• 12 JAN 18
    The Power of Curiosity

    The Power of Curiosity

    “Be Curious, not judgmental.” – Walt Whitman

    Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat. Have you ever watched a child or a group of children play? A child’s imagination and curiosity are limitless. Nothing is impossible. Children ask “Why?” about everything – much to the annoyance of many parents. They’re not trying to be annoying, though. They’re soaking in all the ‘why’s’ that we take for granted as adults. They are the most curious beings on the planet and therefore the least judgmental.

    Sadly, when we lose that magical spark of childhood, we stop asking “why” and start believing we know all the answers to why things are the way they are. We all become judgmental to varying degrees. If we have an opinion, we have a judgment – whether it’s negative or positive. But having an opinion, being opinionated, isn’t bad or the problem, contrary to what some may believe. The problem is when we throw out our curiosity and start judging people in a way that labels them negatively, as if our judgements are now empirical. But our judgments are never empirical, they’re merely a reflection of who we are.

    We each have cultural, intellectual, religious/spiritual biases, that inform our assumptions when we encounter various people and things in our lives. Too often, though, people are quick to make an incorrect judgment based on these biases. But how often do we step outside of our frame of reference and ask someone about themselves, with true curiosity instead of the intent to judge, label, and even try to change the other person to conform to our way of being and thinking?

    If you think someone is rude, take them to lunch and find out who they really are. Maybe they’re just a ‘get-to-the-point-honest’ person. If you think someone is incompetent, ask them about their job. Maybe they weren’t trained correctly, maybe they have too much on their plate. Whatever your judgment is about someone, put it on the back burner and be curious about them instead. Curiosity lets us discover the character and stories of the people around us instead of making harsh judgments based on superficial encounters, or when our ego is bruised by another person. It allows respect, understanding, even friendship to grow between two people or a group of people. Gossip, however, is a curiosity killer and only fuels more negative judgment.

    Yes, there are times that judgments have to be made, after we discover someone who chooses not to be a good person. Or maybe we realize that while someone isn’t a bad person, it’s just not healthy for us to be around them for personal reasons. We just have to make sure we pull the giant tree limb out of our eye before we look for the grain of sand in someone else’s. That is the crux of curiosity – knowing that we don’t see the whole picture; that we’re not given all the information we need. We have to seek it.

    So be curious, not judgmental. Curiosity has the power to breed understanding and bring people together. If we seek mutual understanding, those who are judgmental lose their motivation. In today’s world, we need more understanding, more empathy, and less judgment.

    [by: Saskia Lynge]

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