Inquiring minds encourage us to be curious
Published on September 17, 2021 by Reen Rose
Last night, I was reading a piece in the Globe and Mail, about Leylah Fernandez. She’s the 19-year-old Canadian who’s advanced to the US Open tennis final. By the time this is published, she will either be a grand slam champion, or runner up.
The paper quoted her dad and coach as saying, “The art of being a great coach is understanding that you know nothing. And when you know nothing, all you do is get hungry to find out.”
This caught my attention and started me thinking about curiosity.
What comes to mind when you think about this word?
I’m willing to bet that “curiosity killed the cat” entered the heads of many of you. That’s where my mind went.
Although that was the saying I thought of first, it’s about the only one I could find that frowns upon curiosity. There are many quotes that encourage us to question.
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”
— Ken Robinson
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
— Albert Einstein
Dr. Jean Piaget defined curiosity as an urge to explain the unexpected. It’s one of the precepts for well-being that I share in my book Modelling Happiness.
Humans are natural learners. If you allow your inquisitive nature to roam freely, you’ll boost your sense of happiness.
It has other benefits as well.
- Curiosity encourages creativity and makes it easier to adapt to new situations.
- It fosters the discovery of novel solutions.
- It reduces conflict and encourages communication.
Research also shows that curious people are less likely to fall into a confirmation bias. This is the tendency to notice information that supports your already held opinions and overlooks things that don’t.
If you find yourself becoming judgmental as you go on your quest for knowledge, you may be falling prey to this bias.
I wonder if our pandemic experience would change if we assumed we knew nothing and instead decided to get curious. Of course, that would involve letting go of our currently held beliefs, assumptions, and judgements.
It’s not about whether other people agree with you. It’s about gaining a clearer understanding of multiple perspectives, and maybe uncovering something totally new in the process.
This is the strangest time I’ve ever lived through. When there was talk about a second wave of COVID-19 last fall, I didn’t for one second consider a year later we’d be experiencing the fourth wave.
Now I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about an eighth one.
Rather than getting caught up in politics and negativity, try fostering an open mind and get curious about yourself, your life, and your world.
In the words of Debasish Mridha, “Curiosity is the origin of knowledge. Experience is the origin of wisdom.”
Let’s replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. It’s a perfect time in history to become both wiser and better informed.
About Reen Rose
Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.
Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.
Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.
Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.
Email Reen at Reen@ReenRose.com
Check out her websites at ReenRose.com, or ModellingHappiness.com