This Is The Most Fun Way To Make Your Life Awesome

This Is The Most Fun Way To Make Your Life Awesome

via Eric Barker

“The internet is making smart people smarter and dumb people dumber.”

That’s writer Kevin Drum. On the surface it would seem that the internet should be making us all smarter, right?. The world’s information is just a Google search away.

But what happened when Carnegie Mellon researchers studied the effects of in-school broadband access?

From Curious:

They found that the schools that allowed their pupils higher levels of broadband use achieved worse grades than those that didn’t.

Okay, but kids are gonna screw around, right? What about adults? They can sign up for awesome stuff like online classes to learn about anything and adults are clearly more motivated to…

Well, no, not really.

From Curious:

According to the New York Times, “Less than 10 per cent of MOOC students finish the courses they sign up for on their own.”

Turns out it’s not about mere access to information. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it think. In the end, it’s about the person and the traits of that person to determine whether they use something and how they use it. And you and I are really talking about one trait in particular:


We don’t take that word very seriously. In fact, the expression “just curious” is used to imply low stakes, that something is not a big deal. Heck, “learning experience” is a euphemism for the painful moments in life.

All of this is downright terrible because curiosity is an amazing thing – and these days it’s more valuable than ever, especially since the advent of the internet. I can wax poetic about the joy of learning but it turns out the benefits of being curious go far deeper: improving your finances, your health and even your relationships. The research shows curiosity, quite simply, leads to a better, richer life with a much higher threadcount.

Problem is, curiosity may also be more rare than ever. So how about you and I make sure that we’re the smart people that the internet is making smarter – instead of the opposite?

We’re gonna get some help from a few solid books on the subject: Ian Leslie’s wonderful Curious, Mario Livio’s Why? What Makes Us Curious and Perry Zurn’s Curiosity Studies.

Curious to learn more? (If so, we’re already off to a good start.)

Let’s get to it…

Curiouser And Curiouser

The first sentence of Aristotle’s Metaphysics is “All men by nature desire to know.”

But what is curiosity?

From Why? What Makes Us Curious:

…epistemic curiosity appears to aim at two goals: to act as a motivator for us to understand the limits of potential choices and, more important, to maximize knowledge and competence.

From an evolutionary perspective, curiosity helps us get ahead of the game, to learn more about our environment so we can cheat on the test of life. Your brain is never exactly sure what info it might need in the future so it spreads its cognitive bets beyond the immediate.

Caltech neuroscientists stuffed people in an fMRI scanner and read them trivia questions. What part of their brains lit up? The caudate nucleus — which is associated with not just learning but also romantic love. Your brain finds curiosity intrinsically rewarding at the most fundamental level. And it’s not just pleasurable, it’s practical. When curiosity is piqued, people retained information better 24 hours later.

Now that’s all fine and dandy but does it have any concrete, real-world benefits? You better believe it. The curiosity of babies predicted grades in school more than a decade later.

From Curious:

They found that the ones doing best at school aged fourteen were the ones who had been the most energetically exploratory babies.

In fact, curiosity contributes to academic success as much as being super-organized.

From Curious:

Sophie von Stumm, a lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths University, led a review of existing research on individual differences in academic performance, gathering data from 200 studies, covering a total of about fifty thousand students… von Stumm and her collaborators found that curiosity had roughly as big an effect on performance as conscientiousness.

Even if you’re well-past your school years, it’s still insanely valuable. A 2013 study of the elderly found those who were interested in new ideas and did cognitively demanding stuff stayed sharper as the years went by.

From Curious:

…the subjects who made a lifelong habit of a lot of reading and writing slowed their rate of mental decline by a third compared to those who did only an average amount of those things… People who rarely read or wrote experienced a decline that was a staggering 48 percent faster compared to the average participants.

Curiosity even improves your relationships. Couples that seek out new, interesting stuff to do together were the ones that stayed in love.

From Curious:

The couples that engaged in the “novel and arousing” activities were significantly more likely to express satisfaction in their relationship afterward and to feel romantically about the other.

(To learn more about how you can lead a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

And the bad news? Curiosity starts to wane as early as age four. If you want to keep that amazing trait past your larval stage, you’re gonna have to work for it. Otherwise, your brain is going to stop looking for new stuff and just go back to updating its MySpace page.

So how do we stay curious and get all those wonderful benefits?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE