Given the nature of my posts, I absorb myself in reading and writing about beauty. While I’ve presented many theories on what makes something or someone beautiful, I don’t often share what I consider beautiful or what attracts me to someone or something. I guess I feel you really can’t pin the answer down to one thing.
But just the other day I heard a definition of beauty that I never had before. And I found it to be the best one yet. What’s even better is I heard it in the most unlikely of places: during a manager training course!
Allow me to explain. As my colleagues and I were getting valuable coaching tips, the trainer explained that we can better coach our teams if we let them come to their solutions on their own. To do this, we need to guide our conversations using open questions, like “how do you imagine doing XYZ “or “what possibilities come to mind?” By being curious we not only let them know we care about them, but we allow them to be creative and find a solution. As the trainer summed it up: “Curiosity is our species’s most attractive trait.”
Bam! It hit me like a ton of bricks.
Sure we are visual creatures and we are attracted to the obvious signs of health (e.g., physical symmetry) and reproductive capabilities (e.g., large breasts). But the invisible trait that draws us like a magnet, holds our attention and then captures our heart isn’t our pheromones, but our curiosity in others.
Our curiosity lets others know we are interested them and more importantly that we are concerned with them. It gives them a sense of safety and security. Who wouldn’t be attracted to that?!
According to a BBC Story, Why Are We So Curious?, curiosity is one of the few childlike traits that we have held on to as a species. While other species grow out of their childhood traits, e.g. lack of body hair, we actually retain some of ours. In addition to being far less hairy than other species, we still hold on to our capacity to be curious. Evolution made us the ultimate learning machines. Our curiosity gives us the capacity to learn and progress, but ALSO attach to one another.
What’s even better about curiosity? It inevitably makes us happier people. As a blog I happened upon, Experiencelife.com, states:
“In his book Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, 2006), Harvard University psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, PhD, shows that, while we think we know what will make us happy in the future, we are actually less likely to find joy as a result of a planned pursuit than by simply stumbling upon it. It follows that by cultivating curiosity and remaining open to new experiences, we increase our likelihood of encountering those surprising and satisfying activities.” And in the end, happy people inevitably attract us more, right?
While I’m all for looking our best, don’t forget what will make us the most beautiful: our sense of curiosity. And for all of you celebrating Valentine’s Day, remember be curious in your loved one. 🙂