Tag Archives: Curiosity

What Catches Your Interest?

The other day I was walking down the street, just ambling along. It was the weekend, and I had slept in a little bit later than normal. As such I hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I was a bit hungry, although that wasn’t my only purpose for going out. It was a nice day so I decided to stroll downtown to look in the shops, do some people watching, and eventually gets something to eat. You know how when you do this, it can be better. You just float along without any particular destination in mind. People can really enjoy doing this. It can be better than the other way.

So I was just looking in shops, occasionally flirting with girls I passed on the street when I bumped into an old friend. He’s the kind of friend that one would consider low maintenance. The kind that you only need to send a random email to every few months to keep each other up to date on things. Then when you get together, you can quickly remember all those good times you’ve had together, and all those good feelings can help you to really enjoy the present. Other friendships are so lucky, and you have to consistently keep them going. It’s almost like when you were a kid and you convinced your mom to buy you a hamster. It looked really cute in the store, but when you got I home and realized what pain it was to maintain, it didn’t seem so cute any more. And the paradoxical thing is that although it became a pain, this slowly turned into a commitment that through completely different reasons caused you to maintain an interest.

Just before I bumped into my friend, I noticed a commotion across the street. It had seemed that there was a sizeable crowd gathered. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we humans are highly susceptible to follow the crowd, even though many of us don’t like to admit it. When we see a crowd it becomes very hard to resist finding out what the heck is going on.

So naturally I crossed the street to investigate. It was a new surf shop that mainly had surfboards and peripherals. I’ll admit I know absolutely nothing about surfing, which is embarrassing having grown up in a beach town where surfing is popular. The draw was two girls dressed in bikinis, which were one of many clothing items that the store apparently carried. The two girls were professional models who were hired for a couple hours. Their job was to stand outside during lunchtime and attract as many customers as possible. Obviously it worked

Despite my complete lack of knowledge regarding surfing, I nevertheless had to take a look inside. It’s interesting when you look at something. As I was looking at all the surfboards on display, I couldn’t help but notice that some were really interesting, and I couldn’t help but to get really curious about their design and origin. Others that I didn’t think were as interesting only earned a passing glance. Which is interesting in and of itself, the way interest is generated and all that. Why would one surfboard catch one person’s interest, and another surfboard seem completely boring? Not to mention all the accessories, not that I have any idea what they are used for. I ended up spending about twenty minutes walking around the inside of that surf shop. I guess the owner really knew what he was doing when he hired those two bikini models.

After I found out that my friend hadn’t eaten yet either, we decided to head down to a Thai restaurant. There, you can order based on scale of hotness. I always appreciate a spicy meal, so I endeavor to go as hot as I can take it. My friend, on the other hand, being from the south, doesn’t have much of a taste for spicy food, and likes to keep to dishes of four or less.

Let Your Curiosity Lead the Way

I met a woman and her husband yesterday as I was hanging out in my favorite mall coffee shop. They were very friendly, and we had a lot in common, so we chatted for quite a while. He was telling me that they were getting ready to be relocated to the other side of the country. It was a promotion, so he was getting more money, and better benefits. But nevertheless, they were both nervous. They had both lived in this relatively small town their whole lives, and were going to be moving to a big city. You know how it is, right? You feel comfortable, like you’ve gotten the hang of everything, then suddenly it gets all turned upside down. You don’t know if you will be ok, or get what you need. You don’t even know where to start because everything is so new. On the one hand, you are glad to have this opportunity, but on the other hand, you are nervous, because you don’t know how this will turn out, and you don’t even know how to proceed.

They were telling me how their daughter was just learning to walk. She just turned two. She is at the age where you just become really curious about everything. You see something new, and you want to discover what this is. The only requirements are that you haven’t seen this before. You spend your whole existence, exploring, and walking around. Touching things, smelling things, tasting things. Many neuroscientists think this is the greatest resource of humanity, the power of curiosity. To seek new things. To search and discover simply for the sake of searching and discovering. You will never know when you will find this useful and interesting.

It’s like sometimes as adults, we can just let go of any expectation, and just let our curiosity lead us. We are old enough to stay away from danger, and to know this is a resource when we see something we like. Many of the great discoveries that we still use today came from when people were just able to let go of expectations and ask “What if?” Life can seem dreary and repetitive when we forget to do this on a regular basis. Let your curiosity lead the way.

They were telling me their happiest times (so far!) of being parents was to watch their kid find something she thought was exciting, and just feel good for discovering this. Like you can really feel a sense of accomplishment when your curiosity has led you to something cool like this. She was telling me that she likes to follow her kid around in bookstores, just like the one we were sitting in, and watch her daughter go through the joys of being able to learn something new.

