Curiosity and Academics
A few weeks ago, I discussed the power of academic creativity that can be achieved through studying arts subjects. This week, I would like to take that idea a little further and delve into the effect of curiosity on academic achievement and success.
I have a belief that we all want to be happy. I think that our every action, whether conscious or unconscious, is geared towards furthering our happiness. The Dalai Lama says happiness is “the very purpose of our life.” Yet despite the advances of modern-day society, it seems that some girls are struggling to achieve that happiness. Perhaps a significant contributing factor comes from much of our time being spent in repetitive routines. We can easily become stuck in a rut. However, we are also capable of achieving more satisfaction if we have the right attitudes and behaviours. Curiosity forms a large part of those behaviours.
Curiosity is a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more. It allows you to embrace unfamiliar circumstances rather than fearing change. It gives you a greater opportunity to experience discovery and the joy that follows. Here are three reasons that being curious can improve your academic achievement and quality of life.
Intelligence and learning
Curiosity is the engine of intellectual achievement. Studies show that those who are more curious about a topic tend to learn faster. Curiosity essentially primes the brain for learning. Renowned psychology professor George Loewenstein proposed that curiosity is an emotion that pushes us until we complete gaps in our knowledge.
2. Happiness and meaning
Those who are more curious find a greater presence of meaning and life satisfaction. This is because the life of a curious person is far from boring. There are always new ideas and new worlds to explore, which open possibilities that are not visible to others.
3. Brain health
Studies have shown that being open to new experiences keeps your brain active and alert, which can be immensely helpful in old age. Research points to the fact that women who regularly take on novel experiences that get them out of familiar routines, better preserve their mental faculties later in life. The mind is like a muscle: it becomes stronger with exercise.
Of course, some girls are naturally curious whereas others are not. If you aren’t, the good news is that curiosity can be learned. Here are three easy ways:
Reading opens your mind to new possibilities, ideas and worlds. It can spark your interest to explore and wander. Don’t be afraid to delve into a diverse range of topics. Buying a random magazine or book on a topic you normally wouldn’t read about can feed your curiosity and teach you something new.
2. Reframe ‘boring’ situations
We all experience boring situations, but any event can be turned into something more meaningful. Sharpen your observation skills and give attention to something that you would usually miss. Once you take a closer look, you’ll find that what you thought of as boring can be quite fascinating. A great example of this is when you are waiting for someone in a public space. You can people watch and guess what strangers are like and what brought them to the same space as you are in.
3. Always ask questions
As astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson said: “the people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives.” Always ask questions. It’s not only okay not to know something, it’s better. Only then will you be able to learn something new. Who, what, when, where, why, and how — are curious people’s best friends.
Curiosity is making the choice to look deeper into everyday things and seeing their true significance. Realising that there is much to learn from everyone and everything you can encounter is a positive step to living a happy life.
Based on a blog from https://psychcentral.com
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies