Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life"

by Todd B. Kashdan

After reading this book in October of 2020, I wrote,


"Get curious about this book. A compelling case for how curiosity (which you can generate) creates a fulfilling life and great relationships."

See all my book recommendations.  

Here are the selections I made:

In a survey of more than 10,000 people from 48 countries, happiness was viewed as more important than success, intelligence, knowledge, maturity, wisdom, relationships, wealth, and meaning in life.


Only in the present can we be liberated to do whatever it is we want. It’s a razor-thin moment when we are truly free. When we are curious, we exploit these moments by being there, sensitive to what is happening regardless of how it diverges from what it looked like before (past) or what we expect it to be (future). We are engaged and alive to what is occurring. We are energized. We are open and receptive to finding opportunities, making discoveries, and adding to the meaning in our life.


Without curiosity, we are unable to sustain our attention, we avoid risks, we abort challenging tasks, we compromise our intellectual development, we fail to achieve competencies and strengths, we limit our ability to form relationships with other people, and essentially, stagnate.


Most people overestimate risk, failure, and danger and underestimate the value of being curious.


Living a life of curiosity is not about ignoring risk and anxiety. It’s about being willing to do what one values, even in the face of risk and anxiety.


Curiosity serves as a gateway to what we value and cherish most. We can reclaim the lost pleasures of uncertainty, discovery, and play from our youth.


Most people stop looking when they find the proverbial needle in the haystack. I would continue looking to see if there were other needles. Albert Einstein


Although you might believe that certainty and control over your circumstances brings you pleasure, it is often uncertainty and challenge that actually bring you the most profound and longest-lasting benefits.


I wake up with the hope this day is even more uncertain than yesterday. It’s the unknown that we live, breathe, and move in all the time thinking it is the known. If a life can be a series of perpetual surprises, that’s the most joyous experience you can have.


Curiosity creates possibilities; the need for certainty narrows them.


Curiosity creates energy; the need for certainty depletes. Curiosity results in exploration; the need for certainty creates closure. Curiosity creates movement; the need for certainty is about replaying events. Curiosity creates relationships; the need for certainty creates defensiveness.


Curiosity is about discovery; the need for certainty is ...


Unfortunately, there are costs to working hard to feel safe, secure, and confident. We often end up shutting down our search for information too early in the process. In essence, we quickly become close-minded. We protect our beliefs even when they might be wrong. If someone shares our views, we praise them; if someone questions or challenges our views, we criticize, attack, and discount them.


Lack of curiosity is a breeding ground for: Stereotyping and discrimination, that in the extreme leads to hatred and even violence Inflated confidence and ignorance that leads to poor decisions Dogmatism and rigid thinking, which is the opposite of psychological flexibility


We need to be wary of the need for certainty. Seeking certitude can cause our beliefs and decision making to crystallize prematurely, and the resulting reluctance to consid...


Pain is unavoidable; suffering is optional.


Curiosity is what Buddhist scholars are talking about when they refer to the “unborn Buddha mind” or “beginner’s mind.” Bankei Zen was talking about seeing things with fresh, open eyes as if for the first time.


Those college-aged youngsters identified as very curious in later adulthood had several characteristics in common: They had rich emotional lives filled with both positive and negative feelings (further evidence that negative emotions are not “bad”). They were actively searching for meaning in life (this included questioning authority and dominant, widely accepted ideas). They didn’t experience themselves as being restricted by social norms. They chose careers that gave them opportunities to be genuine, authentic, independent, and creative.


A hyperfocus on seeking security, avoiding distress, and sticking to a comfortable routine lessens one’s curiosity and, in turn, satisfaction and meaning in life.


As Tibetan Buddhists remind us, “If we take care of the minutes and moments, the hours and days will take care of themselves.”


curiosity was one of the five most highly associated with Experiencing overall life fulfillment and happ