Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand. – Neil Armstrong

What’s it about?

Ah, mystery. For good and ill, humans are curious beings and we are overwhelmed with a need to know. Throughout history, we’ve been awed and overwhelmed by majestic and inexplicable sights, strange phenomena that our brains can’t help but want to unravel. Curiosity has taken us to the moon, and it can improve your life immeasurably because curiosity isn’t just an urge, it’s a tool that you can learn to use effectively. Studies have shown that being curious has a unique effect on our brains. Discovering something new or linking together pieces of disparate information produces the same reaction as getting free money or falling in love. It’s a pleasurable stimulus. And you can actually use this to your advantage. Stay Curious, Inspired, and Creative.

Neil Armstrong’s Story

Neil Armstrong showed a great curiosity throughout his life. It started when he was just a kid when he became enraptured by flight and airplanes. He actually learned to fly and got his pilot’s license at age 16, before he’d even learned to drive. After a brief stint as a Navy pilot and finishing college, Armstrong joined up with the forerunner to NASA as a test pilot. Under them, he flew every kind of plane and aircraft imaginable, including the X-15 rocket plane which could reach 4,000 mph.

In 1963, Armstrong joined the astronaut program and began making trips into space. He was the commander of the Gemini 8 mission, where two vehicles docked in space successfully for the first time. But his greatest accomplishment would come in 1969 when he led the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. During their module’s descent to the surface, Armstrong noted that their landing site was too rocky to be safe and had to reorient and find a new spot as they were landing. Despite the odds, he pulled it off, with only 1% fuel left in their landing rockets. At 10:56 PM, Armstrong exited the module and took the first step on the moon, giving the famous line, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” (1). Upon his return, Armstrong remained devoted to aeronautics and space travel for the rest of his life. Even after stepping on the moon, he still wanted to see what was beyond.

Tools And Tips

The lesson for the day is to stay curious. Don’t be content with letting a mystery stay a mystery. Idle wondering is great, but simply being awed by the wide, wonderful world around you is likely not going to help you learn anything. Be awed, but let your awe become the first step to understanding. Here are some ideas on how to stay curious (2).

  1. Pursue your interests. Dig deeper into whatever topic you find the most stimulating. Let yourself fall down whatever intellectual rabbit hole you come across.
  2. Seek Consultation. Look to the experts (or at least those more knowledgeable) around you for information. They may be happy to teach you.
  3. Get lost in the library. Wander through the shelves of an actual library with no plan. Scan the titles of books. Pick up anything that piques your interest and inspires you.
  4. Explore New Things. Try and gain a basic understanding of a wide variety of topics. Even if it’s something you’re not particularly interested in, have at least a passing knowledge of how it works. You never know what creative connections your brain could make.

You come from a long line of people who yearned to understand everything around them. Carry on their mission. There are big questions still out there like, “What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” and “How are even ugly dogs somehow cute?”. You could be the person to answer those questions.

You’re just looking at ugly dog pictures now, aren’t you? Good, you’re already curious! Keep it up.

Now here are some action questions to consider:

1: What’s something you’ve always been curious about? Put some time aside and research it as deep as you can.

3: Why do you think even ugly dogs are cute?

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Sources cited:

Editorial Team, “Neil Armstrong.” A&E Networks Television, 28 Apr. 2017. Web. 30 May 2017.
Wai, Jonathan. “Seven Ways to Be More Curious.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 31 July 2014. Web. 30 May 2017.