminar after work
Be mindful in daily life
- Listen to a new band you've never heard before or check download a new album
Be open and receptive
- Say 'yes' to an invite if you'd normally say 'no', and see where it takes you
- Listen and delve into someone else's opinion on a topic you are passionate about
Bond with your party over shared curiosity
- Meet up with a new couple or friends together
Thrive on uncertainty
- Style yourself differently for the day depending on your mood
Life fulfillment sounds like a bold claim but I do think there's some sense in Dr Kashdan's findings and certainly incorporating some of these suggestions into our daily lives could be a good thing and the consequences may surprise us. What do you think about these tips? Do you already do some of the things suggested?