Our son is six weeks old now. He studies and studies what is outside his nursery window. He stares intently at the black and white images we’ve printed for him. He watches as if the greatest dance ever is being performed in front of him when I make simple movements with my hands.
You can’t watch a little one like this and not see how much we are wired to be fascinated by the world.
He’s taught me this lesson already: Our natural relationship to the world is not indifference. It is curiosity. [Click to Tweet]
We come into life as learners. We come into life excited by the world, waving our arms and kicking our legs because what’s before us is just so damn remarkable. If curiosity has to be sparked later, in older children or adults, it’s because something has gone wrong and their natural curiosity has been dampened along the way.
Soul-crushing jobs or schooling, unhealed emotional trauma, addictive behaviors like chronic overeating or workaholism, or simply being run by too many internal “shoulds”—all of these can slowly kill off our curiosity because all of those things numb us to life.
This all matters for your playing big. You’ve heard about “following your passion and “following your bliss.” Another way to think about this is: follow your curiosity. Perhaps when “finding your passion”seems daunting or “follow your bliss” seems too tall an order, “following your curiosity” is a more accessible entry point in.
In to what? To a career you’ll love or to an outside-of-work life (a reading life, a creative life, a hobby life, a volunteering life, etc.) that you’ll love. Curiosity is a way in to the life that will feel thrilling to you, in the way every quiet life can feel thrilling, if it’s filled with the right things.
There’s two truths about curiosity: Particular topics, kinds of work, books, people, etc. will pique your curiosity. The things that pique your curiosity have something to do with what work you are meant to do next, what lessons you are meant to do next, what your spirit is craving. In other words, you can follow your curiosity to your next right chapter.
But the other truth is this: you can get curious about anything. You can bring curiosity to the table, even the most seemingly boring, full-of-drudgery table. You can find something in it to get curious about (How did this situation evolve? What’s possible here? What’s strange about this situation? How could it be that…? What would happen if I did…? and so on) You make it part of your life-learning curriculum by the way you look at it, the questions you ask.
A question to reflect on today—and share your answer with us in the comments please: what is sparking my curiosity now, and what would “following my curiosity” look like in my life or work right now?