Think of some of the most curious people in your life. Is it your children, students, colleagues? No matter who it is, it is often an admirable trait to have. The ability to take the same world as everyone else and make it exciting through wonder is not always straightforward.
As we will come to find, curiosity can improve three critical areas of our lives.
2. Emotional and Physical Well-Being
3. Leadership and Ability to Learn
Surely the last of these three is the most applicable to the classroom, but the other two should not go overlooked. These matters allow a developed curiosity to follow students and push them even when their formal education is over.
In a survey of 3,000 workers in Germany, China, and the US–participants were asked about the benefits of curiosity. 84% of them reported that it helped them 'catalyze fresh ideas in the work environment.' Thus allowing companies and individuals to develop ways to propel into the future by setting the foundation of progress. 74% said it helps inspires vital and unique talents. And finally, 63% saw it as a gateway to promotion (Survey Monkey).
Leadership and Learning Ability
On another survey, there was a considerable discrepancy between how C-Suite leadership and regular employees viewed the role of curiosity. About half of the leaders said it is ‘encouraged’ and seen as a way to earn more money. However, only a quarter of individual participants saw it in this way. This discrepancy points to the possibility that curiosity is a skill of leaders both within the workplace and classroom–a skill that not everyone has or sees as valuable.
Here are some benefits of curiosity for leadership and learning ability:
1. Fewer Decision-Making Errors (1)
When we open ourselves to new perspectives and accept fear, we clear ourselves and better our decision-making skills as we balance both the emotional and logical components of everything in play while discovering the many possibilities.
2. More Positive Change (1)
Curiosity forces us to explore the options at our disposal. When we accept room for it, this inevitably pushes us into innovative ideas that bring change and progression.
3. Reduced Group Conflict (1)
Reduced conflict rings true for two reasons. First, a curious leader is more apt to hear his teammates' ideas, allowing them to feel heard and encouraging participation. It provides for open minds that don’t cling to a single view.
4. Prepares the Brain for Learning (1)
Learning gives our brains benefits when we are learning. It takes the mind out of a passive state, activates it, and pushes us towards additional information.
5. Makes Learning More Rewarding (1)
When we reach that active state, the brain is looking to reward new information with chemical responses; dopamine release being one of them. With this comes a natural force of encouragement.
6. Makes Us Ask A Lot of Questions (6)
This benefit becomes an obvious benefit for students. But even for leaders, this can be an essential tool to communicate, clarify, and innovate in times of change. As we have seen, this is one of the many ways curiosity helps us align ourselves with the dynamic need of this rapidly changing world.
7. Willing to be Wrong (6)
The willingness to be wrong and humility it takes allows for us to make forward progress. The anchor of pride has destroyed many individuals and corporations alike, and rigid traditions are having a harder time keeping up.
8. Not Afraid to Not Know (6)
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. No one has all the answers, and thinking so can be catastrophic both personally and professionally.
9. Cultivates Creative Thinking (7)
Creative thinking can be the differentiation that makes new leaders that develop ideas never before seen.
It’s time for us to take the next step for developing our future generations. We must refine the ability to lead in life and heart. It’s what we need and how we will grow from the obstacles that face us.
Curiosity and Socialization
The benefits extend beyond the ability to lead and learn. It allows us to cultivate better relationships and social skills. As we become more curious, socialization becomes rewarding and more natural to us.
Here are some social benefits of curiosity:
1. Makes Us Less Aggressive (3)
The ability to search for new ideas adds to our tolerance and acceptance of diversity. This tolerance helps us become less aggressive in conversation and debate, both of which are fundamental in successful teamwork and relationships.
2. Helps Cope With Rejection (4)
As we open ourselves to the infinite possibilities, we see that rejection isn’t as tragic as some make it out to be. There are other people, just as there are just as many possibilities to why things went sour.
3. Listen Without Judgement (6)(7)
Perhaps the most critical aspect of social improvements is this ability. It becomes a crucial tool to make progression in all facets of our lives as it is the bedrock of personal, professional, and intellectual growth.
4. Simply Enjoy Socializing More (8)(5)
Above all else, curiosity helps us enjoy the act of socializing more. Related to the fact it impacts our personality, it increases; open-mindedness, extraversion, agreeableness, and interpersonal competency.
Benefits of Happiness and Well-Being
Our happiness and health are a priority in our lives. However, we aren’t always proactive in our daily routines to show this. By increasing the curiosity ourselves, we lead with healthier mindsets to improve both our physical and emotional health.
Here are some well-being benefits:
1. Increased Adaptation (7)
When we are curious, we become open to the many consistencies of our lives. We then apply ourselves in seemingly foreign environments and find success quicker than otherwise–reducing stress and risk.
2. Seek Surprise and the Creation of Excitement (1)(6)
When we step beyond the fear of the unknown, we become, there is an exciting endeavor for us all as we discover the many surprises that life holds for us.
3. Improved Wellness and Emotionality(5)(2)
Let’s think of it–if we are curious, we are more apt to seek answers, right? It pushes us to solve both medical and psychological problems that affect us. Negative emotions like loneliness become less frequent, and we find our medical issues sooner.
4. Increases Ability to Stay in the Present Moment(6)
Last, curiosity reels us in from the haunting past and unforeseen future. When used in the right moments, it can push us into action that puts our best foot forward into the present moment.
The extents of benefits reach both far and wide. The more we work with our natural curiosities, the more we can find how it can improve our lives. It should not only be a goal to cultivate interest but a priority. If we do that, health and happiness can grow on a large scale of society and our country.
Community Engagement Question
Storytime! How does curiosity help you live and grow? Let’s hear your stories and inspirational wisdom in the comments below!
I would also like to thank the journals and websites that helped me create this extended list of benefits!
(1) Harvard Business Review–Why Curiosity Matters
(2) Berkeley–Six Surprising Benefits of Curiosity
(3) Kashdan TB, DeWall CN, Pond RS, et al. curiosity protects against interpersonal aggression: cross-sectional, daily process, and behavioral evidence. J Pers. 2013; 81(1):87-102. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00783. x
(4) Kawamoto, T., Ura, M., & Hiraki, K. (2017). Curious people are less affected by social rejection. Personality and Individual Differences, 105, 264-267. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.10.006
(5) Kashdan, T. B., Stiksma, M. C., Disabato, D. J., Mcknight, P. E., Bekier, J., Kaji, J., & Lazarus, R. (2018). The five-dimensional curiosity scale: Capturing the bandwidth of curiosity and identifying four unique subgroups of curious people. Journal of Research in Personality, 73, 130-149. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2017.11.011
(6) Fast Company–8 Habits of Curious People
(8) Kashdan, T. B., & Roberts, J. E. (2006). Affective outcomes in superficial and intimate interactions: Roles of social anxiety and curiosity. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(2), 140-167. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2004.10.005