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“Curiosity is one of the great secrets of happiness.” ~ Bryant McGill
There’s a world of advice out there pointing to this or that leading to happiness. Promises to the road that leads to the “holy grail” of life. The secret to living our best lives.
There are books, posts, tweets, videos. There are morning routines. Bedtime routines. Get up before the sun. Have cold showers. Do this and do that. And yes these things maybe of benefit, but they won’t necessarily make you happy. Fulfil you. Help you to grow. Lead you to heal.
You see, you can do all these things and be miserable. Being structured is not necessarily conducive to happiness. You can feel bitter. Jealous. Greedy. Closed-minded.
I’ve found people who structure themselves to within an inch of their lives and follow the trends of what will make you happy and successful are often the most unhappy.
So what do I believe is our greatest asset to a happier and more fulfilled life? Curiosity. Let’s take a look at why:
>> To be curious is to be open to learn. Look at the curiosity of our children; they are wide-eyed, taking everything in. They soak in what’s around them with a keen interest to understand and immerse themselves in new skills. Every day is a new adventure. They are often far more in tune with their surrounding energy.
>> A curious person is a person who understands they will never be an expert. They may specialise and be a leader in their field, but there’s always more to learn. They are always willing to see a new perspective. A new skill. A new idea. A non-curious person who believes their opinions, ideas, perspectives are right are dangerous because their closed-mindedness places them in an arrogant and ignorant space.
>> To be curious is to be self-aware. You want to know more about what makes you tick. What triggers you. Why you react the way you do. This curiosity in yourself will lead you to ways to improve. A curious person knows there is always room to improve and grow.
>> A curious person can look at another from a non-judgmental space. Wanting to understand why people behave the way they do will enable an empathy and compassion to seek the bigger picture. To realise that the way we perceive someone or a situation is not always accurate or the truth. The curiosity is to seek the truth, not just your own truth but another’s truth.
>> To be curious is to be able to actively listen to another. You sit in silence and listen. Without interjecting. Without trying to offer your opinion. Without automatically pre-judging. Without believing what you have to say is more important. Because you want to hear their story. You want to understand what’s happening for them. You want to learn from the experience.
>> A curious person enjoys differing opinions. They know that their opinion is simply theirs and everyone is entitled to an opinion. They don’t get defensive because they know ego is their insecurities at play. They understand that there is an ability to grow from considering other opinions. To learn why someone has the idea they have and they also realise that robust discussion done in a respectful way can foster better ideas and new perspectives.
>> To be curious is to be excited. Excited for new adventures. Excited for new challenges. Excited about life. Elevating your energy to excited and curious opens you up, like a flower welcoming in the morning sun.
>> A curious person understands that people struggle. And they have a keenness to support and an appreciation that we are all on a different journey. An awareness that each of our lives can change at anytime, so there’s a need to deeply understand another’s struggles and battles, without belittling. Without comparing.
>> Being curious is never assuming. It’s deeply ingrained in the desire to really understand. It’s garnering all the information but still knowing that it’s someone’s story from their viewpoint. And each person’s story will simply be their version. It’s the knowledge that assumptions and judgements are dangerous and there’s nothing curious or insightful about judging another person.
>> The curious person has a thirst to see the world through different eyes. They don’t rely on the past ways or the current trends. They are discerning with where they seek information and trust their ability to weed out the nonsense. They prefer to learn from daily interactions with people and source proven data. But most importantly, it’s actively listening, the ability to see through a lens with no preconceived ideas, and an openness to soak up everything.
As we grow into adults, we tend to lose our innate curiosity. In many ways, we are conditioned on how we should behave. What’s deemed as successful. How to hide our emotions. A timeline of sorts as to when we should marry and have kids. What’s supposed to make us happy. We learn that pleasing others is more important than our own needs and self-care. What’s seen as socially acceptable.
We learn to listen to respond rather than listen to hear. We are quick to minimise another’s concerns because we don’t want to be uncomfortable and we are taught that people who speak about worries or painful experiences are negative. We place ourselves in glass houses and sit in judgement because we think we are better, when the truth is we are simply scared and triggered and have lost all ability to self-reflect.
There’s no reason that we as adults cannot rediscover our inner child. Heal them. Love them and remember the pure joy of being excited and curious about everyone. About everything. About life. A world where people wanted to know so they could learn and understand rather than gossip and belittle so they feel better about themselves.
Imagine a world where there was no hate. No nastiness. No manipulation. No greed. No bullying. No bullsh*t. And no spite. But rather a world where like children we are inquisitive, curious, and excited to learn without any conditioning. A world where happiness was bubbling within rather than scrambling around chasing something, anything to bring us joy.
A world of curiosity leads to a world of happiness. We could all take some lessons from the little kids who simply feel the joy.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but that innate human curiosity will bring us a happiness steeped in awareness, compassion, understanding, growth, and the ability to be captivated by the world around us.