We are all born curious. Think about when you were a child or at children you know. They are extremely curious, aren’t they? They ask a lot of questions and they put themselves in dangerous situations.
Curiosity has great benefits: from rejuvenating your minds to helping you cope with change successfully.
However, we don’t all experience it the same way. There are those who are fascinated by Instagram to look into others’ lives, and there are some people who focus their interest on getting to know how things work, like for instance a car engine.
In both cases they are curious people.
However, the latest research shows that there are different types of curiosity which influence our personality and abilities.
Let’s look at the typology proposed by Todd Kashdan, of George Mason University, and other authors:
Joyful exploration: this is the classic type of curiosity. You look for something related to new knowledge or information, from learning how to cook a dish you liked to knowing who built a particular building. This curiosity, as the name indicates, is linked to the joy of learning something you did not know before.
Anxiety caused by missing something: this dimension has a different emotional tone. While the previous one gives you joy, in this case you get stressed or anxious to know how to solve a problem during an exam or to remember something that does not come to your mind, for example.
Tolerance to stress: it is activated when you accept doubt or anxiety facing new, complex or unknown events. In some ways, it helps reduce resistance to change. It allows you to ask yourself what there may be beyond fear, for example when you experience changes in your job.
Social curiosity: if you are socially curious you tend to observe what others think, or how they behave. It is the desire to learn about others’ lives through the press, TV or social networks.
Thrill-seeking: This is the dimension that leads people to take any kind of risks to seek out new experiences, such as practising extreme sports or travelling to dangerous countries for the pleasure of the adventure.
According to a research conducted in 2018 on over 3,000 workers in the United States, Germany and China, 84% recognized that curiosity allows them to generate new ideas and 64% that it helps them to get a job promotion. Furthermore, according to the study’s conclusions, the first four dimensions of curiosity improve outcomes at work while people with high social curiosity are best at stirring up conflicts and gaining trust.
Ultimately, you can have one or more of the previous dimensions and, depending on this, you will be a joyful explorer, or you will be more inclined to solve problems, or, thanks to your social curiosity, you will be more empathetic.
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