Earlier this week, the New York Times published an article about recent research into “novelty seeking” personality traits. They quote phenomenally well-named journalist Winifred Gallagher* (phenomenal name), from her new book, “New: Understanding Our Need for Neweness and Change”, where she contends that one of our healthiest traits as a species is our need for novelty. We have an evolutionary disposition to find that next shit, whether it’s seeing what’s on the other side of this ice-bridge to North America, or it’s getting really excited (for 3 months) about the newest trend in hip hop. The article makes the case that this is both healthy, because it can lead you to lead an active, adventurous life, and unhealthy, because it can make you compulsive.
The point is, you should try new stuff, get excited about new stuff, and search for new stuff, because it’s a good reason to live your life and will keep you engaged. However, the article makes that point that the best way to embrace your neophilia is to couple it with two other personality traits: persistence and self-transcendence. Without those traits, your Neophilia will actually hold you back:
“Neophilia spurs us to adjust and explore and create technology and art, but at the extreme it can fuel a chronic restlessness and distraction.”
So, that’s a thing. Do with it what you will. You should also take the NYTIMES adventurous test, to see where you rank. I got a 52! Adventurous! F yeah!
Henry Goldman is founder of yr an adult. He knows. He’s working on it.