An article in the Curious Elder newsletter caught my eye. In the article, We Now Have Space for Creativity, a fellow writer said, “Curiosity was the nuts and bolts of life when we were children. It was the fuel for learning and growing.” Really?????
Not in my family! As a child – questions were not allowed. The house rules were
be seen and not heard
don’t ask questions or talk back
do as you are told
Those three rules squashed most attempts to develop an inquiring mind. I wish my parents had read the newsletter. They didn’t know the mind is like a muscle becoming stronger through continual exercise, or curiosity can make a person’s mind stronger.
Researchers are finding that curiosity is a fundamental part of human motivation, supporting a variety of intellectual behaviors ranging from early learning in children to scientific discovery. However, little attention was placed on its role in aging populations.
Although curiosity declines with age, they propose it plays a vital role in maintaining cognitive function and mental and physical health in older adults.
Researchers, Gary Swan and Dorit Carmelli, conducted a similar five-year study showing that as people age, curiosity may add to the longevity and quality of their lives.
After separating out physical variables, the study found men who showed higher curiosity levels were thirty percent more likely to live beyond the five years than men with average levels. The strength of the correlation between the two was surprising but not startling. A related study of women found similar results.
10-year-old Raymond Wu explains in a short TedTalk. Take a look!
Even though we tend to lose our inquisitiveness as we age, it is never too late to recharge. So, it’s time for this 83-year woman, who wants to age well, to change long-held, outdated rules and start questioning.
A curious mind that looks beneath life’s surface and discovers new worlds and possibilities brings fun and excitement to life and attracts attention to new things.
One way to begin came to light in another newsletter, Creative Gentle (https://gentlecreative.substack.com/< ). The article, You Have Permission To Be You, rang a bell – what if I give myself permission to be curious?
The Life Hack website says a person can develop an inquiring mind by
Eliminating the words “ I’m bored.” The more a person is bored, the less opportunity the mind has to grow. If something is boring, keep looking.
Finding the positive in situations - thinking of something as unexciting makes it so.
Doing something different - find new documentaries to watch or new walks to take.
Conquering fear - people tend to stick to the “same old thing” because they’re afraid to try something different.
With that in mind, I began watching videos about new topics such as scammers, food truck challenges, and abandoned billionaire homes. The possibilities are endless. When a thought-provoking news item comes up, I read more about it on the Internet. Waiting was no longer boring when I discovered what could be explored on my phone. It’s a start.
If a person wants to age well, curiosity must be a part of the recipe.
How curious are you?
Great article, Janice. I've never been more curious in my life. I'm a sponge! And thanks for the link!
Wishing you (and all of us) lifelong curiosity. Kudos on a great piece.