Why curiosity is essential for happiness

“Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life" - Linus Pauling

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.
Photo by Ben White
Photo by Ben White

We often hear that happiness can equal a feeling of love, belonging, a good job, the possibility of travel.

To some extent it certainly does, but happiness is such a wide notion having a plethora of meanings and flavors. It would not be fair to limit its definition.

I reckon that life consists of a complex set of elements adding up to one happy mixture. One of the essential components I discovered in my own life is nurturing my curiosity.

As a child, each of us keeps learning every day, every hour, every minute. New colors, new voices, new sounds, new letters, new everything. Our curiosity is innate, since, I believe, there is hardly any child who wouldn’t be curious. Curiosity itself evokes excitement, and when the curiosity is satisfied, children feel the joy.

As we grow older, many of the experiences stop being new to us and lose their originality. It gets harder to feel strong emotions and make discoveries, especially in current times of a pandemic. As a consequence, we have less and less stimulus for our curiosity, because more things become familiar to us. The curiosity, not being nurtured, gets blunt, and motivation to learn something new drops significantly. Adults learn less, are less curious, and less happy than children.

How to keep learning?

In childhood stimulators for curiosity and excitement were everywhere, like a tall tree to climb, a creaking door to open, a colorful book to read. But what to do when the tree doesn’t seem that tall anymore, a door is not that enigmatic, and our eyes are just too sore and tired after 8 hours of work in front of the screen?

As an adult, we must face the reality and take responsibility for our happiness. The mere awareness that without our engagement, our curiosity will be fading with time, is the first step on the way towards a more curious and happier life. We need to create circumstances favorable for our curiosity. We need to wake ourselves up and make an effort. That’s the beauty of adulthood – all is in our own hands!

Do something you have never done before as often as possible.

Drink a new type of coffee, take another way to work or a grocery shop, talk to a stranger (but don’t forget about a mask!). These are all stimulators for our curiosity. As we engage in the new experience, we change the setting, change the mood, change what we feel, and we ultimately change our lives.

Such small steps may have a spillover effect and lead to greater discoveries and expand your curiosity. A feeling of satisfaction with your new coffee might spark your creativity and bring a new book to your attention, which you didn’t notice before. The new path to a grocery shop may have such an amazing flourishing tree that it would inspire you to take a gardening class. Talking to a stranger may open up your mind to new acquaintances and motivate you to join a local club.

You may be surprised at how every new experience will open up yet undiscovered side of yourself and evoke excitement translating to happiness.

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.