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Want a More Fulfilling Life? ‘Curious?’

Curious girl exploring the boundaries

In “Curious?,” author Todd Kashdan writes about several different ways to get more out of life. From taking on mundane tasks to exploring once-dismissed activities, Kashdan says curiosity is the way to make life more fulfilling. Too many times, we shut off our attention to a task, which leads to a missed opportunity to be in the moment while opening up the mind to negative self-talk.

Kashdan urges people to engage their curiosity through practice. The steps of practice he suggests are:

  1. Choose something you consider an unappealing activity.
  2. Do the activity and look for three novel or unique things about it.
  3. Write those down and discuss them with someone else. (Use our comments section below!)

Kashdan uses this technique when he changes his daughter’s diaper, and when he does, he always finds something pleasant. He gets “a moment to reflect and feel close to my little one. Instead of losing a moment, I gain one” (p. 82).

In much of the first part of the book, curiosity is linked to creativity. Be curious, be more creative, and live a fuller life. For more on creativity and curiosity, check out “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative,” and “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Improve Your Creativity for a Better Life and World.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.

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Seven Episodes in: ‘Salvation’ and the last days

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” Jillian storms off after her boyfriend, Liam, reveals the details of the work that he is doing at Tanz Industries to save the world. These are details that only 41 Americans at the Pentagon know and just a few outside of the Pentagon. She’s angry because Liam has revealed this information after about a month of knowing which coincides with a month into their relationship, and he made the decision for her.

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” What Jillian doesn’t get, and she’s not the only one, is that these are our last days. We don’t have any more than we have. Whether it’s one because someone decides to shoot us or 146 because of an impending asteroid strike or 186 when the asteroid was just discovered or it’s a year or five years or 20 years, these are all our last days.

We don’t know how many days we have here; even if we did, it shouldn’t change anything. We should be living our lives like today is one of our last days. It’s certainly the last Jan. 31, 2019, I’ll ever see. If you look at your calendar, it’s the last date with that number designation that you’ll ever see. No one wants to face their mortality. We have to plan for our future even if there’s the possibility that it never happens, but these are our last days.

“I get to decide how I spend my last days.” Yes, you, too, get to decide how you spend your last days. Today is your last day. Tomorrow is your last day. Three days from now is your last day. Maybe you have more or fewer, you don’t know. The only thing that you do know is that these are your last days and you choose how you’re going to spend them. Spend them with friends, spend them with family. Spend them making life better for the rest of the world. Then when someone or something tells you your time is up, you won’t have to worry about getting mad at someone you love because they withheld a truth from you, especially if that truth is about the number of days left for the rest of the planet.

For more about our last days, check out the essay “The Last Good Day” in “Penguinate: Essays and Short Stories.”