See this box? What do you suppose is in it? It could be anything. It could contain a bar of gold big enough to set you up for life. Or it could be exactly what talk show host Geraldo Rivera found in Al Capone’s vault: nothing. You don’t know. Would you like to know what’s in there? I’ll tell you in a minute.
Maybe you’re crazy to find out (stop watching, that graphic isn’t really a live video). More likely, you don’t really care. But you’re curious, aren’t you, even if only slightly?
And that not-knowing, that feeling of wanting to know but that you could find out with a little effort, is called curiosity. And that feeling is powerful, more so than we usually give it credit for. Think about it.
Your curiosity has the power to drive you to
- Pursue new knowledge or skills
- Develop new habits or break old ones
- Lead you to new, creative solutions to perplexing problems
And that’s only the beginning. Curiosity is the driving force behind the greatest minds and innovators the human race has ever seen, including people like Elon Musk, Walt Disney, even Albert Einstein. In fact, Eisntein once attributed all of his success to it, declaring “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
It’s a good buzz
Curiosity can do all this because it feels good! We’re wired to love novelty and challenge. Novelty is how our fake “live video” graphic got you to read this–a small thing, to be sure, but it’s enough to start something. When we find that the pursuit of novelty leads us to a challenge, that can be so exciting as to become addictive. Why else do you think some people become addicted to video games? Or mountain climbing?
Some have compared curiosity to an itch in the brain–one we scratch by finding the answers to our questions. It’s the reason clickbait continues to exist, no matter how media saavy society becomes, because curiosity is just that compelling.
Our hope here, today, is to make you aware of your curiosity–to get curious about it, if you will. Pay attention to it. Notice how it feels to be curious. Investigate what it is that piques your curiosity and ask why.
Mindfulness is a skill, one that might require some practice to develop, but it’s well worth it. If you want to improve your life in ways the seem difficult or perplexing, mindfulness and curiosity are likely going to be the keys to your success.
Some places to start are exercise, meditation, and regular therapeutic massage. Taken together, these good habits are the killer apps of mindfulness, establishing a stronger mind-body connection and empowering you to make whatever change in your life you would like to make.
Armed with this awareness, you can begin to understand how powerful your curiosity really is and how it might be harnessed to help you improve your life.
You can even begin to see how you can use curiosity the curiosity of others in leadership, communication, and education. But that’s a discussion for another time.
So, what’s in the box? You’ve just discovered it.
Tom Gunn is the marketing director and blog editor for The Good Life Massage. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org