Here’s How You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

As we become more reliant on technology, our carbon footprint increases as well. Owing to our busy lifestyles, we may be required to travel frequently on planes or cars. Our mobile phones and laptops require more frequent charges. Our homes have also become “smart”, with gadgets like the Google Home Mini consuming huge amounts of electricity. However, do you know that this enhances global warming? More carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases are released into the air as our power consumption increases. Nonetheless, you can help to save the environment by lowering your carbon footprint, which is in other words the total greenhouse gas emmisions caused by a single person. In this article, I will show you a few ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Let’s begin!

#1: Take Public Transport

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Instead of driving your own car, you could consider taking public transport. A single bus may be able to transport 50 or more people at one time, while a train may be able to transport hundreds at once. A single bus emits less greenhouse gases than 50 cars at one time.

#2: Conserve Electricity

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Decreasing your electric consumption not only saves you money but also helps to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emitted. For a start, you could turn off your fan or your air-conditioner when you don’t need it, while you can also avoid overcharging your gadgets. While it doesn’t seem like much, this helps to save our environment and reduce the usage of fossil fuels, which are unsustainable and will run out in the near future.

#3: Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Need

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Some of us get lost in a shopping spree and end up purchasing numerous items, such as that latest Gucci handbag or the latest iPhone. However, this only serves to increase your carbon footprint as much energy is used in the production of goods and items. Furthermore, buying things you clearly don’t need wastes your hard-earned cash.

#4: Buy Recycled Products

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Whenever you go shopping, look out for products manufactured from recycled materials. This is because less energy is used to produce items made up of recylced products and this in turn reduces the volume of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere. This also reduces the energy used in extracting new resources as recycling utilises used materials.

#5: Conserve Water

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This is something I believe everyone must do. It’s as simple as closing the tap when you are brushing your teeth. Energy is used in filtering, pumping and heating water. Wasting water not only increases your electric bills but also causes water shortage around the world. Many people in the Less Developed Countries are experiencing water shortage due to contamination or worsening climates. It’s important to cherish water and not just treat it as a luxury.

Conclusion

All of us can play a part in reducing our carbon footprints so as to reduce the effects of global warming. We have harmed Mother Earth and it’s time to give back. Let’s not become the architects of our own destruction. If this article was a good read or helpful to you in any way, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

Why You Should Grow Your Own Herbs

In the midst of my boredom during the COVID-19 period, I decided to try growing herbs for myself. More specifically, I chose to plant Basil as I heard that it is relatively easy to grow for a beginner. As Basil is quite a fast grower, mine became mature in about 3 weeks. During the process, I found that growing your own herbs is not that difficult after all and it can be quite a rewarding experience as well. In this article, I will show you why you should grow your own herbs, whether it is for use in the kitchen or just for fun. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter at www.bestofwrite.com. Without any further delay, let’s dive right in!

#1: Save Money

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Herbs can be quite expensive, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, growing your own herbs is relatively inexpensive. All you have to do is to buy a seed packet, some soil and a pot, all of which should cost you about 7 USD or more. You might comment that 7 USD is quite a lot of cash for planting herbs. My answer is that this is an investment. A seed packet contains tens or even hundreds of seeds and a single plant can provide you with a plentiful herbs all year round. Furthermore, you can actually “duplicate” some herb plants by taking a cutting and immersing it in a glass of water. After a few days, you may notice the cutting growing roots. Once you see that, replant it into another pot. Look! You made another plant from a single plant! How crazy is that? Of course, you could do this many, many times and you would have an endless supply of herbs. If done correctly, the money you paid is insignificant to the value your plants can generate for you over the years.

#2: It’s Organic!

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Compared to the herbs grown in a farm, you have complete control over the conditions in which your plants grow. This means that you can decide whether or not to give it fertiliser, how much sunlight to give it and whether or not to use pesticide. It’s completely up to you! This alone can make a huge difference in the taste of the herbs produced by your home-grown plants.

#3: It’s Fresh!

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Unlike the herbs you purchase from the store, you are able to use them immediately right after harversting them. This maintains the freshness of your herbs as no freezing or packing is done. Furthermore, you no longer have to run out of the comfort of your kitchen to get some herbs for your latest dish. How convenient is that?

#4: It’s A Rewarding Experience

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Nothing beats the joy of seeing your hard work pay off and this includes growing herbs! Your herbs might start out as small seedlings, but given enough water, sunlight and time, they will grow to become beautiful adult plants which are suitable for harvest. There is honestly nothing like seeing your little plant grow day by day, albeit slowly at first.

