The Curious Case of Curiosity
They say curiosity killed the cat. I always took that as an empty warning that parents gave kids about why they shouldn't be curious about drugs or other bad stuff. But have you actually ever met a cat that was the least bit concerned about being curious? Probably not. Actually, cats seem pretty effin' unbothered by everything as they roam around with their judgment and indifference.
Despite the anecdote about cats, I've actually found that there are more benefits of being an inquisitive, interested person than there are detriments. Being curious and wide-eyed about the world actually makes life more fun and colorful.
I was a curious kid - always looking around for the next great thing. I miss the days of wonder where the world was the teacher and all I had to do was go outside and walk around and I would get a lesson. In this age of technology, something about the idea of wonder has gotten lost. That's not to say that there aren't fascinating things to learn on the interwebs, but there are far more interesting things to learn when you allow the world to be your classroom.
The other week I was in Boston for work, and had to arrive on a Sunday afternoon due to an early Monday morning meeting. My room wasn't ready so I stored my bags and set out on foot. I've never been to Boston and didn't really have enough time before the trip to plan out what I wanted - or needed - to see. Because of that, I was really just headed out into Boston armed with nothing more than a healthy dose of curiosity. My colleague joined me, and after 5 miles and a few hours of walking we had traversed some of the most interesting areas of town and learned a great deal - just by being curious.
Sometimes it's OK to not know where you are going. It's OK to not have a plan or a set direction. If I had been dead set on seeing only three things, perhaps I would have missed the random symphony concert in the park, or missed seeing Coldplay's Chris Martin casually sipping a coffee with his dinner (true story). Perhaps I wouldn't have noticed the oddly paired couple dressed in all pastels hurriedly ushering their poodles out of their ritzy and well appointed townhome in Beacon Hill. If I hadn't been so curious to "just take a right down this alley to see what's there" perhaps I would have missed the incredible display of historic iron boot scrapers that pop up on every door step - each one more elaborate than the next.
What could you learn if you relied less on what you know to be true and instead take a risk that is unlike you. In plain terms - what would happen if instead of going right, you went left?
I have to say - that afternoon in Boston was one of the most fulfilling experiences I've had. In those moments I let my natural instinct to be in control go and instead allowed my internal compass to just flow. I've tried - with some success - to translate the idea of being curious to other parts of my life. I've sat next to people I would never usually sit next to and asked questions to which I genuinely wanted answers. I've picked up books on topics I would not normally care about just to see if I can learn something.
Overall, it can be a unique and beautiful experience when you just go forward with an open heart and mind and dare the world to surprise you.