Curiosity is the lust of the mind - Thomas Hobbes
Please see below selected recent curiosity-related change.
- Curiosity” and a “willingness to learn” are often listed as sought-after traits in job postings. Experts say it’s because these skills point to an aptitude for leadership. So how can workers exercise their curiosity muscle? Research shows that the most creative and curious people don’t have uncompromising routines. Breaking out of a rut by seeking out novel experiences can help curb boredom and disengagement, upping curiosity.
- Psychologist Dacher Keltner, in his book, Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life, argued that an appreciation of the world - whether through e.g. appreciating natural beauty or simply being with a friend - not only benefits us mentally and emotionally but is a crucial part of our physiological health. A big part of well-being, he claimed, comes from what primatologist Jane Goodall called “being amazed at things outside yourself.”
- In psychology, curiosity can be thought of as a state (when you are curious about something in the moment) and as a trait, or a tendency to be curious, that is more consistent. The fact that humans are highly curious early in life is well known. The psychologist William James wrote in 1899 that curiosity was ‘the impulse towards better cognition’, or wanting to understand something that you currently don’t. He said curiosity pushed children towards novelty, towards that which was ‘bright, vivid, startling’.
- Ian Leslie, in his book Curious, noted that the Enlightenment kickstarted a historic explosion of new ideas and innovations and even today there is mounting evidence that embracing curiosity is important to our well-being. Research shows it to be associated with such personal benefits as increased creativity, life satisfaction, academic performance, and job satisfaction.
- Psychologists Todd Kashdan and Paul Silvia meanwhile asked us to imagine what life would be like without the experience of curiosity. There'd be no exploration of the self and world, introspection, search for meaning in life, aesthetic appreciation, scientific pursuits, innovation, and, to some degree, personal growth. Curiosity is therefore clearly advantageous
- Research has shown that reading can be beneficial for people's careers, mental health and use of time, as well as showing a strong link between reading and curiosity in general. The co-author of the study by RMIT University and the University of Melbourne told The Australian Financial Review that employers can assess a job seeker's inquisitive nature by asking about what they read outside of their work, the books they think are inspiring and how a book has changed their way of thinking about a topic.
- A Financial Times article argued that instead of “inspiring them about the world of work”, schools would do better to teach their pupils about the possibilities that life holds. We don’t know, with any precision, what kinds of skills the workforce of the future will require. Beyond the fact that academic achievement is predictive of more academic achievement, we don’t even know what subjects map on to what capabilities. To grow in a fast changing, unpredictable environment, we need a population that loves learning, whose curiosity about the world is stimulated not by a fear of failing tests but a life-long passion for invention and discovery.
- Further reading:
- Curiosity is central to what Dr. Carol Dweck defines as a “growth mindset,” or one in which you believe you can improve and tend to have a desire to learn. Shifting your mindset to one of curiosity means that you view the world through the lens of what’s possible, not merely what is. You understand that you need to put in the work to accomplish your goals and are eager to improve.
- Further reading:
- The Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity launched. The US-based educational nonprofit features a collection of thousands of prototypes and models left by the mid 20th-century design power couple Ray and Charles Eames. It’s all accessible virtually for now, but plans on opening as a museum in the future.
- In its most mature forms – in adults who have flourished as lifelong wonderers – wonder promotes sustained excavation of the rich causal architectures of the world. It helps us to appreciate everything around us more fully. We come to see a more richly textured and dynamic reality. For example, through wondering and learning about how and why songbirds sing, how the first flowers break through frozen ground, and how animals hibernate, we see and experience in more immersive and rewarding ways, argued Frank Keil, author of Wonder: Childhood and the Lifelong Love of Science.
- The page on curiosity on the Character Lab website from the psychologist Angela Duckworthis a learning resource for wonder-related activities
- For The School of Life, all the great scientific discoveries and works of art have been made by people who looked at things with the naivety of children – and conversely, all the world-weariness and boredom has been the result of decades-old humans allowing habit to get in the way of astonishment. We should, in the area of curiosity, all become children’s attentive pupils. The problem is that the questions tend to come far too fast, the curiosity is too rampant, undisciplined and at odds with what we’re trying to get done - so we end up wishing there might be a bit less curiosity and a bit more apathy.
- University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross defined awe as “the wonder we feel when we encounter something powerful that we can’t easily explain.” Often the things which bring us awe have an element of vastness and complexity...a starry night sky, an act of great kindness, or the beauty of something small and intricate. Cultivating experiences of awe is especially important and helpful now as we renew our energy and make plans for a more hopeful future. That’s because beyond physical effects like tingling and goosebumps and a lowered heart rate under stress, awe also affects us emotionally, noted the HBR.
