Sometimes life feels like an endless cycle of doing the same activities and having the same conversations with the same people every day. When people across 150 countries were asked to rate their overall happiness, from 1 to 10 (1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being extremely happy), the global average was only 5.48. Australia’s national overall life satisfaction has been consistently declining over the years, and a British study reported that 69 percent of people feel trapped in the same old routine. This often happens because people are missing two key ingredients that psychologists agree are necessary for a meaningful and fulfilling life.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is they stop actively seeking knowledge. Adults become complacent in what they already know because they have ‘finished school’. When you stop actively learning, your life heads into a downward spiral of dissatisfaction and unfulfillment. Well-renowned psychologists agree that curiosity is imperative to success, and some of the most successful people throughout history have attributed their success to their high level of curiosity.
Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious”.
Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, and self-development author, stated, “Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.”
Todd Kashdan, a clinical psychologist, professor, well-being researcher, and author, calls curiosity “the central ingredient to creating a fulfilling life”.
How to Cultivate Curiosity
Continue to learn and pursue new ideas:
- Read books, blogs and articles.
- Watch documentaries
- Listen to podcasts
- Learn a new word every day to expand your vocabulary
- Learn a new language
- Have curious conversations with people – Talk to strangers; talk to someone at your workplace or in your class that you don’t usually have a conversation with. Learn something new about the people in your life by genuinely showing an interest in them. Listen to their stories and ask about their life experiences.
- Engage in intellectually stimulating conversations – Talk to someone who is an expert in a particular field; doctor, lawyer, professor, journalist, priest/pastor, therapist, businessman, writer, artist, etc. Talk to people who have different beliefs to you, someone to challenge your views and opinions; someone with a different perspective on life. Have an in-depth conversation with someone much younger or much older than you; remember that everyone you encounter in life can teach you something new.
Just be curious. Curiosity fuels creativity; which leads us to our next ingredient.
You need to create. Everything you enjoy in life is the fruit of someone’s creativity. From the music you listen to and the movies you watch to the bed you sleep in and the shoes you wear. They were all created by a curious mind. Every famous person you know is famous because they tapped into their creative genius and shared it with the world. You consume so much of other people’s creations, but how often do you create?
Believe it or not, everyone has a creative genius inside of them. That is fantastic because creative pursuits have been scientifically proven to boost your immune system and improve overall mental and physical health. Unfortunately, our creativity tends to diminish with age because we conform to the rules and regulations of ‘adulthood’ as we grow up. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can nurture your creativity and allow it to blossom by merely creating.
Creative Geniuses All Around Us
My dad is a mechanic but if you give him just about anything, he’ll fix it or turn it into a tool with a whole new function. You’ll be surprised at the creative solutions he can come up with. I always tell him, that is his creative genius. I love writing; whether it’s legal problem-solving essays, journaling, or super long birthday messages on Facebook (you’d know if you’ve seen my Facebook posts- #SorryNotSorry).
You may enjoy braiding hair, doing your friends’ makeup, or decorating venues for events. Perhaps you are musically gifted, or athletically skilled. If you’re not sure what your creative genius is, just try something new:
- Learn to play an instrument
- Take some dance and/or drama classes
- Write a poem or a short story
- Pretend to be a photographer for a day
- Sew a dress (or turn an old dress into something new)
Just do something; anything that plays to your strengths and allows you to be creative. If you listen to Liberian music, then you’re probably familiar with the song, ‘Da My Area’ by Junior Freeman and African Soldier. Find your “area” and take time to indulge in that activity. Instead of just reaping the fruits of someone else’s creative labour, you too can enrich your community with the fruits of your own creativity today. Explore your creativity and unleash your creative genius.