“I have no special talents. I’m only passionately curious.”
~~ Albert Einstein~~
Albert Einstein is revered as one of the greatest minds known to mankind and has been quoted to say: “I have no special talents. I’m only passionately curious.”. He praised curiosity as an essential stepping-stone towards achievement. He has also stated that it’s very important to continually question the world around us.
I believe adopting healthy curiosity is one of the most important qualities of successful individuals because it is part of human nature to discover, learn, grow and be inquisitive. Sadly, most of us lose the sense of wonder and curiosity we had when we were children. There is always more knowledge to grasp and secrets of the universe to uncover, and we never stop evolving during our lifetime. When we cease to continually rediscover new terrain, part of us dies. Those who continue to gain expertise and develop themselves are the ones that live the most fulfilling lives.
Great minds praise curiosity
Carl Jung believed that the psyche is a self-regulating system, much like the body, that seeks to maintain a balance between opposing qualities while constantly striving for growth. This process Jung called “individuation”. (The Jungian Model of the Psyche, Journal Psyche) So it seems, according to Jung, that we are naturally wired for perpetual evolution.
Constant and Never-ending Improvement, or CANI is an acronym developed by Tony Robbins. This principle is designed to encourage you to make small incremental improvements daily, and in doing so, you will be forced to find a way to go beyond your current set of self-imposed limitations.
Similarly, the Japanese have a word for this notion of constant improvement – “Kaizen” which literally translates to “Kai” – change and “Zen” good. You don’t have to make massive changes immediately in order to reap the benefits of CANI. Instead, one should focus on making conscious and consistent small steps forward, to reap the benefits of growth over a longer period of time.
How curiosity changed my life
We grow most through complete engagement and fascination of our surroundings, thoughts and ideas. The curious mind knows no limits. The more you travel, read, discover, and learn the further you stretch your mind and imagination. The more often you place yourself in new situations and expose yourself to new people, the richer your life becomes. It was this same notion that compelled me to move from New York to Bangkok after my role as Miss Universe had ended.
I remember stepping off the plane as I landed in Bangkok ready to make it my new home. I was ecstatic about learning everything I could about this enchanting ‘land of smiles’. The sights, sounds and smells intrigued my sense of curiosity and adventure. To this day, I still recall the smell of jasmine flowers from the decorative garlands people gift to each other and use as offerings in the temples. That scent, along with burning incense, will forever remind me of my first days in the Kingdom of Thailand.
It was exhilarating, exploring every corner of the country, tasting the flavors of the Thai cuisine – my favorite being coconut, pandan leaf, and basil. Mentally, I have grown by leaps and bounds as well, learning to speak the language and seeing the world from the locals’ perspective. I wanted to comprehend their calm and collected attitude, gentle mannerisms, and discover what was behind that famous Thai “wai” – traditional gesture of greeting. The welcoming smile of the Thai people fascinated and captivated my heart, and I absorbed their way of life by becoming more loving, patient and more spiritually evolved. I couldn’t have acquired all of this deep awareness and appreciation by simply being a tourist – it was through complete cultural immersion that I managed to integrate into my new environment and fall deeply in love with Thailand.
Visiting unfamiliar places and learning to shift with the culture has heightened my mental, spiritual and emotional growth, ultimately assisting in creating an elevated version of myself. My goal is to continue pursuing new destinations to immerse myself in new environments. In fact, my bucket-list has South America, Africa and Australia as the places I still have the desire to live.
“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”
~~ Steve Jobs~~