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Curiosity is Good for You!

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

gloria remembers joining a group shortly after moving to Atlanta as a single mom with a 3 and 6-year-old. She was a wreck - nervous, unsure, and with little self-confidence. One of the first eureka came from the therapist’s observation. “You seem to see everyone as better or less than you.” gloria never even noticed. “Have you ever thought about being curious rather than judgmental?” That revelation has lasted a lifetime!

Somehow a quote from Will Rogers popped into my mind, “I don’t think I like that man. I must get to know him better.” How easy it is to judge and project without really knowing someone. Another quote we love is: “I like my tailor best. Every time he meets me, he takes my measurements anew.” Now, if we could only get the family to do that….

Curiosity is a sign of intelligence. "Curiosity opens worlds inside you!" says Lucinda Star Researchers claim that “a hungry mind” is a key predictor of academic achievement and correlates to greater life satisfaction, positive emotions, hope, and purpose in life and encourages more self-compassion. One study showed that “If you are open to exploring and appreciating new experiences, you may be more kind and accepting of yourself—and the unpredictable nature of life.”

Broader research with adults also suggested “that curious people tend to be more tolerant of anxiety, humorous and playful, emotionally expressive, and non-defensive and non-critical. Curiosity appears to be a force within us that not only enhances learning but opens us up to more positive perspectives and experiences.” Are you sold on the attributes of curiosity yet?

Researcher Todd Kashdan found evidence for five specific dimensions of curiosity:

  1. “Joyous Exploration” Curiosity: filled with wonder and fascinated by the world-like adventure even in the mundane.

  2. “Accepting the Anxiety” Curiosity: You move past the discomfort of newness to try a new hobby or dance step (stress tolerance).

  3. “Thrill Seeking” Curiosity: take a risk or seek novelty because you enjoy new and exciting experiences. You don’t just tolerate the anxiety; it revitalizes you.

  4. “Need to Know” Curiosity: feel uncomfortable with not knowing; often prone to want to fix it (even if it’s not broken).

  5. “Social” Curiosity: genuinely curious about the other person, deeply listen, want??? to really get them.

How can you turn your curiosity on or up? First, become aware of enjoying curiosity. It’s got a buzz to it. The next time the restaurant is closed or the movie isn’t showing, make lemonade and find another alternative rather than getting bummed out.

Relationships are a great place to get curious. It’s fun to “interview” even the people you think you know. We love hearing questions that we haven’t answered before. Who likes “taped” or rote conversations? The next time you go to dinner with a regular, go for being really inquisitive about your company. It can be delightful for both parties.

And moreover, don’t forget your children and grandchildren. They will awe you with their insights and candor. gloria asked her granddaughter what it was like to be 10. “It’s great to be 10, Nannie.” In asking what was great about it, she got a glimpse into her exciting 10-year-old world.

And don’t you love it when someone gives you their full attention and wants to see and hear and know you? What a turn on. There’s always more to be discovered…. Just keep looking – with your eyes and heart wide open.

gloria wright Phd article repurposed by Lucinda Shore

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