Conclusion

For those of you who would like to give this a try, you could consider growing Basil, as it is a beginner friendly plant which grows fast and is easy to take care of. Furthermore, its leaves are delicious and can be used with pasta, as a topping for your pizza or even to make pesto. Its oval shaped leaves are also beautiful looking as well! If this article was helpful to you in any way, do like this post and comment down below! Stay tuned for my next article.

Wooden vs Mechanical Pencil: Which To Choose

At some point in our childhoods, most of us have wondered which writing instrument is the best. Some of us used mechanical pencils in our childhood and continue to do so today in the workplace or for general use. However, some of us are die-hard fans of wooden pencils. There are many possible reasons to the choice we make and this article will attempt to address this age-old debate. Before you continue reading, do follow me on and subscribe to the newsletter. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Reasons to Use a Mechanical Pencil

#1: It’s Eco-Friendly

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A mechanical pencil can last for years, that is if you take good care of it and don’t break it. In fact, mechanical pencils are more durable than wooden pencils, as they do not require sharpening and can survive the occasional fall. Furthermore, some mechanical pencils are made out of recycled plastic or metal. Thus, choosing a mechanical pencil helps to reduce your carbon footprint and save the environment.

#2: It Doesn’t Require Any Sharpening

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We’ve all been there and we know how annoying or frustrating sharpening a pencil can be. A mechanical pencil, however, requires no sharpening. Even if you break the lead, all you have to do is push more lead out by pressing the top button and you are ready to write again. It’s that simple. Another point to note is that the length of a wooden pencil decreases with increased sharpening. Eventually, it becomes so short that it virtually becomes unusable. A mechanical pencil, on the other hand, faces none of these issues. Amazingly, all you have to do if you run out of lead is to refill your mechanical pencil with more lead.

#3: It Provides a Sense of Ownership

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Mechanical pencils are able to withstand heavy amounts of usage and can last for decades. Unlike their wooden counterparts, they are completely reusable and are able to provide a sense of ownership a disposable wooden pencil can never provide. For those sentimental folks out ther, a mechanical pencil will be a great writing instrument which will always remind you of past memories.

#4: Mechanical Pencils are More Ergonomic

Source: https://wowpencils.com/pentel-graphgear-1000-review/

Unlike wooden pencils, which can be quite painful to hold after hours of usage, most mechanical pencils come with a rubber or metal grip, although the latter usually comes at a higher price. As a result, mechanical pencils are more comfortable to hold over long periods of usage. For example, the Pentel Graphgear 1000, as shown in the image above, comes with a metal grip with inbuilt rubber pads for a more comfortable writing experience.

However, there are also some reasons as to why some people prefer to use wooden pencils.

Reasons to Use a Wooden Pencil

#1: Artistic Use

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Wooden pencils are widely used by artists nowadays and for good reason. Shading with a wooden pencil is much easier as a mechanical pencil usually only produces fine lines. A wooden pencil can also be much easier to hold while drawing on an easel as it is lighter than mechanical pencils which may have a metallic body.

#2: It Is Affordable

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For those who rarely use pencils, a wooden pencil is good enough. 5 USD are enough to buy 24 pencils or more (a pack of pencil usually contains 12 packs, so this means 5 USD is enough to afford 2 packs of pencils which gives 24 pencils), which is quite a lot for casual use. This is way cheaper than a mechanical pencil, which may cost about 1 to 40 USD depending on its quality. Furthermore, mechanical pencil lead may cost another 1-3 USD per pack. However, for long term use, I would still prefer using a mechanical pencil.

Conclusion

A mechanical pencil is way better than a wooden pencil due to its durability, reusability and simplicity. However, some might like the feel of a wooden pencil while others might find a mechanical pencil more convenient. Whether or not to use the former or the latter depends entirely up to you, although I must say I prefer using a mechanical pencil. If this post was useful to you in any way, do consider liking this post and comment down below. Stay tuned for my next post!

Is Stress Good For You?

Stress is something we all face very frequently. It could be because of our deadlines closing in, relationship problems or more. Sometimes, we even start to panic and act recklessly. But could stress have any benefits for us, or is it 100% harmful to our mental and physical wellbeing? In this article, I will discuss how stress can be harmful, yet beneficial if used correctly and appropriately. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Without any further ado, let’s hop right in!

How Stress Can Be Harmful

#1: It Causes Anxiety

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When you are pressured, you naturally start to worry. Negative thoughts start to invade your mind and you start to imagine all the worst case scenarios possible. You start to have difficulty sleeping, cold sweat and become unable to concentrate. Even when there is no danger, you start to see it everywhere. Your body becomes overly alert and wary. If left untreated or unresolved, this could potentially harm your physical and mental wellbeing.

