One of the reasons I was drawn to writing is that it requires me to learn new stuff. To write well you’ve got to read and talk to people and research and try new things and contemplate and ponder and question — and these are a few of my favorite things. I am curious. There I things I want to know.
And curiosity is something I also want to ignite in Sweet P because when we are curious we are engaged and participating in this world and we feel better.
Curiosity allows us to find meaning in our lives, it inspires passion, play, and exploration. It also impacts memory and intrinsic motivation. It gets us going; pushes us beyond our comfort zone to grow and achieve.
And, it makes it easier to learn. A recent study published in the journal Neuron describes what happens to our brains when we are curious. One of the obvious findings was that when people are curious, they are more likely to learn the information they need to satiate that curiosity. But that isn’t all; they are also better able to learn overall, even things they weren’t curious about. And, they are better able to retain that information. Learning all kinds of things is easier when we are curious about something. Anything.
Curiosity also piques the brain’s reward center, according to researchers, releasing dopamine and make us feel good, and increases activity in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that forms new memories. So what we learn sticks.
And, here’s the thing, we can learn to be more curious. While some degree of curiosity is innate – think of young children who come loaded with questions – it is also a cultivated skill that can be practiced and strengthened to aid us in our daily lives.
In the next post, I’ll offer up some surprising ways to cultivate your curiosity.
Want to know more? Well, then, you’re already on your way to strengthening this quality.