Albert Einstein was clear that asking questions is an essential skill. He said: If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
Curiosity and questions. The two are inextricably linked. As any parent knows small children never stop asking questions. Some of them are quite fantastic. I love questions like: “If flies fly the right way up, why do they land upside down?”
As they grow older many children stop asking so many questions. This development passed me by and I always seem to be in the grip of an insatiable curiosity. I can’t help asking endless questions: “Why do they do that?”; “I wonder if that is connected with that?”; “What happens then?” and so on. It encompasses anything and anyone I encounter.
They say curiosity killed the cat, but a lack of curiosity can be equally dangerous. Being curious helps us survive by (among other things) helping us gain knowledge about our environment. It may be why our brains evolved to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when we encounter new things.
Research suggests that curious people are happier. Curiosity is associated with higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being. Curious people also seem to be more empathetic and create stronger relationships too. It’s good to be curious!
Children do curiosity really well but we can also nurture it in ourselves as adults.
How do you develop a healthy curiosity?
- Keep an open mind and be open to new experiences.
- Don’t take things at face value. Try to dig deeper beneath the surface of what is around you.
- Keep asking questions about everything. Listen to and think about the answers. They will probably generate more questions.
- Don’t label something as “boring”. Curious people don’t usually get bored. Instead, they always see it as a door to an exciting new world.
- Read widely. Don’t spend too much time on just one subject area; take a look at a whole range.
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2017 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.
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