Do you want to know a secret about us?
We never planned to go to Alaska.Yes, the life-changing, soul-shaking move that put us in the middle of Alaska’s wilderness for a couple of years was never something we set out to do.
It wasn’t in our five-year plan. It wasn’t one of the goals we lazily sketched out at the beginning of the year. And it certainly wasn’t the sort of thing we thought about when we pondered just what in the world we wanted to do with our time on this earth.
The truth is… we were bored.
We were working one day… and got curious.
“That seems interesting,” we thought to ourselves. “I wonder what that would be like.”
We didn’t ponder the question too long. How could we?
We didn’t know the answer. We had never upped and moved across the continent before.
Instead of scratching our head, we scratched out a note to the boss and told her she needed to do some hiring.
Our curiosity, as they say, got the better of us.
It changed our life.
Best Seller… Worst Advice
As we work to record our thoughts on the 12 skills every person must master (we’ll cover them over the next few weeks), curiosity must be first on the list.
Without it, a person will never be happy.
Here’s why that’s true.
Most folks think happiness comes from setting goals and then busting their butts to accomplish them. It’s the core of so much of today’s muddled self-help world.
We’re supposed to look in the mirror each morning, tell ourselves what we want and why we want it so darn bad… and then go out and get it.
The idea’s not bad. It works… at least if you’re looking to sell some books.
But it doesn’t lead all that many folks to happiness.
Need proof? Look around. See many happy folks putting down those best-sellers?
The reason most folks are stuck in a rut and the reason most folks never experience what anybody would ever deem true happiness is they lack something that’s quite rare.
And while it’s rare… it’s easily obtained.
An innate sense of curiosity is the proven key to a happy life.
But don’t just take my curious soul’s word for it.
Science is in our corner.
The Source of Happiness
You see, the work of Harvard scientist Daniel Gilbert showed that we are far less likely to find joy and happiness as a result of a planned pursuit than we are by chance.
It makes sense.
When you map out your future and know every step you’re going to take to get there… the journey isn’t all that fun, and the destination is a bit of a letdown.
It’s why most millionaires want more.
But Gilbert showed that by not focusing on goals we think will make us happy and instead putting that mental energy into cultivating curiosity, our chances of “stumbling” into satisfying situations expands in a huge way.
Under this theory, of course, our life-changing and soul-satisfying trip to Alaska wasn’t chance. And it certainly wasn’t the result of setting goals.
It was the result of a curious mind doing what curious minds do so well.
It led us to a new experience… and far more and longer-lasting pleasure than we ever could have dreamed of by staring at a mirror and willing ourselves to be happy.
Of course, we’re not the only ones to say this trait is critical for success.
When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, it wasn’t the result of a lifelong goal.
He was curious.
Wondering if there were better ways to kill germs, he let his mind do some exploring. It changed the medical world.
It’s the same thing with the fellow behind the creation of the telephone.
Alexander Graham Bell never put “create new form of communication” in his 10-year life plan.
That would have been silly.
Instead, he became curious about signals one day and started to explore the idea.
It led to a prototype that stitched the world together.
Many folks would say these inventions happened by chance. That’s not true… at all.
They happened because the brains behind them were exquisitely trained to be curious and were set free to follow what excited them.
So as we explore the 12 skills every person must master, jot down curiosity and put it at the top of the list.
Without it, your chances of being happy and successful are quite slim.
Train yourself to say “I wonder” at least a dozen times each day.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
As the floatplane that dropped us off in the middle of Alaska’s wilderness buzzed overhead and disappeared across the horizon, our curious mind wondered what was next.
You’re reading it.
Curiosity does great things.