#2: Difficulty Controlling Your Emotions

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Irritability is a common symptom of stress, too. We naturally become defensive as stress triggers the fight-or-flight response in our bodies. This builds upon symptom #1, where anxiety can lead to your body perceiving normally harmless events as threats. When this happens, you naturally lose self-control and may even throw tantrums. Many people end up acting recklessly if they are unable to control their emotions or thoughts.

#3: Bad Habits Start to Resurface

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Your levels of willpower decrease as the feelings of stress kick in, and self-control is lost as well. When this happens, old habits start to pop up again. For example, some people start stress-eating while others start chain smoking in a bid to reduce their feelings of stress. Suddenly, you can’t stop what you are doing as it is too addictive and you relapse on the bad habits you had once kicked.

#4: Lowered Immune System

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Stress reduces the body’s ability to fight off antigens and you become more vulnerable to becoming infected by numerous diseases. Your body’s ability to recover is also impeded due to inadequate sleep, which is caused by excessive worrying. Feelings of anxiety also causes your heart rate and breathing rate to increases, thereby causing feelings of tiredness.

However, if controlled and contained, healthy amounts of stress can be helpful too.

How Stress Can Be Beneficial

#1: It Provides Motivation

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A healthy amount of stress helps to fight off feelings of laziness and procrastination. It creates a sense of urgency that urges you to act. This helps in completing tasks and avoids the last-minute rush. “But how?” you might ask. For a student, the heaps of content tested in an exam and the fear of failure is enough to spur him/her to revise early. However, as you have read above, do not stress yourself excessively.

#2: It Makes You Battle-Hardened

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A healthy amount of stress can help us to be resilient. While it can feel overwhelming, it can train us to be calm and detached in times of crisis. As as result, we are not easily beaten down and are able to make sound decisions even when times are desperate. The feelings of fear and anxiety are now insignificant as you have been trained for it.

Conclusion

Stress is part of a meaningful life. Without it, we would not have the motivation to do anything. However, too much of it can destroy and shut us down. In other words, stress is a double-edged sword. The key to it all is moderation; not too much and not too little. A good amount of stress can help us to achieve our goals in life and push us on. If this article was in any way helpful to you, do consider liking this post. Thanks for reading!

Why Exams Are Useless

Exam” is a four-letter dirty word no student wants to hear. Ever since its inception, it has been associated with stress and competition. Many students dread the daily trip to school all because of it. It’s also frightening to see the school curiculum revolving around exam preparation and nothing more. In my opinion, examinations themselves are not the problem as they also serve as a method for students to gauge their learning ability. What renders exams useless is the way society views exams. To most people, grades are all there is to an exam and failure is not an option. As a result, many take an exam for the sake of taking it or just to attain a grade to show off to everyone. As result, exams become “do-or-die” as students feel stressed due to the fear of failure and humiliation. This completely defeats the purpose of examinations. In this article, I will discuss how and why exams have become useless in the modern world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to the newsletter!

Reason #1: Unnecessary Stress

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Because of the way society views examinations, students are pressured to excel and succeed. It’s now all about the ‘A+’ on the report card and nothing more. In the mind of a student, his/her success is wholly dependent on his/her educational qualifications. As a result, many students go to extreme measures just to obtain a desired grade. This includes forgoing sleep, long study hours and endless tuition classes. Instead of allowing students to enhance their learning, examinations now do more damage to their mental and physical wellbeing. Only if society learns not to treat failure as the end can learning be possible. Schools should also not focus solely on exam preparation and cut down on the content tested at one time.

Reason #2: The Joy of Learning is Taken Away

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Students are now given piles and piles of homework, forced to study many subjects and take exams they clearly dread. Learning now becomes confined to mere memory, answering techniques and essay writing skills. Instead of cultivating students who are attuned to the world and are enthusiastic to learn, schools produce students who have been trained to become answering machines in every respect – “If A, then B; if question asks X, I give Y.” For the joy of learning to be present in the classroom and beyond, society needs to place less emphasis on the importance of academic qualifications and a person’s learning abilities. Now, students memorize heaps of knowledge just to regurgitate it on the exam paper. In fact, most students forget all the knowledge they have learnt right after an exam and do not follow up on it, unless a future exam requires it. Evidently, most students of the modern world do not possess curiosity or the desire for learning. If you would like to learn more about the importance of curiosity and how it is relevant in the modern world, check out my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/07/the-importance-of-curiosity/.

