Scratching the Itch of Curiosity
I learned something today while being curious about ‘curiosity’.
“…curiosity is ‘sparked’ or harnessed when it is properly engaged while considering other emotions including fascination with novelty or feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and anger.”
Although I do think of myself as unique, a novelty is probably stretching it.
However the states of uncertainty, anxiety, fear and anger – those aren’t a stretch at all. Those were the emotional companions that ultimately led me into being Actively Curious. At the time, my inner voice had more questions than answers:
“Why do I feel restless?” “I feel I have more to contribute, but what is it?” and “How come I can’t figure this out after all these years?” and, the big one for me, “When will this constant questing stop?”
As I found myself saying in my interview with Gregor Craigie: as I looked around at my over-burdened shelves of self-help books I had to ask: Why was I not already self-helped?
I was in The Gap. The Information Gap of Curiosity is a theory developed by George Loewentein. The Gap is the space that appears “between what we know and what we want to know”. One writer described it as feeling “like a mental itch, a mosquito bite on the brain. We seek out new knowledge because we that’s how we scratch the itch.”
When the teacher finally appeared, I was more than ready to scratch that itch! That was several years and a career-change ago now. Did it have to be a career change? No. That was my choice and for me it was the right choice.
Since that time, curiosity continues to be my constant companion. However now it’s harnessed into how to most effectively facilitate (make easier) the journey of self-awareness for others in The Gap.
There’s a peacefulness and purposefulness in my curiosity now. It’s lead to the creation of the Work/Life Clarity program; it will lead to further innovation in the future.
Here are 4 things you can do to stimulate your curiosity:
- Ask. The opportunities for asking are everywhere. Note: Asking if you already know the answer isn’t authentic curiosity.
- Listen. Listening while you are already formulating the answer in your mind is not authentic curiosity. Open yourself up! It’s OK to be amazed, awed, flabbergasted, startled, or AHA’d!
- Dabble. Take a small step in a safe way to try something you’ve not done before. I once tried milking a cow – came away with very little milk but a lot of respect for dairy farmers and patient cows.
- Stretch. Notice what peaks your interest and before you discount it… try it, read it, taste it, watch it.