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(credit: Torbein Rønning CC BY)

How difficult can it be?

We all need a little faith, once in a while, when we’re faced with a difficult problem and we don’t know what is the best solution. But it’s best not to use it as a substitute for curiosity

Are you curious? I bet you are. The fact itself that you are reading this suggests that you are interested in finding out what this article is about. Maybe you even expect to learn something (I hope you do!). But even if you’re just reading this to while away a few idle moments, there are most likely other areas where what you do is motivated by curiosity.

A good thing on balance

Checking your social media feeds, watching or listening to the news, reading a book, viewing a documentary or even a soap opera or a reality show — if you were not curious what the next page, the next minute or the next episode would bring, you would already have ceased checking, watching, listening etc.

Costly curiosity

But responding to curiosity is costly. When it comes to choosing things — whether it’s breakfast cereal, a car, a sofa or even a house or a life partner, most people are by and large satisficers, rather than optimizers. This means that we tend to go for answers, solutions or choices that are “good enough”, rather than figuring out what is the very best one. As long as we avoid a major catastrophe, we seem to be reasonably content.

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Is satisfying your curiosity worth this much? (image: reynermedia CC BY)

A bad trump card

But there is one thing that can trump all that: faith. Faith can give us confidence, without requiring evidence.

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Blindfolded by faith — yay ignorance! (image: Kirill Balobanov)

Written by

Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius

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