Being a Curiosity Rookie
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Voltaire
I like to think I’m a curious person.
I think the world is an interesting place, and I believe that most people have interesting stories. One of my strengths is “Input," which means that I routinely pay attention to new things. I dig 'em.
However, when I take my kids into an unfamiliar environment, they make me feel I'm a curiosity lightweight.
I remember arriving early to an appointment. The person’s door was locked, so I settled back against the wall to wait for them. I used the time to dink around on the phone. Check email. Tweet. Stare at my shoes.
My kids immediately got on the ground and peered through the mail slot to see if there was any movement inside. Sure enough, there was someone inside; they just hadn’t heard our knock. Had I truly lived up to my self-perception as Mrs. Curious, I'd have really investigated to see what's what with the locked door.
This inattention to details seems even more severe in comfortable, familiar settings. For instance, when my daughter started riding in the front passenger seat, I learned things about my car that I had owned for seven years! She discovered the extra sunshade that flips down to fill the space just above the rear-view mirror (so nice!). She finds “lost” objects (CDs that I have been missing for months) and discovers a new way to configure my radio (and I still don’t know how her radar tunes to all stations playing Taylor Swift).
Of course, my husband Billy says this is evidence that I don't read my owner's manual. I wish it were that simple.
I'm simply not curious enough. I am trapped by thinking exploring my car would be useless. If a button doesn't have an obvious function, why do I need to know what it does?
Before you judge me too harshly, think about this idea outside a car environment and consider what you might be missing in your world: at the office, with friends, in nature.
Challenge yourself to consider...
- Are you asking enough questions?
- How often do you wonder if there’s a new approach to a situation?
- What have you rejected as unimportant because you don't readily understand it?
- Do you consider that people look at a situations differently from you?
- What fascinating gifts, thoughts, or ideas does another person have?
- Is there a simpler way to do the things you do?
- Is there a “button” that you need to find to help solve a problem?
I’m learning that for me to have a different perspective I need, at least in part, to be asking different questions, and those questions will always be steeped in curiosity.
What do you think?