Reason #3: Exams Become a Race to the Top

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Instead of learning for themselves, students now, in a sense, learn for others. Due to the fact that society places so much emphasis on academic success, exams become a platform to show off their intellectual prowess. Students work themselves to the bone just to beat each other and become the best among their peers. Learning now becomes all about winning. Because of this, those at the top start to become arrogant while those who are struggling at the bottom are looked down on. The truth is, life is not all about winning or losing. It is better to be at the bottom and be contented than be at the top and be unhappy. All men strive for happiness, do they not? There is no point in learning if it brings no happiness. Rather than focusing on having their students achieve academic excellence, schools should focus on cultivating the joy of learning in students. It is better to have average but enthusiastic and happy students rather than disgruntled and insecure students who have ‘A+’s everywhere.

Why I Love and Hate Monopoly

Many of us have played this game during our childhoods. Families would come together to bankrupt each other and there would be sounds of triumph, frustration and even the occasional table flip. Indeed, Monopoly can bring out the worst side of us. The greedy, desperate and selfish side. Many players joke that you’ll lose all your friends if you win the game. Thing is, it isn’t far from the truth, am I right? However, Monopoly remains to be loved by many and also serves to educate us about the principles of life. In this article, I will explain why I love and hate Monopoly at the same time. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter at bestofwrite.com. Without any further ado, let’s hop right in!

Why I Hate Monopoly

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The game can be frustrating at times and you know what I mean. You could be going to jail for the thousand-and-oneth time or landing on income tax, which takes away the cash you earned by passing GO. Or perhaps you went bankrupt by landing on a decked out Mayfair. Furthermore, the fact that the whole game is dictated by the roll of a dice means that you have absolutely no control over which property you will land on. In other words, it is dictated by pure chance and this can be quite unnerving for most people. You could have a good game followed by a bad game and potentially more bad games. What’s more, the game can be quite long and boring during the early game. I personally hate the game because of the feeling of unfairness it gives me. Landing on a ridiculously high-rent property is all it takes to bankrupt someone and when that happens, the owner of the property takes ownership of everything (yes, everything) the victim once owned, causing a huge power imbalance. Did I also mention that the chance and community chest cards can also kill you by sending you to jail, making you pay taxes and going to Mayfair? It can all end in an instant.

Why I Still Love the Game

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Monopoly, in a way, educates us about the facts of life. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. An economic crisis or pandemic could bring us back to square one and take everything we cherished away. In fact, I think that the main point Monopoly wants to drive is that everything can be taken away from you and one mistake is all it takes. Other than that, Monopoly also shows us what economic inequality means, such as the fact that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. On the other hand, it also sharpens your negotiation skills and tactics as you try to pry a targeted property from the grasp of another player. Did I also mention that Monopoly forces your kids to do math (without a calculator, that is)? Managing your assets and finances properly is also of paramount importance in Monopoly as well as in life. Finally, Monopoly is also a great game for families to bond over, as you laugh at each other’s expense and try to destroy each other. Isn’t it great? (I’m sarcastic, really)

Conclusion

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After all, Monopoly is just another board game, and like all board games, it tries to teach us something about life. For example, Chess is a game that shows you how a single blunder is enough to doom you, while Monopoly can teach you that life doesn’t always go as planned. What I think is most important is not winning at the game but mainly having a good laugh about it and learning from it. Isn’t that what board games are made for?

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, be sure to like and comment down below. Stay tuned for my next post.

Should You Read E-books Instead of Physical Books?

Almost everything is done online nowadays. Credit card payments, online shopping, you name it. As the internet and technology dominates our lives, we are given a choice as to whether we should or should not retain our old ways. This is particularly true for reading. Nowadays, even reading is done on our mobile devices and e-readers. Trips to the bookstore are now unnecessary as a click is all that it takes to order our books online, which is delivered instantly to our devices and e-readers. With that in mind, I will be discussing whether we should read e-books instead of physical books. Before you continue reading, do follow me and register for my newsletter so you won’t miss any of my articles.

My Experience

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Two years ago, I got myself the Kindle Paperwhite 4. Before that, I was mainly skeptical of the fact that reading was reduced to just reading a screen. It just felt unreal. To get started, all I had to do was have a stable wifi connection and my collection of e-books would download in the background. Furthermore, e-books usually only occupy about 2-5 MB of storage, which pales in comparison to the mighty 8 GB of storage the Paperwhite possesses. Well, your mobile phones could have higher amounts of storage of up to 256 GB or more, but 8GB is more than enough for an e-reader. This means that you could hold thousands of books on your device without worrying about storage issues. This was very beneficial for a person like me who does not have much space on my bookshelves. Your collection of books are also completely accessible wherever you bring your device, as e-books literally provide you with a portable bookshelf. Finding a book among the thousands of books you have in your collection is as simple as using the search function on your device. Another function that I am most grateful for is the ability to use a pre-installed dictionary together with your e-book. Gone are the days where you have to separately search for the meaning of an unknown word on Google. All you have to do is hold your finger over a word and it’s meaning will pop up right away. All I can say is that e-books have brought me great convenience and provided me with a great reading experience.

