“Love is the power to burst out of limitations and experience unity with other forms. Curiosity is a form of this power. It is the impulse, expressed through the intellect, to imagine the truth of something other than self. Curiosity is a compound of consciousness formed by imagination and longing.” Roland Toy
Curiosity is a powerful tool to change our lives, spark creativity and infuse our lives with possibility, and to become more creative. Curiosity is the engine that drives learning, new ways to interact with the world, and opens doors (and windows) to new worlds.
If our very consciousness is infused with an element of curiosity, and longing, it is our natural state of mind. In that case, it is just a matter of uncovering what already exists in us. These inclinations were often stifled in us as children; Einstein said it was a miracle that curiosity survives a formal education. Even as adults, we are surrounded by and bombarded with messages telling us to go to sleep and quit asking questions-curiosity is systematically stamped out. Perhaps fewer people ask questions because they are afraid of what the answers might be.
It is interesting that Curiosity has also been linked with sin and evil. When blind faith is prescribed, and questions are punished in a government, religion or group, curiosity is dangerous. Curiosity is dangerous to the status quo!
If you decide to live dangerously, and nurture a healthy curiosity, and possibly shake up your world, then here are some ways to do it.
- Search out and question your assumptions. People with curios minds don’t assume they already know the answers. A stance of unknowing makes them open to new possibilities, and to seeing new answers for old problems.
- Ask questions. Develop a sense of wonder. This makes your mind active, rather than passive. Writers root out the passive voice in fiction with a passion; we should bring the same passion to rooting out a passive mind.
- The first question to ask oneself is, “What am I curious about? What am I interested in learning more about?” Even if it is just a glimmer of interest, pursuing it could lead to a passion.
One person I know makes a point of asking himself that question every new year. He asks what he is curious about, or interested in and then goes off and does it, whether it is building a radio from scratch, learning to sail, or learning to speak Italian.
Follow your passion is one insidious idea that is touted as gospel in recent times. People are desperate to discover their passion, or are depressed because they are afraid to quit their day job to follow their bliss. Kindling curiosity is a better way to find your path. In a recent interview Elizabeth Gilbert said:
“Forget about the notion of passion, and give your attention to your curiosity. Passion burns hot and fast, which means it can come and go. Curiosity is so accessible and available, every single day of my life. Only when I was in very deep, medicated depression did I not have curiosity. But most of the time, when you’re stuck, you can think, Is it possible that you can’t find one little tiny thing in the world that is interesting to you? And it may eventually lead you to your passion. But it’s also a cultivated skill, to learn to acknowledge and respect your curiosity.”
If you are curious to learn more, read the interview with Elizabeth Gilbert about how curiosity leads to creativity