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5 Signs You Need to Further Boost Your Curiosity

5 Signs You Need to Further Boost Your Curiosity

Imagine one day having to wake up with powers of absolute knowledge and what you could do with it. You can probably become a very powerful investor due to the knowledge you posses, or get that dream job immediately after acing the first round of interviews. With absolute knowledge, you will be able to help those in need during times of crisis and be looked up upon.

We know that absolute knowledge is impossible; however, high levels of curiosity can still help us get to where we want to be in life. Take a step back today and ask yourself whether you’re where you want to be as planned a year ago. If the answer is no, then maybe it is a sign that you need to be more curious in your life. Here are five signs you need to further boost your curiosity.

1. You don’t have good memory and learning is ineffective

Always forgetting where you put your car keys or to do the things your boss asks you to do? Studies have shown that people with bad memory may be lacking in dopamine, a chemical in the brain that strengthens people’s memories.

A research study done on college students by a neuroscientist from the University of California might shed light on how natural curiosity can improve our memory.

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Using an fMRI scanner, each of the student’s brains were monitored while being asked a bunch of trivia questions. They started with interesting questions that the students were highly curious about, and then a list of questions that were boring. The students were then asked to do memory tests on remembering the answers. In all, the students remembered 35 answers out of 50 when they were curious and 27 out of 50 when they were not.

2. You don’t have good health

A 2005 report published in the Health Psychology journal did a two-year study of more than 1,000 patients and found out that people with higher levels of curiosity also had a lesser likelihood of having hypertension or diabetes. Though it is not definite that it implies causation, its relationship however, suggests that being curious can bring about positive effects on our health.

In 1996, there was also another study to observe more than 1,000 older adults over a five-year period. Those who survived at the end of the five years were found to be more curious than the others who didn’t outlive the period of study. Another surprising finding was that among those who still lived, there were people who were smokers, who had cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

So if you think you’re not in the best of health physically, try regenerating mentally first by keeping an open mind and developing a habit for questioning things. One example could be questioning the mechanisms of everyday items that we come in contact with and how they work.

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3. You have difficulty in developing intimate relationships

Difficulty in developing intimate relationships can also be a sign of poor levels of curiosity as researchers have pointed out that the highly curious experiences more interpersonal outcomes compared to the less curious.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo (UB) carried out an experiment with 90 students at UB, before which, they were first put through a test to measure their levels of curiosity. The students were then put in two conversations settings with their partners: one casual and the other intimate.

Looking at the results, the researchers concluded that individuals with higher curiosity levels are more approachable, and they exhibit more pleasure-seeking behaviors which increases shared feelings of intimacy between strangers. For example, researchers realized that people with high curiosity tend to approach the questions with wit and humor to liven up conversations.

4. You easily feel unhappy

If you’re getting frustrated problems that seem like small issues to others, then it’s probably due to the fact that you are lacking the two important components of achieving happiness in life. Polls conducted by the Gallup organization realized that the two components are “being able to count on others for help” and “learning something yesterday” — all of which leads to how high a person’s curiosity level is.

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Another finding by researchers in Harvard University will surprise you. Researchers stated that we actually find less joy in anticipated events which we think will make us happy in the future because rather than stumbling on it — which will give us more joy — a planned pursuit of joy is less pleasurable. They then went on to add that cultivating curiosity helps us remain open to new experiences, which helps to increase our likelihood for stumbling upon satisfying activities.

5. You desperately want to find the meaning of life

Curiosity is the gateway to many foundations of our lives; hobbies, interests, and passions are all results of our curiosities being piqued. However, lacking curiosity later in our lives will have us desperately looking for new meaning for what we live for.

It could also be said that curiosity itself is a purpose of life and as long as we live, we’re motivated to find the answers to the big questions in life. And as long as you can muster curiosity levels and keep an open mind, the more you will uncover mysteries and hence, life will naturally become more meaningful.

Easy Ways to Cultivate Curiosity

Keep questioning

Look around you and you’ll realize that there are many things which you do not have the answers to. For example, how does one make designs in leather? How does an air conditioning unit work? Do we really know how much sleep we require?

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Keep your mind open

As adults, we have been molded to assume everything based on life experiences. But try the approach of an open mind, and you will be amazed at the many mysteries you will uncover.

Diversify your life experience

Try new things everyday and it doesn’t matter how difficult it is. As adults, we always assume things like learning a new language is hard because of what we listen from other people who have tried it. Brilliant people have diversified backgrounds because of their high levels of curiosity, and you should too.

Featured photo credit: people window via pexels.com

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Lim Kairen

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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