Article word count: 611 words - Approximate time to read: 2.4 minutes
‘Curiosity killed the cat’ . . . why is this adage dangerous? These words paint a negative picture of inquisitiveness; when being curious is the very stuff of innovation and creativity.
Curiosity is different to intelligence. It’s possible to have high IQ with a low curiosity quotient.
Why be curious?Why be curious?
Following our curiosity can lead to us to new ideas, creativity and innovation. Taking action around new ideas as they come up can add a sense of purpose and meaning to our life, making us more optimistic and confident about the future.
It’s self-fulfilling. It’s an antidote against feelings of stagnation and hopelessness.
Doing something new can make you happy.
Feel stuck in a rut? First consider your input. Doing something new can inspire us, add a sense of fun and pleasure, contributing to our overall level of happiness and wellbeing.
Being open to new experiences cultivates psychological flexibility. By becoming a person of many dimensions, life will offer better choices. New doors will open.
Recent discoveries about the brain show that what we think about changes the brain. Neural plasticity means doing something new stimulates your brain to grow new brain cell connections.
An intellectually curious person usually has a library, physical or virtual, not just in their own area of subject-matter expertise but from a wide field of subjects.
They probably also enjoy a hobby, and over the course of their life, perhaps master many different leisure pursuits.
When you attempt something new, you may be surprised to discover you can actually do it well. This boosts what psychologists call self-efficacy; confidence that if I can do this, I can most likely do other things too. It breeds optimism and feelings of success.
Pick a new activity and master it
Business author and thinker, and acknowledged father of management consulting, Peter Drucker (1909-2005), attempted a new hobby every three years. At eighty-something he took up painting Japanese porcelains as the next new skill to master.
Is there a new skill you secretly yearn to master if you only had time?
Adults who inherit a musical instrument – violin, clarinet, piano – often wish they could play. Don’t die with your music still in you. Find a music teacher.
What secret passion can you make time for?
Remind yourself that attempting something new turns the lights on in your brain, staves off rigid thinking and promotes mental flexibility.
How to keep your genius juices flowing
Doctors encourage people to perform daily mental activity such as crosswords as a way to stimulate the brain.
Brain function doesn’t have to decline with age; learning something new activates the brain, stimulates it, and keeps it young.
If you feel stuck, revive your spirit of curiosity. If you’ve lost your passion and energy, become more curious.