Curiosity: A Path to Fulfilment and Well-Being

Curiosity: A Path to Fulfilment and Well-Being


Curiosity is not a rare quality confined to a select few. It's both a behavior and a mindset that serves as a gateway to a more creative life. Being curious is not just a personality trait that helps us acquire new knowledge; it's a mindset that encourages us to ask questions, seek fresh experiences, and challenge our assumptions. While curiosity is often seen as a characteristic fostering personal growth, it's also a key factor in enhancing our well-being. Contemporary research unequivocally demonstrates that embracing curiosity enables us to cultivate more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

How Our Curiosity Starts?

Let's start at the very beginning. Think back to your early childhood days when you delighted in playing with an array of objects. You were surrounded by your favorite toys—LEGOs, Play-Doh, puzzles, or whatever your heart desired, or perhaps whatever your parents provided. If we take a moment to reflect, we might describe this phase as the epitome of playtime—a time for enjoyment, exploration, and the unrestrained pursuit of curiosity through play. Even as adults, when we observe young children engrossed in assembling a jigsaw puzzle, we still label it as play. However, try to view it from a child's perspective for a moment. For a child, it's more than mere play; it's about solving a puzzle, creating the final image, and, most importantly, embarking on a curious journey of exploration.

The young mind is inquisitive, constantly pondering: "What else can I try to piece together this puzzle? Which piece fits here? How can I alter this image by rearranging the puzzle pieces?" This relentless quest for answers reflects the curious behavior that keeps us hungry for knowledge. The more unique and novel information we absorb, the more we can think divergently and generate fresh, creative ideas. Humans are inherently wired to be curious, and as we age, it's essential to keep our inner child alive, fuelling our desire to solve problems and tackle complex challenges. Whether it's in business, daily life, or any other domain, curiosity is a powerful tool that can help us make creativity a daily habit.

The Power of Curiosity in Improving Well-Being

Our well-being is often associated with feelings of happiness and positive emotions, such as joy. Most of us perceive a well-lived life as one devoid of stress, anxiety, and frustration. You might be wondering where this is all leading. Certainly, we associate a good life with happiness and positivity, but what exactly do we mean by happiness?

Our lives are a composite of numerous events, each labeled in its own way—good or bad, happy or sad. We often tie our happiness to the occurrence of specific events: "I will be happy once I can purchase that beautiful house across the street" or "I will be happy when I land my dream job." In creating these associations between events and happiness, we often neglect to consider what happens after the event takes place. For instance, if I manage to buy the house of my dreams, how long will my happiness last? Is it a lasting emotion that will endure for years of living in that house?

Contemporary scientific research indicates that happiness linked to such events is typically short-lived. As Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor and renowned author, notes in his book "Curious?," the positive experience is over as soon as we label it, filing it away in our library of prior knowledge. Kashdan further explains that transforming these fleeting emotions into long-term memories is the key to sustaining positive improvements in our well-being. And how do we achieve these enduring positive emotions? The answer lies in curiosity.

Curiosity activates regions of our brains responsible for seeking new knowledge, acquiring fresh skills, and broadening our experiences. The more we engage in this process of continuous growth and self-evolution, the more positive emotions we can incorporate into our lives. Well-being is not solely about happiness; it's about seeking contentment, fulfillment, and purpose in our activities, tasks, and projects. This sustained engagement in positive emotions fosters the creation of enduring memories in our minds, becoming a consistent source of positivity that sustains our well-being. Of course, challenges, frustrations, and stress are inevitable when pursuing meaningful work, but the likelihood of overall well-being and long-term happiness far outweighs the quest for a stress-free existence. Quoting Todd Kashdan once more from his book "Curious?": "If you search for a tensionless life, you will find little satisfaction. Coping with negative experiences and maintaining psychological flexibility often serve as springboards to peak experiences and personal growth.”

Our aspiration for a well-lived life should revolve around diverse and purposeful experiences that challenge us to grow and perpetually evolve. This constant self-improvement is driven by feelings of fulfillment and happiness derived from actively creating something meaningful rather than simply experiencing it as an outcome of a particular event. All of this can be made possible by introducing and revitalizing your inner curious child in your everyday life. Begin to view daily challenges and problems through a child's eyes. Ask numerous questions without fear of judgment, whether from others or yourself. Cultivate a hunger for diversifying your skillset and knowledge. The more diverse information you absorb, the more likely you are to generate novel ideas and apply your creativity.

Stay curious in your daily life. Maintain an open mindset towards growth and positivity. Seek meaningful problems and challenges to engage with and find solutions for. It's about approaching the world with an open mind and a sense of wonder. By nurturing your curiosity, you can ensure a creative and more fulfilling life, thereby enhancing and sustaining your overall well-being.