Lack of Curiosity Might Keep the Cat Alive, But it Will be a Disaster for You.
I was curious about the old adage “curiosity killed the cat” so I looked it up. Perhaps you are already aware, but this is attributed to playwright Ben Johnson in the 1598 play “Every Man in His Humour” and the phrase was “Helter skelter, hang sorrow, care ‘ll kill a cat, up-tails all, and a louse for the hangman.”
So originally it was “care” killed the cat, which is defined as worry and sorrow for others. This is from Wikipedia, so take it for what it’s worth. Anyway, my point here is that you and I, we are NOT cats. And using curiosity for the true definition “a strong desire to learn something” I have an entirely different take on curiosity as it relates to you and me.
Without a Spirit of Curiosity, We Are in for a Rough Road.
If you aren’t curious, your dreams will be dead.
Without curiosity you will constantly be at odds with others.
Without curiosity you will rarely improve things.
Without curiosity you will be stuck in a small way of thinking.
Without curiosity you will learn very little on purpose.
I can go on and on here.
Each of Us Has Our Own Unique Lens Through Which We See and Interact With the World.
This is the first of my five aspects that create what I call the communication gap among people. Our lens is shaped by many factors that include our experiences, conditioning, culture, circumstances, education, personal development, physical and mental health, and a variety of other things.
You see something distinctly one way, and I may see it a whole different way. We have a choice. We can understand that this is the ONLY truth in a given scenario, or we can believe that that we are right and everyone else is wrong all the time.
To me, the development of wisdom is the deep understanding that I know very little in the big scheme of things. Therefor, the expression of wisdom is recognizing that the first order of events is to ask a question about why someone may see something differently, instead of trying to ram my way of thinking into their mind.
There are several great questions to use in day-to-day interactions with life. First let’s start with ourselves and our own beliefs about what we can and cannot do. When you are considering something as a possible pursuit, and your negative thinking and doubts jump into your brain and you begin to quickly move to “I can’ do that” or “that won’t work for me” or “I’m not good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, or whatever else you aren’t enough of” ask yourself this: “Is this true?” “How do I know this is true?” These beautiful self-curiosity questions come from the work of Byron Kaie, and they will very quickly expose the lies you are telling yourself and lead you in the direction of…”how can I make this happen?” This is a crucial area of self-learning as it will open up so many things you may have assumed aren’t possibilities for you. It’s how you make dreams happen.
When you are interacting with others, instead of assuming you know what they are taking about, ask a question of clarification. This curiosity in action will bring you closer into rapport with someone, and you will learn something. Afterall, the person you are speaking with knows a lot more about what they feel and believe than you do.
When someone has a position on a particular subject matter that is different from yours, instead of spending your time trying to convince them why what you think is best, you might try asking them to help you understand why they believe what they believe…you will learn something.
When you are in a negotiation and are focused on what you are trying to get, instead of locking into your position and trying to push them to what you want, why don’t you ask the other person what’s important for them to achieve? You might find a whole other route to an agreement that is WIN-WIN for both of you.
How about when you are worrying and perseverating on what you think could happen relative to things going on in your life. What if you were curious with yourself about what you are truly afraid of, and what steps you could take if in fact the thing happened as you feared (rarely does the thing you worry about actually happen). What if you considered that you might not know enough to even legitimately worry?
How about when you meet someone for the first time. Instead of trying to impress them with how awesome you are, what if you were curious as to who they are? Ask them to share their story with you and be curious about who they are and what experiences they have had in life.
I could take this into example after example, but I think you are getting the drift. I think we have a dearth of curiosity thinking in today’s world and a plethora of “I KNOW” thinking. Nothing will get you in trouble faster than thinking you know all the time.
I don’t and you don’t either. The world is a cruel place to the close-minded. Life is changing every second. Learn to be curious as often as you can. Bring it into every interaction you have. Tell yourself in the morning, “I will be curious today” and watch how things shape up differently.
There is a lot to learn. Let the child in you ask some questions. It will help you in every aspect of your life. If you found this at all helpful or insightful, feel free to share it with others. Maybe they’ll be curious enough to check it out!
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. If you would like a roadmap for living your best life, or what I refer to as your “richest life possible” check out 3 Circles Living.