5 Habits of Incredibly Curious People

Life is never boring for a curious mind.

Thomas Oppong
Jul 10 · 6 min read
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Illustration: Augusto Zambonato

All knowledge, inventions, discoveries, and breakthroughs we’ve witnessed in our ever-transforming world starts with curiosity.

“Curiosity is its own reason,” says Albert Einstein.

We are born curious, but when answers are valued more than questions, we forget how to ask or maintain a curious mind. Curiosity helps us discover amazing things about ourselves, our professions and the rest of the world.

Curiosity is simply an insatiable need to know or learn something. In keeping with that definition, curious people have helped change the world with a constant thirst for knowledge and an insatiable appetite for new things.

In his book, Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, Ian Leslie argues that:

“A society that values order above all else will seek to suppress curiosity. But a society that believes in progress, innovation and creativity will cultivate it, recognising that the enquiring minds of its people constitute its most valuable asset.”

In his book, The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge, Abraham Flexner says curiosity is a unique characteristic of modern thinking.

“Curiosity, which may or may not eventuate in something useful, is probably the outstanding characteristic of modern thinking. It is not new. It goes back to Galileo, Bacon, and to Sir Isaac Newton, and it must be absolutely unhampered.”

Insanely curious people ask better questions

Voltaire, an enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher once said:

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

“Two of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself are “Why?” and “What if?” but sometimes, simply asking “How?” can lead to powerful new knowledge,” writes Anne-Laure Le Cunff.

Questions like: Is there a better, fast, safer, smarter way to do this? What if this widget were attached to that gadget? How can we make this task easier or more efficient? have resulted in efficient, better, and great products.

The best part about curious people is they don’t just ask beautiful questions — they refuse to take no for an answer until they get answers.

They’re forecasters and dreamers who can see an acorn as a tree and want to know how to help other acorns become trees.

Similarly, they see a child as an adult, a student as a teacher, and an idea as a business. Curious people have the gift of insight and the forthrightness to share their curiosity in ways that change the world.

Highly curious people take calculated risks

The world can be an intimidating place and refusing to take risks can sometimes make it feel safer.

Refusing to take risks, though, is a risk in and of itself because fear often leads to complacency which can bring personal growth and progress to a halt. Where the fun and adventure in that?

Keeping in mind that there is an important difference between taking a measured risk and just being reckless, taking risks can be extremely rewarding.

When curious people take risks, they do it to uncover new opportunities, learn new skills, have a chance to actively pursue success, explore new things, foster creativity and create positive, forward-moving change.

An artist who risks putting brush to canvas is rewarded with the art he gifts to the world. When the germ of an idea turns into an invention that turns into a business, every customer is the risk-taker’s reward.

Extremely curious people kick boredom to the curb

Dorothy Parker — poet, writer, and critic once said:

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” It’s profound.

When you are bored, you feel stuck in routine, same old habits, most things happen on autopilot. Curious people value rest, but boredom is not an excuse.

Rest means you’re letting your mind and body recharge itself for the next thing curiosity leads you to do. Boredom means you have nothing to do or have no interest in what you are doing.

Curious people rarely, if ever, feel bored because:

  • Their natural curiosity keeps their minds spinning
  • They are constantly asking questions inside their heads and out of their mouths
  • They never stop investigating the wonders of the world around them
  • They are always taking things apart to see what makes them tick
  • They never stop wondering what fascinations exist inside the possibility

Curious people use their curiosity to spark new opportunities, initiate new activities, meet and interact with new people, and banish boredom. They see the beauty in ordinary objects that propel them to kick boredom to the curb.

Just as curious musicians turn individual music notes into a song and curious techies turn individual components into smartphones and tablets, so does the curiosity of writers helps them turn words and punctuation into stories that answer their reader’s curiosity.

Exceptionally curious people are life-long learners

We start learning when we’re born and never really stop.

From learning to eat, walk, and self-soothe as babies to learning to make our way in the world as adults, education, and learning never really stop.

When curiosity gets the best of you in any situation or on any subject, you naturally set yourself up to learn something new.

The cycle of learning that comes with curiosity can mean: mastering new skills, sharpening your strengths, strengthening your limitations, setting increasingly challenging goals, honing your cognitive skills and passing new knowledge on to others.

It’s akin to reading an attention-grabbing book — each chapter compels you on to read the next.

Curiosity led Einstein to the Theory of Relativity. Without curiosity, Isaac Newton would not have discovered the Laws of Physics, and Alexander Fleming probably wouldn’t have discovered Penicillin.

Learning to learn (or to be curious) is the most essential life skill you can acquire. Curiosity and discovery never age.

Incredibly curious people are self-motivated

Curiosity and self-motivation quite naturally go hand-in-hand.

Curiosity is the fundamental catalyst for self-motivated learning. People who are curious don’t need to be encouraged to ask questions or explore.

As their curiosity and desire for learning grow and expand, their own inner spirit and resourcefulness take them to new heights of learning and challenge them to take increasingly audacious risks to ensure their personal inspiration keeps them going.

Self-motivation boosts the visionary outlook that fuels curiosity. It also gives you the strength to undertake new adventures. When you are self-motivated, you can easily move past mistakes or failures and keep trying new things.

Your natural drive to create, learn, invent, explore, and observe deserves to have the same status as every other drive in your life.

Give yourself permission to wonder what could be possible and make even the slightest move in that direction to find answers.

So, the next time someone tells you curiosity killed that cat, remind them that satisfaction brought it back.

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Thomas Oppong

Written by

Founder @AllTopStartups | Featured at Forbes, Business Insider, etc. | Join my personal newsletter for life and career tools at https://postanly.substack.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Thomas Oppong

Written by

Founder @AllTopStartups | Featured at Forbes, Business Insider, etc. | Join my personal newsletter for life and career tools at https://postanly.substack.com

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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