Curiosity is embedded in daily life. I’m a proponent of embracing its gifts, with eyes wide open. Digging below the surface of any intriguing issue increases awareness, understanding and clarity. And who could argue with that?
On the flip side, think of the timeworn cautionary phrase, “curiosity killed the cat.” Curiosity can present dilemmas, risks and doubt. Ever vigilant, caution is quick to step in and shoo curiosity off centre stage. Sidestepping life’s troublesome issues may be tempting, but there’s a price to pay. Muting curiosity limits our understanding of issues, their context and relevance.
Fulfilling lives are fueled by being alert, aware and conscious of where to focus attention and energy. Truly understanding any issue requires time, curiosity, open-mindedness and reflection. For all of us, the process begins with embracing curiosity and assuming personal accountability. Staying silent and dulling curiosity limits learning, while leaving messaging and rationale to those with strong opinions, loud voices and unshakable confidence.
Being curious stretches your brain. As with underused muscles, not exercising curiosity diminishes your ability to adjust and respond quickly to life’s changing circumstances. Indifference limits understanding of what is, how things interconnect and possibilities.
Embracing curiosity takes daring. Progress is easier when your values and actions align. And yes, it involves stepping outside your comfort zone. Expect your gut to churn—mine does. That’s when I consult with my head and heart. Typically, my head is quick to caution and encourage me to speak up next time. Meanwhile my heart begs me to stay rooted, be curious and find my voice. I’d love to say that my heart always wins out, but I’m a work in progress.
Here’s what I strive to practice:
Be more curious than judgmental. (It gets you farther.)
Consciously decide what gets ignored/addressed and why. (Indifference is deadly.)
Listen to underlying messages of others (Clarity, respect and collaboration influence.)
Remember that next time may never come. (Now is present, so seize it.)
What strategies help you be true to yourself and embrace curiosity?