Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people
– Leo Burnett
From my primary blog here.
If it weren’t for curiosity, most animals would never leave the nest. Some have suggested we’d also have more cats in the world, but it’s a double-edged sword like everything else in life. Imagination would never create knowledge, experience, and wisdom without at least an ounce of wonder. Incidentally, you’re never too old to stare at the sky in amazement, and the world will never run out of new things to show you if you look.
Seeing the Universe in a Drop of Water
Curiosity is that tenacious capacity to marvel at life and ask questions. Hopefully, we see it and demonstrate it every day. If you don’t, I suggest spending a little more time with your children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. When we’re young, it’s remarkably easy to get lost in a question; it’s only as we become older and more jaded that we tend to ignore the beauty of life. The splendid news is that life doesn’t have to be this way. Each morning is another chance to re-kindle your curiosity and thirst for answers.
There’s a skill set here which is uncommon, however. It seems to me to be human nature, but the more experienced we become with anything, the less attention we pay it. I do mean anything, by the way: our homes, our neighborhood, our jobs, our children, our lives. Speaking of the people I know, we start out enamored with everything around us but become indifferent with time. Eventually, we feel we have a “good enough” understanding of our environment, and we ignore most of it. What’s even worse is the tendency to pile distractions on top of every moment – as if a moment’s peace were a bad thing.
Making Curiosity a Daily Habit
And that is the crux of it. Curiosity has to be something that we practice on a regular basis. I believe it will only rarely manifest in life without our own, direct intention. For example, you may see a new development or gadget that starts your mind to wonder, but it won’t be long until ignorance becomes the norm again. Instead of stuffing each minute of your day until it bursts, take an opportunity to de-clutter. There are some things that aren’t optional, but many of our daily tasks—and much of our time—is a commitment to nothing at all. The time you spent on YouTube? Probably not as enlightening as you would hope. Your daily dive into the depths of Wikipedia? Well, how much did you really retain, and how actively were you studying?
Instead, take a moment—or dare to take a day!—and power down the digital distractions. Give your social media just a temporary break; it’ll still be there when you get back. Instead of your usual routine, find an opportunity to just marvel at something and ponder its design or purpose. Your focus can be as foolish as you like. Pick up a child’s toy and wonder at why it was fashioned as it was or how it was manufactured – and by whom? Find a flower in your back yard and consider where the seed may have come from and all of the tiny chances that were required for it to bloom. Better still, spend an hour watching the sun slowly set and think about those not far away who are seeing it rise on their horizon.
Whatever you do, maintain your curiosity and never surrender your sense of wonder for the world and people around you.
Thank you for your time.