Ordinary places can be a catalyst for curiosity

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Photo by Aaron Birch on Unsplash

Curiosity may have killed the cat but it has the power to improve your life. There are numerous proven benefits of curiosity such as enhancing learning, improving memory, and even boosting the quality of your relationships. Most research on curiosity so far has focused on understanding the benefits of this important trait, while less research has explored how we can actually cultivate our curiosity.

However, we do know that mindfulness is one way to be more curious. In one study, researchers in the UK sought to improve our knowledge of how we can grow our curiosity through a series of case studies using participant interviews and naturalistic observation. They found that curiosity was a critical mechanism in the relationship between place and wellbeing. …

Your satisfaction hinges on curiosity

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

In my Tinder and Bumble days, one of my favorite things was when a guy would go, “Let’s play a game where I ask you a question and then you ask me a question.” I had at least a dozen first dates where this happened. Maybe they all read the same piece of advice floating around Reddit or an article on how to survive a first date if you’re nervous. Maybe I was a terrible conversationalist and they were throwing me a lifeline. No idea.

It would start with something benign he’d clearly used on other women like, “If we could teleport and have this date anywhere in the world where would you want to go?” Once on a particularly boring date I said I’d want to explore the Churchill War Rooms just to see how he’d react. …

Valuing social health and emotional versus informational gains

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Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

I have good news for anyone like me in their 20’s with a tendency to feel emotionally overwhelmed sometimes. Study after study shows you’ll get happier as you age. Getting older is something to look forward to. As we age, we get better at focusing on positive information and filtering out negativity. In our relationships, this translates to greater emotional fulfillment and satisfaction.

There’s a perception of older adulthood as a time of loneliness, grief, and an inability to adapt. But this stereotype simply doesn’t pan out in research on lifespan development. We become happier and more emotionally fulfilled as we age. Contrary to popular belief, aging is not a “sweeping trend downwards.” …

You’ll never ‘run out’ of ideas if you’re curious

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Photo by TrendsetterImages at Envato Elements

When I started writing again, I worried I would “run out” of ideas. At first, the ideas came fast — writing after a long break unleashed a torrent of pent-up ideas. I had accumulated years of lived experience to write about. But as I continued, I started worrying my creativity would dry up at some point. The second I finished a piece I was proud of I would think, what if I can’t do that again?

In grad school, I studied what developmental psychologists refer to as “socioemotional skills”. What are often thought of as “soft skills” such as behavioral skills, social skills, self-expression, and introspection are traits people can learn and improve on. I wrote my thesis on how educators can encourage children’s curiosity. I knew logically traits like creativity can be nourished and improved like any other skill. …

1 creative freewriting tip and 3 editing tips

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” ― Stephen King

This quote captures a common problem for writers — letting the perfect be the enemy of the good in your first draft. Your first draft should be written with the door closed in a place without judgment where your words are only for yourself. Then consider your target audience and eye your writing critically. Put in the work to polish your writing to the best of your ability, and then share your draft with an editor or a friend for feedback.

Getting the words out can be the most difficult part of the writing process. But once you have them out, you have something to work with even if it’s rough. By the time you get to your third, fourth, or fifth draft, you’ve walked through a revolving door of revisions and cracked open a few windows into the mindset of your readers. …

The key to a lasting relationship is simple — here’s why

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Photo by taylor hernandez on Unsplash

This morning, my husband and I were sipping coffee and writing together when a movement in the window caught my attention. A black bear stood outside, staring straight at us and chewing on a peach he must’ve plucked from the tree in front of our house.

I grew up in a city and had never seen a bear except at the zoo. I excitedly pointed the bear out to my husband. He’s seen them here dozens of times and it was nothing particularly new to him, but he paused what he was doing and shared in my excitement.

According to researchers at the Gottman Institute, this simple interaction was a barometer of our relationship’s health. In wanting to share my excitement, I offered my husband what researchers refer to as a “bid”. A bid is an opportunity to “turn towards instead of away” from your partner when they offer a chance for an interaction that can create emotional closeness. …

Biology may explain why writers love to eavesdrop and why it improves dialogue

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My eavesdropping habit started with a creative writing teacher at a summer camp when I was 12. She instructed us to find groups of people to eavesdrop on and take notes on their conversations. The summer camp was hosted at a university. I spent that morning wandering around campus, capturing snippets of conversations in the food court, the book store, and coffee shops.

One conversation sticks out in my memory to this day. From a table in the corner of the campus Starbucks, I eavesdropped on a couple sitting nearby. I listened as a debate about the pros and cons of moving in together escalated into an argument about how one party is afraid of commitment, and then suddenly culminated in the words, “We’re done. …

A method to capture ideas and turn them into articles

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Image by bondarilla at Envato Elements

Us new writers can be a disorganized lot. Until pretty recently, I had a “Writing Ideas” document on my laptop. It became a cluttered mess where my half-formed ideas went to die, buried in a grave of other ideas I never brought to life. I used to let many ideas die because I didn’t have a system for writing them down and expanding on them.

I eventually realized this was a problem. So I organized my writing into three separate folders — Ideas, Drafts, and Ready to Publish. But even this method didn’t fully work. …

How to create lasting works in a rapidly changing industry

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Photo by Douglas Sanchez on Unsplash

In content marketing, you need two types of content:

  1. Timely content that capitalizes on current trends, fads, and new technologies
  2. Evergreen content that will benefit potential customers for years

Evergreen content can be a powerful cornerstone of your content creation strategy. Even when there are lulls in engagement with your target audience, it will keep your organic web traffic flowing and attract engagement long after it’s posted. Especially because Google’s algorithm prioritizes older content, you need to have content that continues to be useful later on.

You need both timely and evergreen content, but given the rapidly changing nature of the tech industry, it can be easy to overlook your evergreen content. How do you create content that lasts in an industry that’s always changing? It’s tricky in the tech industry, but definitely possible! Here are 13 specific ideas for evergreen content in tech marketing, complete with specific suggestions and examples. …

Curiosity is the secret to creativity

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Photo by dinabelenko at Envato Elements

Your “curiosity gap” is the space between what you know and what you want to know. Emotionally, it manifests as a craving to satisfy your curiosity. Curiosity is a fundamental and ancient motivation, deeply rooted in our physiology and development. When you close your curiosity gap by learning new information, you experience pleasurable emotions that prompt you to fill future gaps.

This process creates a cycle where you can enhance your curiosity, and thereby, your creativity. Research in psychology shows a powerful link between curiosity and creativity. Curious people are more creative. Why? …


Nadine Clay

Creative Director at a Startup | Avid Reader | A wise person told me ‘choose a niche!’ so I blog about marketing, psychology, and creativity. Sometimes I stray.

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