A dear friend recently invited me to a video chat from a park near her home. She was out walking with her husband and one-year-old daughter. In the middle of our conversation, she turned the camera to show her baby playing on the ground. The little one was picking up stones gleefully, looking at them in wonder, and asking her parents questions in childish babble, about her discovery. She lay there for quite a bit, oblivious to the world around her, staring at stones and debris, hoping to understand what those tiny things do.
What was at display was unfettered, unencumbered curiosity, one that is often, and mostly, displayed by a child whose mind has not been bludgeoned into following social conventions.
The disappearance of curiosity as we grow older
When was the last time we were so curious that we overcame barriers to quench it? When did the urge to satisfy our curiosity lead us away from the mundane into the world of wondrous mysteries?
If you are anything like me, the answer would be it has been quite some time. On paper, our schools and companies are supposed to be spaces that fan our curiosity. Unfortunately, many often subscribe to a popular saying which labels curiosity as a negative trait – one that killed the proverbial cat! Our constant barrage of questions is entertained only for a while before the listener starts fuming. We want answers but are surrounded by those who never got answers to their own queries. How can they be expected to promulgate curiosity?
This is why, as we step into the professional world, we content ourselves with the knowledge of our verticals, rarely trying to comprehend the workings of other compartments. Maybe that’s the reason why, we as a society, obsess over innovators. They are a rare breed that survived society’s relentless attacks on curiosity. They used the trait to learn, explore and create, and refused to be another brick in the wall.
So why is curiosity so important?
Curiosity is the strong desire to learn or know something. The answers curious minds seek may not be ‘needed’ but enhance their overall knowledge. It doesn’t end there; curiosity helps us learn more about ourselves. It helps us build stronger, more sustainable relationships, be more creative, keeps us alive much longer!
At School of Meaningful Experiences, curiosity takes on a different hue. It is more than the urge to learn something; it is the passion to unmask the truth and free it from the clutches of ignorance. It is a way of life – one that is filled with knowledge – egging us to ideate and create. It encourages us to leave the world a better place than the one we inherited.
It also encourages empathy. Curiosity helps us see through judgement, forcing us to understand others’ words and actions. More importantly, it helps us become less self-critical and empathetic towards ourselves by comprehending our behaviours’ rationale.
The benefits of curiosity:
- Curiosity improves vitality: It gives meaning to life, forces us to create and innovate. Curiosity provides much-needed fodder to our mind, keeping it active and healthy.
- Curiosity makes us less anxious: Studies have shown that those with higher levels of curiosity – conceptualised as a positive emotional motivational system – have a healthier mindset as they are continually seeking answers to the myriad questions in their mind, leading to a more robust psychological framework.
- Curiosity improves learning: Curiosity encourages students to ask more questions, and implement the knowledge into the lessons, thereby enhancing their classroom experience.
- Curiosity helps us become more fearless: It motivates us to understand the reasons behind our fears, and actively seeks ways to overcome them, creating solutions to life’s problems.
SoME Curiosity project:
Books, podcasts, movies, documentaries are the simplest and easiest ways to fan and quench our curiosities. Not only do they answer the many, varied questions we have about space, history, philosophy, and science, among others, but they also make us curious about other subjects. At School of Meaningful Experiences, we are thrilled to turn to these media forms for our brand new project, the SoME Curiosity Project.
We ask our wonderful guides who conduct all our classes and come from various backgrounds, including the Indian Army, IT, Journalism, and Psychology, to write about their favourite books, movies, podcasts, and documentaries, among others. They will articulate how these media have shaped their lives, fanned their curiosity and left an indelible mark on their lives.
These deeply insightful blogs and PPTs will be available on our website for you to download. We hope that these books influence you to be fearless and innovative in the way you approach life.
– Gayatri Nair