Curiosity is a character trait more than a virtue, by itself. Curiosity is the inclination to be interested in new ideas and facts, and the inclination to initiate the activities to find more of them. Like all character traits, however, this can be learned as a habit and will eventually become a part of who you are. Take kindness as a similar example. If you earnestly try hard to be kinder to those around you every day, you will eventually become a kinder person. Curiosity can work in the same way.

Curiosity is important to our values, however, because this trait is very valuable in becoming a wise and knowledgeable person. Even if you take classes or read books in order to learn more, you will fall short on your goals if you don't have the curiosity to motivate you; curiosity is a trait that will help you do well in classes and finish your pet projects. If you are planning to only learn new things that are immediately applicable to you or your job, you are just shooting yourself in the foot. You have to work on being open to learning in general.

The easiest way to improve your curiosity is to build upon the curiosity you already have. Sometimes we hear a news blurb, some curious fact, or learn about a new hobby, and then immediately return to our daily routine—even if the idea tickled our curiosity. This could sometimes be laziness, "work ethic", or just the way we are used to living our lives, but you need to begin taking those opportunities to learn more about the world around you. If you hear in passing about a lizard that can run across water, for instance, and the idea puzzles or amuses you, you should find out more about that lizard. If you can't do it right away, write down a note to remind yourself later; with the internet and Google, you have no excuse to not learn a little about anything that grabs your interest. In this example, you don't have go to college and become a herpetologist, but you should read a little bit about the critter that captured your imagination.

Another way to improve your curiosity is to open yourself to new areas of knowledge. Read websites or magazines about topics that you usually wouldn't read about. Find out exactly what the story is behind your child's collectable figurines. Read one of those weird romance novels that your wife likes to read. These are all examples of ways to build curiosity toward new ideas.


  • Don't Ignore Your Curious Promptings: Like described above. Don't lose an opportunity to jump upon every impulse from your curiosity.
  • Learn about New Things: Also like described above. Learn about topics that don't usually interest you. It is helpful if these topics still apply to your life in some way. You are much more likely to want to learn what your kids or a secret crush are up to rather than something selected randomly from a spin of the wheel.
  • Break Your Old Routines: If you do the same thing everyday you won't have opportunities to learn new things. If you always watch TV, go out and go on a nature walk. If all you do is go to parties and hang out in clubs, go home and watch TV! You shouldn't waste all of your time, but you can get away with some "negative" behaviors, temporarily at least, while building upon this trait.
  • Work on the Curiosity and Open-Mindedness Traits: Open-mindedness especially. If open-mindedness didn't have its own article, I would be writing in great detail on that trait here.

Your Record

Make sure you consider every time you fail to follow through on a reasonable (and legal) curiosity a "fault" in your curiosity for the day. Make your own goals as well, possibly based on one of the activities up above. If you fail on your own goal, that's a fault as well.


Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

Nancy Willard

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.


The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

Albert Einstein

Golden Mean

Obtrusiveness, importunity, excessive curiosity

Recommended Reading

Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life — by Todd Kashdan

This author writes about finding happiness and contentment not by looking for happiness, but by being amazed at everyday life, explore new things, and living in the moment. This is a great book for learning about how curiosity can make your life more fulfilling.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Curiosity endows the people who have it with a generosity in argument and a serenity in their own mode of life which springs from their cheerful willingness to let life take the form it will. Alistair Cooke