Do you remember the days of your childhood when every little thing seemed magical? A butterfly flitting by, the flowers that grew in your backyard, or learning that mixing red and blue would make purple. Beneath those subtle moments of awe was an inherent curiosity, an unquenchable thirst to know the “why” and “how” of everything. Sadly, as we grow older, we often lose this sense of wonder in the face of routine, responsibilities, and the various demands of life. How could we not? Just getting kids out the door on time, along with yourself, in the morning is enough to send your brain into solution-oriented, overdrive mode!
Rediscovering this childlike curiosity is possible, and it can significantly shift and enrich your daily experience. Even those harried morning routines can become experiments in wonder.
Curiosity starts with asking questions, but the magic really happens in the next step, eagerly seeking out the answers and being open to any and all possibilities. It’s a mindset that embraces learning not as a chore but as a continuous, enjoyable process. Imagine a world where everyone maintained their childhood curiosity. We would constantly be learning, growing, and discovering new things about our world and ourselves. This is not just a fanciful idea—it’s a practical approach to life that can lead to personal and professional growth.
I recently took my youngest daughter to an ice-skating party with her entire school, and while it was totally hectic in the best way, I was happily surprised with where my mind went. I was absolutely in awe of how fearless all these kids were. Many of them didn’t know how to skate, but they tried anyway, they played tag on the ice, they pushed each other around in little carts—they were free. There were no “what ifs.” They weren’t afraid of falling or looking silly or anything like that they were just present and open to the experience. I looked around with a huge smile on my face because I couldn’t help but want to live in that existence. The good news is: we can by staying curious.
Numerous psychological studies have examined the power of curiosity, including its impact on learning, brain function, emotional well-being, and even our relationships. Here are a few of my favorite studies and their amazing takeaways:
Curiosity makes us better learners!
Curiosity enhances learning. When people are curious about a particular topic, they remember information about it better. This explains why we excel in subjects that interest us more than those that don’t, even if our study habits are the same.
It boosts our happiness!
Research has shown that curiosity activates the brain’s reward system. The neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with motivation and pleasure, plays a significant role in this process. This activation is similar to what happens when we experience something pleasurable, explaining why curiosity can be so engaging and satisfying. If you’re feeling bogged down by mundane tasks, find something to be curious about and learn about it. For example, you know those barcodes on everything you buy? They were invented in 1952 and are based on Morse code! These little curiosities may not launch you into the stratosphere of joy, but they’ll certainly add sparkle to your day.
Knowing these kinds of things can make us feel more tapped into our world and, in turn, make us feel part of something bigger. It can be the motivation we need to do more in the world.
It deepens and sustains our relationships!
Being curious about others can lead to deeper and more meaningful connections across your entire life. People who displayed curiosity during conversations were viewed as more interesting and engaging by their conversation partners. Conversations are a constant part of daily life, and if you can bring an element of curiosity to each interaction, you’ll not only be opening yourself up to new experiences of connection, but you’ll also be creating deeper intimacy with the most important people in your life.
It also keeps us healthy and vibrant!
There’s also emerging evidence suggesting that staying curious might be linked to a longer and healthier life. Curiosity is correlated with longevity, possibly because curious individuals engage more in behaviors that contribute to physical and mental health. When we nurture curiosity, the world becomes an endless playground of possibility. For example, consistently experiencing new things—even if it’s just a dish you’ve never tried!—is linked to a lower risk of dementia, better sleep, and greater mental health for starters…
Imagine if we all viewed the world with the same curiosity we had as children. Just like my daughter and her classmates living fully out on the ice-skating rink. Every day would be a new adventure filled with learning and discovery. Problems would be puzzles waiting to be solved. Every person we meet would be a potential best friend, carrying with them a world of experiences to explore. Try to view the world not just for what it is but for what it could be. In doing so, we could rediscover the magic in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary. You can start right now by asking yourself: “What is possible for me right now? What is magical about this exact moment?”
Let the answers inspire and enchant you…