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5 Benefits of Curiosity

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4. Happiness
The Gallup organization recently reported the results of a survey conducted with more than 130,000 people from some 130 nations, a sample designed to represent 96 percent of the world’s population. The poll identified two factors that had the strongest influence on how much enjoyment a person experienced in a given day: “being able to count on someone for help” and “learned something yesterday.”

What this poll confirms is that developing good relationships with other people (see above) and growing as a person are foundational components of a “happy” life. Both factors are supported by curiosity.

In fact, in one of the largest undertakings in the field of psychology, two pioneers in the field of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, PhD, and Chris Peterson, PhD, devised a scientific classification of the basic human strengths. This system was the end result of reading the works of ancient philosophers, religious texts and contemporary literature, then identifying patterns, and finally subjecting these ideas to rigorous scientific tests. Their research eventually recognized 24 basic strengths. And, of those 24 strengths that human beings can possess, curiosity was one of the five most highly associated with overall life fulfillment and happiness.

There are other important relationships between curiosity and happiness. In his book Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, 2006), Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, PhD, shows that, while we think we know what will make us happy in the future, we are actually less likely to find joy as a result of a planned pursuit than by simply stumbling upon it. It follows that by cultivating curiosity and remaining open to new experiences, we increase our likelihood of encountering those surprising and satisfying activities.

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

80 comments

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8:46AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

thanx

12:04PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Without curiosity we are dead.

5:11PM PDT on May 30, 2011

Whenever I hear "Curiosity killed the cat" I say "But satisfaction brought him back!"

2:49AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

Great article! I've always hated that saying "Curiosity killed the cat". I think we should say "Curiosity made the cat smarter!" =)

8:33PM PDT on Jun 10, 2010

=) cute title too

10:57AM PDT on May 19, 2010

I guess I'm not that curious most of the time...

2:04PM PDT on May 10, 2010

I love to learn about new people & places, so I'm always curious. However, I could care less what other people own or what's in their house, etc. There's a difference in curiousity & nosiness. I embrace other people's curiousity when it is not done in a cruel way. How else does anybody learn?

9:36PM PDT on May 9, 2010

nice ... thanx

6:08AM PDT on May 6, 2010

I totally agree with you. Curiosity is another for of looking for information. This is a very good exercise for you brain and memory.

Here is a list of 20 ways to quickly improve your memory:

20 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Memory

7:45AM PDT on May 5, 2010

I thought curiosity killed the cat. It is good to be curious but not overdo it because it may cuase jitters on others who may feel uncomfortable with your investigative mind.

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