“Whoa! What kind of bird was that?!” My friend, Josh, was in heaven. It was our third week in the richly bio-diverse country of Ecuador and it seemed Josh had asked these and similar questions hundreds of times already. They were starting to boarder on the absurd (Ecuador has over 1600 different species of birds, how was I supposed to know which species that was?), but I began to appreciate Josh’s curiosity for life. It should be no surprise that he’s nearly completed his schooling at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
Author Christopher Bergland states that, “It’s easy to become bored, discontent and lackadaisical when your daily routine turns into a rut. Recent psychological studies have confirmed that staying curious is not only the key to maintaining a sense of wonder and appreciation for life – it is the key to your success. Remaining conscientious is equally important. In fact, the combined personality traits of being curious and conscientious were found to be more important than intelligence in predicting success.” (Psychology Today)
With every passing year, my belief in the power of a balanced life becomes stronger and stronger. How do we achieve that balance? By staying curious and conscientious both mentally and physically.
Bergland continues by offering his readers some practical advice for “kick-start(ing) your curiosity and conscientiousness and (to) stop sleepwalking through life…I would recommend using regular physical activity as a valuable tool to fortify both of these personality traits. One of the most valuable lessons of “The Athlete’s Way” (Bergland’s book) is that through your daily workouts you have the power to strengthen character traits that will help you succeed in life – curiosity and conscientiousness are at the top of this list. Pushing your physical body is a great way to keep your mind and spirit open to a sense of wonder and curiosity; And, staying committed to a regular exercise regimen and the process of beginning and finishing a prescribed workout rewires your mind to be more conscientious in everything you do. The ‘good habits’ that you become skilled at and reinforce consistently through yoga, strength training, pilates, cardiovascular work… creates a mindset.” (Psychology Today)
So, push play on your favorite playlist and go run outside for a while. Take your dog on a walk in the woods. Jump in the car with your spouse after work and go exercise at the gym for 30 minutes. Open up your mind to this amazing world and the next time you see a bird perched up on the telephone pole during your afternoon commute, ask yourself, “what kind of bird is that?”