Did curiosity really kill the cat?
It’s an old story that we’re all told at some point, a story that sticks and has trouble letting go. I don’t know if curiosity killed the cat, but I do know that the story itself has played a part in killing many dreams.
I wrote on the topic of curiosity late last year. I approached it then from a practical standpoint, and I think it’s one of my better articles on one of the most helpful topics we can discuss. That’s why I wanted to remind you of it and then write about it again here, this time in the form of a more meditative essay, take one more shot at it, from a bit of a different angle. I believe it’s that important, so let’s go …
As children, we’re naturally curious. About everything.
We know very little about the world. So we head out there with our parents and grandparents, eyes wide open, taking in everything we can, as fast as we can.
There are endless questions about how things work and why things are the way they are. Our little human brains are powerful sponges in these years, soaking up incredible amounts of information all day long.
What a time! I mean, can you imagine having even a fraction of that kind of wonder and curiosity as an adult? Can you imagine how interesting you’d be, how alive, how fully human?
But then, at a time that differs for everyone, we start to clam up a bit. I don’t know if it’s the worries of the world that we all face, or specific difficulties and traumas that hit us individually, but we begin to turn inward in the worst kind of way.
Oh, the glow of curiosity may still be there for a long while, but faintly.
As the years roll by and new responsibilities and struggles show themselves, we get busy trying to manage our lives, instead of looking with awe at the life and and the world God has created for us.
I get it, we all have to “grow up.”
We become parents and grandparents, we take on incredible responsibility, we face challenge after challenge for decades on end.
I don’t believe any of this is reason enough to abandon curiosity.
In fact, I believe that if we can manage to rekindle some of that childhood curiosity, it will not only make for better lives, it can give us a kind of superpower to face the world with. And I do mean the real world.
How would your days be different if you faced difficult responsibilities at work from a posture of curiosity rather than frustration or anger? Do you think it could open your mind to creative problem-solving that could, in turn, revolutionize your career?
What if you approached your friendships with genuine curiosity? Genuinely asking questions about others’ lives, dreams, goals … do you think that might strengthen those friendships?
What if you looked ahead to your future with a curiosity mindset, instead of fear or dread? Do you think it might enable you to think more clearly and playfully about where you want to end up, giving you a better chance at making it a reality?
Let me be clear, I’m not arguing that we, as adults, should walk around our world in a continual childlike state. That would be the definition of foolishness.
I am arguing that, no matter where you are or what you’re doing — from researching a business deal to hanging out with family and friends — an injection of curiosity into the situation can only make it better, more creative, and more memorable.
So, just how curious are you these days, my friend?
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