Curiosity ... the name of the latest Mars exploration rover– a wonderful name for an extraordinary piece of equipment. Because more than anything it explains why it’s up there! We’re curious – endlessly– about planets, about space and our place in the Universe, about what other life may exist somewhere and about what our eventual future might be.
Curiosity, more than anything else, has been the engine of human development – look at how children learn – the endless why, how, what, when questions that can drive any parent to distraction, especially as the child’s expectation is that the parent should know all the answers! Think about the inventions we all take for granted bread, cotton, penicillin, plastic – the inventor may have been looking for the answer to a problem, but the curiosity was there – ‘I wonder what would happen if .....’
So why should we stay curious as we age?
Looking at the world with a sense of curiosity makes a real difference. Remember what is was like to be a child when you wanted to know absolutely everything about everything – how happy and exciting life was then when everything seemed new. Sadly a lot of us lose that sense as the years go by, but you can re-create it. For instance, it’s great to take a curious attitude in your relationships with people - instead of being angry or complaining about someone’s behaviour, ask questions - ‘I wonder what is happening for him to make him behave that way?’, ‘what would have to be happening for me to behave that way?’ You may find it gives you new insight and helps you to react more sympathetically and be less stressed by how others behave.
Staying curious about what’s going on in the world, new inventions, new artists, new books, new music, new technology adds a real freshness to life. At my age, it seems to be a popular habit to moan or adopt peers’ opinions, writing things off without making an effort to understand them. I have found that the more you retain your curiosity the broader your interests will be, the more‘alive’ you will stay as you get older, the more interesting and active a person you will be and the easier you will find it to relate to your children and grandchildren.