C U R I O U S
Curiosity is a superpower.
It opens doors, keeps you engaged, keeps you learning, keeps you growing, keeps you evolving…
I personally have an INSATIABLE curiosity. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. And the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know! (It’s a total kick in the pants)
Curiosity manifests in multiple ways: reading, asking, exploring, experimenting.
I read basically anything I can get my hands on, usually nonfiction (though fiction can be just as insightful!). The topics I read about range from international relations to economics to finance to psychology to history to spiritual enlightenment to personal development to health/fitness to government/politics to leadership to business to…yeah, you get the idea. The more you do it, the more fun it becomes - you start making connections not only in your current reading, but in other areas: past readings, past experiences, current experiences, current situations.
The world starts to come together and make more sense (note I said more sense, not complete sense! There will always be mysteries and unknowns - part of the ride, my friend).
Not only do you start to see how things fit together, but you are better equipped to make wiser decisions: with your money, your career, your personal life. Knowledge is P O W E R, baby.
And if reading isn’t enjoyable/feasible for you, then try podcasts and audiobooks! After you’re all caught up on The Nativist Podcast (shameless plug!), there are countless fantastic and informational podcasts out there in practically every genre/format/vibe imaginable.
Need more motivation to become more curious?
In her book Dare to Lead on page 171, Brené Brown notes researchers are finding evidence that curiosity is correlated with creativity, intelligence, improved learning and memory, and problem-solving. A study published in the October 22, 2014 issue of the journal Neuron suggests the brain’s chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us better learn and retain information. H O L L A!
My curiosity also manifests in the questions I’m always throwing at people. I want to know DETAILS: background, wants, fears, ambitions, experiences, insights, philosophies, jobs, worldviews. I’m endlessly fascinated by people, social dynamics, psychology, motivations, and just LIFE in general.
Interestingly enough, I’m NOT a pryer - I respect boundaries and privacy, and play off the information the person provides me. I stay on the surface unless I either confirm willingness from the person or I sense their transparency.
And not only is curiosity better for you, it’s better for EVERYONE. It opens your mind and helps you co-exist more peacefully. Ignorance breeds fear and contempt. Illumination and knowledge punches fear and contempt in the face. We fear what we don’t know, whether it’s the stock market or a religion certain politicians like to tell us promotes terrorism.
It’s OUR responsibility to educate ourselves. To not rely on hearsay and rumors and news pundits. That’s when it gets dangerous (Nazi Germany, anyone?!). It’s on us to get out and explore and keep an open and curious mind.
Try not to just automatically accept information you receive, even if from an expert/trusted source. Identify possible biases/knowledge gaps; try to separate the facts from the underlying agenda. Let’s think for ourselves. Interact with foreign cultures, foreign ideas, foreign methods - so we can assess them ourselves and reach our own conclusions. It’s our civic duty, our personal duty, our moral duty.
Closed-mindedness is the enemy. Not only does it start wars and cultivate hate crimes, it fuels hatred and just makes life friggin’ MISERABLE for everyone. Everyyyyone. Not just the hated - those low vibing haters ain’t happy, either. Plus, it just limits everyone’s lives! It stunts innovation, rejects bliss, prevents growth. No bueno.
In his book Tribes, Seth Godin distinguishes between fundamentalism and curiosity.
Fundamentalist: considers whether a concept is acceptable to their worldview before exploring it.
Curious person: explores first and then either accepts or rejects the new idea.
This applies not only to religion, but life in general. Which are you? IMPORTANT QUESTION: Do you embrace the tension between your current framework and a new idea, or do you filter for what fits your current outlook?
As Godin states, curiosity has nothing to do with income, education, or organized religion. It has to do with a desire to try, a desire to push boundaries.
As I see it, curiosity is a weapon against mediocrity. It keeps us striving and evolving and innovating and ENGAGING IN LIFE. It helps us maximize our potential. Unlike stress and pressure which can be destructive and counter-productive, curiosity is a positive but powerful force propelling us forward. It illuminates the dark, reveals opportunities, generates ideas, yields solutions, smashes barriers, obliterates hatred, and nurtures self awareness.
When we look at life through a lens of curiosity, the world automatically feels safer, better, cooler. It feels more interesting, more fun, more awe-inspiring. It feels less threatening, less dangerous, less baffling, less negative.
The mundane suddenly becomes A W E S O M E. Curiosity has a way of reinvigorating your life. I mean, think about it: We live in an incredible world, with all of its intricacies and connections and features: in nature, in societies, in EVERYTHING. Once you start paying attention and WONDERING - the world becomes and infinite wonderland.
That’s one of the reasons I absolutely love kids: they’re constantly asking why, trying to make sense of the world (you parents constantly bombarded with questions may find them less charming!). Why do some people say yes when they mean no? Why do we do what we do and say what we say? Why is the sky blue and why is steel strong and why can’t we just write checks to pay for everything?
Bottom line: Curiosity rules. Don’t think so?