You may know hundreds of people. Yet how many are truly fascinating?
I’ve often wondered about these men and women. What gives them that special indefinable quality that makes them so enjoyable to be around?
Some will say its education, talent, money, humor or celebrity. But I think it’s something that’s within the reach of us all: curiosity.
Curious people are interested in the world and everything in it. They seek out new friends and experiences. They pay attention to what’s going on around them and why.
Astronomer Carl Sagan once lamented that when a child asks a perfectly good question like “Why is the sun round?” it’s not unusual for an adult to give a dismissive response like, “What do you expect it to be, square?”
(Of course, most adults probably don’t know that intense gravity pulls material towards the sun’s center, forming a sphere. But there’s never any shame in answering a question with, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.”)
By the time we reach adulthood, many of us are already jaded or closed-minded. We tend to speak with, read and praise people who share our point of view.
When our views are challenged, our instinct is to defend them (even if they might be wrong). In the process, we may miss the opportunity to learn something.
Other times it is the desire for certainty that suppresses our natural curiosity. After all, why look into a matter further when you’ve already got it all figured out?
Uncurious people tend to see the world in black and white. People are good or bad. Choices are right or wrong. Yet outside of mathematics, alternatives are rarely that stark.
Sometimes life comes in infinite shades of grey. And nothing demonstrates a low tolerance for ambiguity like a lack of curiosity.
High curiosity, on the other hand, opens us up to multiple perspectives. It is regularly tied to greater analytic ability, problem-solving skills, and overall intelligence.
Curiosity drove many of the world’s finest scientists and explorers. Our greatest discoveries often come when we question authority, the status quo, or our own beliefs.
Curiosity is also what leads many of us – often late in life – to take up the piano… or fly-fishing… or ballroom dancing… or visiting all 50 states.
And it is something that can be practiced. Often it’s just a matter of greater awareness. When you’re making your schedule, what are you planning that you haven’t tried before? When you’re talking, what opinions are you hearing that you haven’t heard before? When you’re traveling, what are you seeing that you haven’t seen before?
Curiosity is essentially an attitude toward living. It shows we are interested in adding to our knowledge, our skills, our areas of competence. We are willing to break out of our routine and experiment with our lives.
When you’re curious, you’re energized. You’re learning. Your focus goes beyond yourself and your own petty concerns. You’re making discoveries, finding opportunities, adding to your quality of life.
Best of all, these pursuits don’t just make your life more fascinating.
Source: Alexander Green