Which is why he was telling me that although they were a bit nervous about leaving their comfortable small town, with the same people and the same shops and the same restaurants, they were really excited about moving to the huge metropolis where they were going. He said that he jumped on the opportunity when it presented itself. I’m sure they will do fantastic in their new life.

Boldly Speak Your Truth

I remember when I was in third grade. I had a huge crush on my teacher. One day we were doing this math problem, which when I think about it was like those sudoku puzzles that have become popular in the past several years. It was some kind of math puzzle, and she had told the class she was having a contest to see who was the fastest. Because I was madly in love with her, (despite her husband) I was determined to win. I raced through the puzzle, certain that I would be the fastest. I double checked my answers to make sure they were correct. I was about raise my hand when something incredibly unexpected happened. I froze. The room was quiet. I looked around at all my classmates furiously working on their puzzles. The room was silent. Our teacher was looking at us with a look only a teacher can give. My heart was pounding in my chest. I willed my hand to move but it didn’t. I was about to lose my chance to win the love of my third grade teacher.

My other friend, who was in a different class was from my boy scout troop. We would go on these hiking trips once a month, and get to camp out. It was fantastic. I had just joined the boy scouts, and had just been introduced into the world of camping away from parents. It was kind of scary at first, but once we got up into the mountains, it was fantastic. We would hike for a few hours, and then find a nice place to camp. Once we set up camp we would go exploring. Sometimes we didn’t find much interesting, but once we found a rattlesnake coiled up against a rock. Normally my friend is terrified of snakes, but for some reason, out there in the wilderness, after hiking up a steep mountain trail, we were somehow able to feel less afraid. It was kind of like our fear transformed itself into curiosity.

It’s strange when that happens. You see this thing, and if you are not careful, all you think about is the bad things that can happen regarding it. But the secret is when you see this, in front of you, you can become curious. Curiosity is a wonderful thing to have. It can help you discover new things, and figure out problems, and overcome obstacles. All you have to do is step back from your fear, and see this as an opportunity.

Which is what we did with that snake. We didn’t get to close, but we found a long branch that had fallen of a tree. We took turns prodding the snake, and making it strike towards the branch. Naturally, we got in big trouble when we came back to camp. I guess adults in boy scouts get kind of upset when boys go off on their own and play with poisonous reptiles. But it was an experience I’ll never forget. We saw something that normally would have terrified us, but because of our shared experience, we were able to look at this with fascination and learning.

So I finally raised my hand, and if I thought I was in love with my teacher before, wow. The approving look she gave me and the wonderful feeling I felt when she told me I got the perfect answer in front of the class was one of the greatest third grade experiences that day. All from breaking through my imagined fears and boldly speaking up.


Discover Something You Knew Already

One of the great things about my new neighborhood is all the small local supermarkets which are filled with locally grown foods. I enjoy cooking, so naturally I enjoy shopping for different foods to cook. Like sometimes I’ll cook a big pot of something that I’ll eat for the next several days, and other times I’ll buy several different kinds of ingredients, and then figure out what to cook day by day, in smaller amounts.

The second thing I discovered about having so many supermarkets around is being able to discover what kinds of unique style each market has. Of course they all have the main ingredients, milk, eggs, peanuts. But different markets have different kinds of vegetables, and fish, and different kinds and cuts of meat. And I find it really easy to become curious about what this has, and what that has.

Like when you buy a new computer that has all kinds of pre loaded software. You can find it easy to develop a desire to want to know more. And the more you discover, the more it makes you realize how much there really is here. I bought a laptop a couple of years ago, and was in the unfortunate situation of having to be in the hospital for a few days. It wasn’t any big deal, I didn’t need surgery or anything, but being in the hospital sure is boring. And a friend brought my laptop for me to play with. And even though that at the time I had already been using it for almost a year, I was still able to get really curious about what I could find to help me have fun while I was laying in the hospital. And I found several games that I didn’t even know that I had, and they really helped me to pass the time.

It’s funny when that happens. You see something that you’ve seen before, and you think you already know everything there is to know about this. But the more you keep reading, the more you can really start to want to discover more and more. Like when you have a friend for a long time, and you discover something about them that you hadn’t know for a long time. I had a friend once, and we’d know each other for years before I realized she had a thing for Japanese Anime. Personally, I don’t really see the draw, but to each his own, right?

Of course because of all this, I’m going to need to go grocery shopping soon. I can’t wait to see how much I will become curious to see what I can discover something new, but I’m sure you’ve realized by now that that was something you knew already.