Curiosity and the Cat - How curiosity can lead to possibility
I attend Creative Mornings in Detroit (www.creativemornings.com). CM is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community. They host these great events where they enlist presenters in multiple cities around the world to speak on the topic of the month. It is inspiring, motivational and a great way to learn about things you might not have had exposure to. This month the presentation centered around curiosity and the speaker was Ber-Henda Williams, a poet and author (www.ber-hendawilliams.com).
Through the morning we discussed the power of curiosity, how as humans we are innately curious, and how from a young age we are told to hamper our curiosity. Williams very astutely pointed out that we tell our kids to “mind their own business” shutting them off from the natural instinct of wanting to know more.
It made me immediately think of how we always caution people that curiosity killed the cat… I mean, how much dire can you get?! If you seek to explore something new, it could get you killed!! Talk about dissuasion…
Now, as I further reflect, I can honestly say that curiosity has driven the creating of anything and everything in society. The whole idea of asking “what if” has driven the biggest innovations in society today. What if instead of carrying this huge boulder, I could create a sphere like tool that will allow me to roll it instead of pushing or carrying it. What if instead of cooking things over a fire and burning them, I could cook them on a hard surface that would allow me to better control the heat? What if I made a sandwich of chocolate and marshmallows with Graham Crackers serving as the bun? Holy crap that’s good.
The reason we try anything is because we are curious. Oh look, new show from the creators of “Lost”, I’m curious, I’ll check it out. Oh look, new restaurant opened in mid-town, let’s give it a try…
Curiosity is the driving force of finding new things that will lead to a change in what we have done before. It allows us to gather more information so that we can make an informed decision if it is the right path for us. If it wasn’t for curiosity we would do the same things over and over again for the end of time. How exciting does that sound?!
So, my question is this… if we know that being curious and being open to new things allows us to grow and find new possibilities, why are we so hesitant to take action on things we are curious about? Why do we let fear get in the way of finding out new information?
Well, mostly we do not want to get hurt. It is safer to do things the same way we always have than trying something new that might not work out. We are safe, but the tradeoff is the opportunity cost of not learning something new…
The funny thing though is that most of the time, taking that fearful step has no repercussions. Sure, things might not work out, but then you are at the same place as you were before. And wasn’t that the place where you felt so comfortable that you were hesitating to try something new? Let’s say you really want a job you have no experience in. What do you have to lose if you contact the hiring manager to learn more about the position and state your case? Where could that conversation lead you to?
Now I am not telling you to go ahead and sell your house and go start your own business without thinking it through first. Of course some things have serious repercussions and need to be considered thoughtfully. What I am suggesting is that you take some time to say yes more often than no. To try things out to see where they might lead you. To be curious.
I will leave you with this… Jia Jiang has a great book and Ted Talk about overcoming rejection called Rejection Proof. He decided to take the Rejection Therapy challenge (https://www.rejectiontherapy.com) and document his journey of trying new things that would more than likely result in rejection. He did things such as asking a stranger for $100 bucks and asking a donut shop to make donuts in the form of the Olympic Symbol. What he found out is that if you don’t run from rejection, it could lead you to different ways to accomplish your goals, or better yet, it might even get you what you wanted, if you only took the time to ask.
Here is his Ted Talk:
I am challenging you to ask questions, regardless of repercussions. Don’t mind your own business. There is a wonderful world out there that is just waiting for you to be curious about it and ask to learn more. Aren’t you a curious cat with nine lives to spare? Isn’t one of those worth the risk of immense possibility?
Andre Mello is a Business Coach and one curious cat. He has been in marketing and leadership for over 17 years. If you would like to connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com.