Curiosity is a super-power.
Such a simple statement, but with so much impact. The image you see for this post is my 4-year old son, Everest, picking something off the ground during a hike and asking me what it is.
Let’s all turn back time for a second… and relive our stories together.
They probably go something like this –
- Years ago you were born. You came into this world knowing nothing. Literally nothing.
- Science has taught us that you were born with 2 fears – one of loud noises and the other of falling. Everything else is developed and learned from experience.
- From your first words to your first steps, you became a creature of curiosity. You started messing with everything you could get your little hands on. Your favorite word was “WHY” by the time you reached age 3. It drove your parents nuts.
- As a young child you started actually using things, building them, breaking them, observing how they work, and ultimately making sense of your curiosity of things. You were a knowledge sponge.
- Then you became a teenager and started to explore your emotional side. You became curious of love, friendship and social dynamics. You experimented to better understand what human connection feels like.
- You absorbed vast amounts of worthless information in high school, most of which you cannot recite today. There was likely a small amount that you still use today in your current “work.”
- Some of you moved on to a university where you were forced to decide on an academic major to specialize in. One which had very little context or inquisition into your greatest potential.
- And then something BIG happened…
- You were told it’s time to find a job and become an adult. This is precisely when [most of] you stopped being curious.
The game completely shifted. Instead of learning and playing you inherited a job because that’s what society told you to do.
You need the job so you can:
Pay the bills for… the things you use, that… keep you in debt so… you continue to need money, which… requires a job.
Funny how that works out, huh?
Fast forward to today:
Your job demands a lot, which… leaves you drained when you get home, and… prevents no time for anything outside of… getting a quick workout in, making dinner, cleaning, taking care of your family, etc.
So the only thing you’re really curious about right now is whether or not Netflix added anything new since you checked last night. It didn’t. So you rewatch Game of Thrones and pass out on the couch… only to rinse and repeat tomorrow.
Are you smiling yet? 🙂
At any rate, the primary point is that you stopped being curious. The game used to be one of curiosity, but now it’s evolved into a game of necessity.
I have to do x because of y – instead of – I choose to do x to understand y.
By removing curiosity as your driver, you shut off the most innate human trait that enables us to do great things. Our biggest achievements as a human race start with curiosity. They stem from:
- Asking why and how
- Wondering what’s possible
- Wondering if there’s a better way
- Ultimately looking for progression
The very few of us who stay curious end up being labeled as pioneers and visionaries. When in reality, we’re just the group that decided society should shut up and turn around. We’ll take it from here, thanks.
Knowledge is power, folks. Don’t ever let someone convince you otherwise.
And here’s the best part:
- Curiosity keeps life interesting
- Curiosity is great for your brain and overall health
- Curiosity is easy to do
- Anyone and everyone can be curious
- It’s never too late to become and stay curious!
So now I would ask you to evaluate your life and ask yourself, “Am I being curious?”
If not, here are some simple tips to become curious again.
- Stop believing what people say. Do some research and/or experience things for yourself. There is great reward in learning by doing.
- Start by asking WHY. But don’t just ask it once. The first few answers are bullshit. Ask it 4-5 times to truly get to a meaningful answer.
- Give your brain time and space to be bored. It will naturally filter out the nonsense and work its way back to curiosity if you allow it.
If you’re a parent, start watching your children. Don’t just sit in the living room with them while simultaneously scrolling through Facebook. Put the devices away and actually WATCH your child. Be fully present with them and I promise you’ll see what real curiosity looks like.
I do this daily and it’s one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent. I LOVE watching my children. In fact, I binge watch them regularly. I learn as much from them as they learn from me. It’s beautiful.
I will leave you with a quote from one of the Kings of curiosity –
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”
– Albert Einstein
Now go fourth and be curious!
Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.