Learning is a primal pleasure and it is fueled by curiosity. We are wired to be curious, literally. The part of our brain that fires up in response to pleasure and satisfaction, also responds to curiosity.
A person’s degree of curiosity is directly related to their strength of memory. In other words, the more curious you are about a subject, the more knowledge you will retain when learning about it.
Many great psychologists have long speculated on the nature of brain mechanics behind being curious. We know this, curiosity guides us to what we think we can learn.
Following this line of thinking, we understand why we have no curiosity for the unsurprising; things we have seen many times before are boring and, according to our own minds, are unlikely to have anything left to teach us.
But, at the same time, things that are too surprising or novel shut down our curiosity.The mind simply doesn’t see an opportunity to learn ideas that are too confusing or complex.
The sweet spot right in the middle is where our minds naturally direct us, orienting towards stimuli that are neither too simple, nor too complicated, but just right. We are born with this natural process, it’s known as the Goldilocks Effect.
So how do we stay curious? Or rekindle what curiosity we once had?
We have to constantly remind ourselves that we are still perfectly capable of learning.
This is why continuously adopting new hobbies and trying new things is so vitally important. It is the same reason why life-long practices like martial arts, or yoga are so beneficial for our brains (as well as our bodies). These arts require a constant state of learning, which stimulates and perpetuates our curiosity.
There are countless ways to continuously learn throughout life. Here’s a list of a few things to get you started.