When we were babies we had an insatiable curiosity. We observed, experimented and constantly learnt about the world around us. It was amazing, wondrous. Babies are always collecting information. They try things again and again and then draw conclusions from their findings. We don’t outgrow this thirst for knowledge, but other stuff gets in the way.
Something to think about: If we were to continue to be as curious as a baby, or young child, how would that alter how we experience our lives?
A child’s desire to explore and gain knowledge is seen by developmental psychologists as a pure drive. If allowed to continue to be curious they will continue their natural tendencies to discover, explore and expand their world. As we grow older and hit Grade School children learn education is about getting an ‘A’. Fascination and curiosity can take a back seat. Add to that the human tendency toward conformity to ‘fit in’ and be ‘approved of’, and you can see how we come to protect comfort zones over pushing boundaries. I believe this is dangerous, and very sad. It can inhibit happiness, stint intellectual and emotional growth, and just sheer fun.
Science tells us that some regions of the adult brain stay as malleable as a baby’s brain. We grow new connections all the time. We can lose touch with our natural sense of curiosity, but the drive remains.
There is no reason not to be curious. The benefits are akin to a superpower. It ignites your life with fun, and passion, and awe. It boosts your happiness and keeps your brain young and healthy.
There are so many extraordinary discoveries happening around us. Now is a great time to return to being curious.
You might try these things:
- In John Medina’s book ‘Brain Rules’ he gives an example of walking down the street with his 2 yr old boy, Noah. Noah stops to look at a shiny pebble, looks at it closely, is filled with delight and laughs. He sees a small weed tenaciously struggling through a crack in the pavement and laughs again. He bends to touch it and observes a platoon of ants marching by carrying a dead bug. Noah claps his hands in wonder. Next time you go for a walk outside really notice what is around you; the sounds, the sights, the smells. Look through the eyes of a toddler and you may just touch on some magic.
- It is OK to make mistakes and fail. Not only is it OK it is desirable. Without them you will not grow, but stay imprisoned in an illusory comfort zone that is in reality a straight-jacket. Try new things, even if it scares you a little. The rewards will be greater than the fear.
- Consider taking up a hobby you can explore like a child. It might be hiking, playing the a harmonica, painting or writing. For instance, when I learned scuba diving it opened a whole new world for me. I truly saw the ocean through the eyes of a child.
With warm wishes for a happy day,