Curiosity Can Be Your Best Friend
Over the weekend I went to Miami with my two brothers for a weekend sports extravaganza, taking in the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night and then the Dolphins on Sunday. We also worked in a quick trip to Everglades National Park and I had the chance to hang out with a buddy with whom I go back to at least 2nd grade with, possibly Kindergarten. We met for dinner as the Patriots were taking it to the Packers and our conversation covered a lot of ground.
While I obviously enjoyed just visiting and catching up I was struck by a favorable attribute he has which is that he is intellectually curious and has a desire to learn new things, a lot of new things. I've written about this in general terms before, it is something that I strive for personally. This is important for people in terms of promoting healthy aging.
When you stop trying to learn new things and take on new interests it is a form of stagnation and can disengage us from people and culture which can have severe consequences. I am sure we all know people who disprove this but it is a negative nonetheless. If you don't exercise, it may not kill you but everyone knows it's preferable to be fit.
This entire concept is important to me on multiple levels. Professionally, I believe it is important for advisors to understand the psychology that goes with getting older which in some cases is a withdrawal from life as described above.
We've explored at length and from many different angles the financial benefit of relatively healthy aging in terms of spending less on health issues, withdrawing can be a form of depression which can have physical consequences that need to be treated and paid for.
Curiosity is also important in my volunteer endeavor with Walker Fire. We talk about having four priorities including trying to always learn new things. Firefighting simply lends itself to this as strategies and tactics always evolve, we regularly are exposed to new problems to solve on incidents plus where we are a volunteer crew, the chance to learn contributes to the extent to which it is fun and interesting.
On a personal level, I want life to be fun and interesting and I would think most people want this but every now and then we can use a nudge or a reminder. I would also personally argue that going to places you've never been to see new things expresses a form of curiosity. One of my brothers gave me a nice compliment about my wife and me going to a lot of new places. Great if what we do constitutes "a lot" but if it is, we do plenty of inexpensive trips with our interest in national parks and monuments. They are cheap trips even as we take relatively expensive routes by staying at Airbnbs, it would be much cheaper if we camped, point being that the costs can scale to almost any budget and the parks are amazing.
The extent to which anyone engages and continues to learn and do new things is up to them which I find very encouraging. Doing this is unambiguously a net positive with meaningful health benefits and there is nothing to prevent someone from seeking these opportunities.