Ep 181: How to Use Mystery to Motivate Teens

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As parents and people, we tend to seek out certainty. We keep our kids in the same schools so they can have consistent friends. We cook the same group of recipes, so we’re sure to have something ready for dinner without too much stress. And we encourage our kids to study hard so they'll be sure to get good grades, get into a good college, and get a good job. We feel that if things are certain, we can live comfortably without worrying about our teens too much…even if it can get a little boring!

But what about mystery? Could adding a little bit of unpredictability into our lives make us happier? Might it prepare our teens better for the complicated world ahead? The truth is that uncertainty can be good for us…even if we try our best to make our lives predictable! Our guest this week champions uncertainty…in fact, he believes we should all encourage ourselves and our teens to incorporate a little mystery into our lives.

This week, we’re sitting down with Jonah Lehrer, author of Mystery: A Seduction, A Strategy, A Solution. Jonah is a neuroscientist who’s written multiple bestselling books, as well as contributed to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and more! After discovering his son’s fascination with mystery, Jonah dove into research about the effects of unpredictability on the adolescent mind. Now, he’s here to talk about just how powerful uncertainty can be!

In our interview, Jonah explains why curiosity is an essential component of effective teen learning, and we discuss the importance of experiencing awe for both adolescents and adults. Plus, Jonah emphasizes the significance of living with uncertainty instead of searching for finite answers.

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