So What Does it Mean For You?

If you are like me and have very little bookshelf space, e-books are going to be a huge life-saver. Furthermore, e-books are usually cheaper compared to hardcopy books and may have promotions from time to time on Amazon or other platforms. The instant delivery is also a huge game changer. There’s just no need for a trip to your local bookstore anymore. Reading books in the dark have also become easier as your device provides lighting, so there’s no need to get yourself a portable reading light anymore. Some e-readers also have warm lighting that filter out harmful blue light and make reading in the dark much more enjoyable. One such e-reader is the Kindle Oasis. Do check out my review of the Kindle Oasis at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/28/kindle-oasis-a-review/.

However, Physical Books are Fine Too!

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Of course, the choice is ultimately yours. Some of you may be die-hard fans of hardcopy books. To you, nothing beats the smell of good-old paper and the feeling of turning a page. You could also be used to jotting down notes directly on the pages itself and underlining keywords with a pencil. On the other hand, physical books have no need for an internet connection or electricity. Last but not least, many treasure the feeling of ownership an e-reader or e-book cannot provide. So, in conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends entirely on what you prefer and all you have to do is to follow your heart.

Do comment down below whether you prefer e-books to physical books, or vice versa. Also, if this article was in any way helpful to you, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

How Curiosity is Relevant in the Modern World

Curiosity is the art of asking questions, no matter how dumb it might seem. As we age and mature, we gradually lose this ability. We are afraid that people would judge and criticise us. This is worsened by the fact that we are accustomed to following orders blindly, in the workplace or in school. As a result, we become mere machines, made to follow a specified routine or order. Our lives become meaningless. Curiosity, on the other hand, grants us the ability to think for ourselves and explore more about this world. In fact, many inventions would not exist if not for the curiosity of the scientists and engineers who designed them. In this article, we will explore why curiosity is important and how it influences our way of thinking. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. Remember to like and comment down below as well!

#1: It Enhances Observational Skills

Source: https://www.csoonline.com/article/3268030/the-best-cybersecurity-analysts-should-play-the-part-of-detective.html

Curiosity is said to be the defining factor which separates Sherlock Holmes from everyone else. While climbing a staircase, Sherlock would count the number of steps while a normal person would happily do so without any second thoughts. It is the curiosity of this famed detective that allowed him to be mindful of his surroundings and solve a crime using the tiniest of details, which an average joe would dismiss as normal or insignificant. As Sherlock famously proclaims, without curiosity “You see, but you do not observe.”

#2: It Lets You See Things In Different Perspectives

Source: https://www.livescience.com/can-you-ever-stop-thinking.html

As humans, it is common for us to think in a fixed and biased manner. Unable to see the world in a different perspective, we become rigid and inflexible. We are afraid to ask ourselves “what if?” Curiosity, however, grants us the ability to analyse a problem in different angles and find a solution, despite it being seemingly unsolvable. Sometimes, the solution to a problem is right in front of us. It just takes a curious mind to identify it. Nothing becomes unsolvable for you and with this mindset, you will have the potential to change the world.

#3: Your Mind Becomes Active and Sharp

Source: https://thriveglobal.com/stories/you-have-the-power-over-your-mind/

Instead of waiting to have answers delivered on a plate, as we are so used to, a curious mind will seek them for itself. In other words, it becomes proactive. Your mind becomes hungry for knowledge and starts to notice details which would otherwise be ignored. The mind is like a muscle; use it and it grows, leave it and it atrophies. Curiosity always gets your mind working and this results in greater intelligence, concentration and memory. As Samuel Johnson once said, “Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigourous intellect.” Indeed, intelligence is useless without curiosity, as the latter is the one that brings the former to use.

Conclusion

Curiosity is a skill that everyone must possess in this ever-changing world. We must not become overly dependent on the internet or technology to solve our problems. Only when we open our minds to different possibilities and perspectives can mankind advance further. On a side note, if you are curious about how you can build or destroy habits of any kind, check out my blog at www.bestofwrite.com/blog/. Thank you for reading!