- The authors of The Curious Advantage, add that, in these volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times, organisations must nurture, develop and ignite curiosity. Curiosity lies at the heart of human achievement, including cave dwellers’ tools and complex societies. Natural curiosity in children often diminishes as parents and others unwittingly discourage it. Through history, societies that stayed open to outside ideas thrived. In organisations, a willingness to diversify and connect generates a powerful network effect of shared knowledge and curiosity.
- A good leader knows that innovation comes from encouraging and rewarding curiosity, even if - especially if - it means breaking the rules. When we open ourselves to curiosity, we tend to see tough problems as interesting challenges. We build stronger networks and stronger teams. We are motivated to go the extra mile. But promoting curiosity is not as easy as it sounds. In one recent survey, only about 24 percent of workers said they felt curious in their jobs on a regular basis and about 70 percent said they faced barriers to asking more questions in the office.
- An Oxford University fellow argued that curiosity should be nurtured and valued far more in life, as she belies that it’s the fuel of creativity. It pulls you from the known (where you're certain), into the unknown (confused). The place where we make new connections between old ideas. Where knowledge bits and pieces combine to generate something new.
- Curiosity lies at the heart of human achievement, including cave dwellers’ tools and complex societies. However, natural curiosity in children often diminishes as parents and others unwittingly discourage it. It then appears to be difficult for adults to (re-)develop. The authors of The Curiosity Advantage counter by arguing that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most people crave the ambiguity, change and novelty that ignite the curiosity that leads to learning. Curiosity can tap the reward and pleasure centres of your brain, they believe, sparking the release of dopamine, which permits new connections between neurons. Like anything that delivers pleasure, curiosity can grow addictive.
- Personal growth happens over the course of a lifetime, and yet, we so often think of childhood as the only locus of learning. People invoke the phrase childlike curiosity in reflecting on the capacity for boundless wonder and yet we never lose this capacity. The action of opening - we open up to, we open our eyes, we open our hearts — grounds us, and curiosity is the means by which we open. Questions embody our curiosity: What’s here? What’s happening? Why? How? What does it look, sound, taste, smell, feel like? Inextricable from acceptance, curiosity can open the door to life as it is and the possibilities therein.
- The Power of Questions argues that, as a society, we tend to focus a lot on answers. Answers are solutions to problems. We tend to give less prestige to questions. Asking questions means you want to learn, but shouldn’t mean pressure to begin with the big questions, the ones we all confront at one time or another, like the meaning of life, or what exists beyond our physical experience of earth. There is a significant amount to be learned from the seemingly mundane ones, questions that seem so basic, once many people reach their teenage years they no longer bother asking - because they either think we know the answer or are afraid of admitting they don’t.
- Seemingly pointless scientific research can lead to extraordinary discoveries, claimed a physicist in her TED talk, showing how many of our modern technologies are tied to centuries-old, curiosity-driven experiments - and making the case for investing in more such experiments to arrive at a deeper understanding of the world.
- A professor at Harvard Business School, shared a compelling business case for curiosity. Her research showed that allowing employees to exercise their curiosity can lead to fewer conflicts and better outcomes. However, even managers who value inquisitive thinking often discourage curiosity in the workplace because they fear it’s inefficient and unproductive.
- HBR also reported that psychologists have compiled a large body of research on the many benefits of curiosity. It enhances intelligence: In one study, highly curious children aged three to 11 improved their intelligence test scores by 12 points more than their least-curious counterparts did. It increases perseverance, or grit: Merely describing a day when you felt curious has been shown to boost mental and physical energy by 20% more than recounting a time of profound happiness.
- Gallup asked: in an organisational context, how often is genuine curiosity respected and how often is it discouraged? These questions about questions are important because they pertain to culture. Everyone must be encouraged to ask why - and keep asking all the time, believes Gallup. That's how companies align performance with success.
- Intellectual giants like Aristotle, Galileo, and da Vinci’s contributions made even in specialised fields may not have been made in the same way if they hadn’t attacked a problem with a diverse inventory of mental knowledge and understanding. Polymaths see the world differently. They make connections that are otherwise ignored, and they have the advantage of a unique perspective. In a world increasingly dominated by machines, Medium believes that this approach is going to become increasingly valuable.
- Are we becoming increasingly oblivious to others and to the world around us?