I told him: “When in doubt, get curious.”
Getting you out of your own way
Have you ever found yourself caught in a conversation not knowing what to say? Try getting curious. No matter how different or familiar, or boring or intimidating the person you’re talking to seems, curiosity can be a game-changer. Try asking them, for example, what they would do with their life if money wasn’t a concern or what is one of their biggest worries right now or what talent they have that not a lot of people know about… Suddenly, you’re no longer in your head and, instead, immersed in the whole new world contained within that person. Plus, getting to peek into that world increases your understanding of them immensely.
Curiosity pointed inward
Invoking curiosity towards yourself is also really powerful, especially when you’re feeling activated. The other day I caught myself being stingy around something and my first impulse was to shame myself. Instead, I decided to get curious.
I asked myself questions like: ‘Where did that come from?’, ‘What am I fearing?’, ‘What do I need to cultivate or let go of in order to not feel such a lack?’ Instead of beating up on myself, curiosity led me to a place of deeper understanding and affection for myself (the cornerstones for breaking through limiting patterns). And since a sense of curiosity often stokes our sense of humor, I also had a little laugh over it all.
Just think about the wonder and delight in babies and small children as they start discovering the world around them… Well, curiosity is the doorway to that.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein
The Curiosity Challenge
For the rest of the day, I challenge you to let curiosity lead the way! When you feel awkward, get curious. When you’re feeling triggered, get curious. When you’re feeling desperate to impress, get curious. When you feel stuck, get curious. Let this elixir of wonder change the alchemy of any situation.
I’ve been letting curiosity lead my way this week and, so far, it’s helped me turn a hurt around a friend into a learning opportunity, turn a potential “opponent” into an ally, and observe my shifting moods with fascination instead of irritation.
Thank you, Curiosity.
“’Curiosity never killed this cat’ — that’s what I’d like as my epitaph”
– Studs Terkel