Curiosity. Its the secret. Really. It is. Its the secret to living a happy life. Happiness is a result of fulfillment. Fulfillment is the product of knowing your core values and taking action to satisfy them. Action is the consequence of being curios about a potential outcome. Curiosity is stimulated by the appeal and attractiveness of the outcome. “What if…” you ask yourself as you daydream about your crush, or your vacation, or a new business venture, or car, or experience.
Curiosity is Life
One of the strangest things we’ve done to ourselves as badass human beings is to mistakenly see ourselves as Knowers. Remember when your parents, friends or even teachers scolded you for not knowing something? What feelings were (or are) there for you? I felt shame, embarrassment, and some confusion. Really strong confusion. “How was I supposed to know?” I once asked. I got a chewing out for that remark. That response changed me. It changed my perception of learning, and of what is expected of me. I was expected to Know (even though I didn’t know what I was supposed to know, much less how I would come to know it).
I experienced this kind of intense frustration very early on after that event. I was five. I was attempting to learn how to tie my shoes. My mother would show me, then I would try and fail. It didn’t make sense to me. “You should know by now” some of my friends said as I would have a teacher tie my shoes for me. I shrugged. I was trying to know. I was trying to do it right.
Then I became curios about why it wasn’t working. And that’s when the breakthrough happened. I realized I had to hold my fingers a certain way, and it would work. And it did. Over and over.
Fast forward seven years. I was seriously into computers. I was attempting to install a Seagate 20MB MFM hard drive in my Tandy 1000SX. I was told by a computer expert this wasn’t possible. I laughed at him and went home to figure it out. It took two weeks. I knew once i figured out the address switch combination that the computer needed, it would boot. Everything else was lined up. I just had to persist.
I succeeded. I remember that moment. So fine. So rewarding. All because I was diehard curious. I could see myself succeeding because of my curiosity. I also learned something I wouldn’t realize till 22 years later:
We are Discoverers. Not Knowers
“We MUST go on…” – Kane.
Think about it. What do we do the best? What draws us into doing new things? What drives us to explore Mars, the Moon, the Ocean, or the strange noise in the backyard in the middle of the night?
Carol Dweck’s bool, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success“, discusses the value of curiosity over knowing. Carol calls these two types of mindsets Fixed Mindset (knowing) and Growth Mindset (curiosity). She found that the most consistently successful people operate from a mentality of exploring and discovering what works reliably. They’re willing to fail in order to succeed because they know the failure is teaching them where to go next.
Further, the failures are not interpreted in the lens of self-esteem or worth. In fact, the self-image of those people didn’t rely on the outcome as much it relied on the value of the effort they invest (this is why curiosity is part of the 7 Principles of Being Badass). Carol explains that valuing effort inspires more curiosity, and sets us up for a resilient confidence within ourselves.
(Btw, I strongly recommend this book. It is part of my core curriculum that I’ve designed my coaching courses from).
Making Curiosity Part of Life
How did it feel as a child on Christmas morning? What did your body feel? Write it down. Lets compare it to the qualities of feeling curios:
- “What if…”ing
Is this how you felt on that morning? What other times did you feel these things?
This is you being curios. See how natural it is?
Here’s how you apply it to life now: Approach it from a playful point of view.
Start asking questions and opening up to possibilities and the eventual answers. Questions like:
- What else is possible?
- What is playful for me in this?
- What do I want to discover?
- What have I discovered?
Questions inspire curiosity and prime us into action to find the outcome. We become more receptive, teachable, and less resistant to change. We also evolve and improve quickly.
What will you discover as you begin to get curious?
Let me know!
Your friend and tour guide for today,