Word-Of-the-Week #673: Curiosity

June 29, 2017 by  

Curiosity – noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting; inquisitiveness.

How curious are you? Do you take time to actually notice your surroundings? How often are you drawn to things you find interesting or question?

This week’s WOW comes from the actions of my forever man and love of my life, Chris. He had taken this picture on the Isle of Islay in Scotland when we there for the Whisky Festival the first part of June. He showed me and said, “Do you know where I took this?” To which I responded, “No.”

And then he proceeded to tell me that he had just taken it on our walk back to our B &B in the town of Bowmore. We had just arrived and were both exploring and enjoying our sweet little village on the water. Then he asked me, “Do you know how I found it? I saw one loose board on the front of the building and slid it to the side and peeked inside. And this is what I found! I wonder how long that stuff has been sitting in that garage. And what’s the story behind it?”

It occurred to me that I had completely missed what he saw and thought how great it was that he had been inquisitive enough to do that. I never thought of him as being curious. And clearly it happens most often when he has a camera in his hand!

And I just wish I would have taken a picture of the old boarded up, nondescript facade. I’m sure most people that pass it on the street never give it a second glance!

Chris is always saying to me, “You are always looking for the oyster with the pearl.” And I would have to agree that’s true. But I think this time he found the pearl. What do you think?

So that spurred me to do some research and I found “The Power of Curiosity. Discover how cultivating an inquiring mind can help you lead a happier, healthier life,” by Todd Kashdan. He writes, “What do you want most in life? For the vast majority of us, the answer is “to be happy.”In a 2007 survey of more than 10,000 people from 48 countries published in Perspectives on Psychological Sciences, happiness was viewed as more important than success, intelligence, knowledge, maturity, wisdom, relationships, wealth and meaning in life.

Happiness is a good thing. Yet, both in my professional research and in my personal experience, I’ve observed that when we focus solely on what we think will make us happy, we can lose track of what actually does.

In 2007 the Princeton economist Alan Krueger, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and their colleagues published a paper called “Are We Having More Fun Yet?”( I REALLY like the title!)They posed this question: Have the social progress, economic prosperity and technological advancements of the past 50 years changed the quality of our lives? Have these new opportunities allowed us to spend more time doing what we care about most, thus increasing our satisfaction and meaning in life?

For most of us, the answer is no. The majority of Americans spend less than 20 percent of each day doing what could be termed very engaging, enjoyable and meaningful activities (such as talking with close friends, bonding with loved ones, creating, playing, or pursuing a spiritual practice). Instead, most of our time and energy are spent either engaged in unsatisfying work activities and chores (commuting, standing in line at the post office, fixing broken appliances), or decompressing in ways that bring neither joy nor challenge (watching TV, snacking or just “doing nothing”).

It doesn’t have to be this way, though — if we’re willing to shake up our pursuit of happiness by introducing some elements of surprise.

One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy and delight.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE the joy & delight of unfamiliar experiences & surprises! This week focus on having more curiosity. What genuinely interests you? What would you like to know more about? How open are you to unfamiliar experiences?

Stay Tuned! Next week the 5 Benefits of an Inquiring Mind.

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