You know that saying ‘curiosity killed the cat’? I’ve been ruminating on that for a while. In fact this blog post is essentially years old and has occupied the dusty drafts for longer than I care to remember. Anyway, long story short, I disagree with that statement entirely. I don’t think curiosity killed the cat, I think it freed it.
When we were younger, it was easy to be fascinated by just about anything. Childlike wonder has to be one of life’s brilliant and sometimes annoying things. Endless questions, the process of learning, staring at an object or phenomenon for long periods of time and thinking through scenarios beginning with “what if.” It’s all part of how we learn more about this world, the beautifully strange people that are in it and the Creator.
I recently read a Forbes article entitled “How to ignore the worst career advice you’re probably still following.” Under the heading Follow your passion was the following paragraph:
“Instead of following your passion, lead with your curiosity. When you’re curious, you’re open. You view the world through the lens of what’s possible, and you stretch your boundaries. Being curious opens you up to new and interesting experiences, people, opportunities, and perhaps even professions that you may not have considered if you were solely following your passion.
Leading with curiosity also means you’ll become a lifelong learner, which is an asset in any career.”
Maybe this means, to be open to different perspectives, to question how things were, are and what they could be.
According to the Cambridge dictionary curious means to be :
I make it known that I can quite easily get fascinated by basically anything. I love observing things, I frequently point out weird and exciting things I notice to my friends and they reply with “I would not have seen that if I wasn’t looking!” Maybe sometimes that can be annoying, and sometimes I can feel like a kid pointing stuff out to adults but I like living life in childlike wonder. I think that’s how it should be.
Think of the intricacy of a rockpool, the clouds in the sky and the way they can move and morph into different shapes, think of the power that words have to break and to build. How many grains of sand there is when you grab a handful from the beach. Look for hidden things in places not many would stare at or look up at towering buildings as you walk through the city. Ponder at the beautiful thought of reunions on train platforms or a stolen kiss in the night between a couple when they think no one is looking. The beauty of the rain hitting the floor whilst in the warmth of a coffee shop or the glow of the lights on the roads.
This similar outlook can be made about people. I think too quickly (myself included) that we judge and we put stereotypes on what we think we know when in fact, we have no idea. I love this quote I found recently.
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
I love people, as complex as we are we are also simple in wanting and desiring simple things like love, connection, honesty and to be known. Recently I read a book called Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin all about the beauty and mess it is loving a neighbour and getting stuck into staying in community can be. I was challenged by every page and faced with the realisation of how insular my life can be. I should be living life out loud with people, asking others where I can help and how I can love them better. Mother Theresa once said “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” That doesn’t only mean those by blood but those who you choose to do life with and those who need a bit of the hope you’re holding inside of yourself.
If you think about it, the ability to be curious is actually freeing. What a magnificent thought it is to know that we can freely think about endless possibilities and answers to situations! I love living life grounded in the truth of God’s word but I am also incredibly grateful to have a mind of my own to question the big and the small. You too can walk in that freedom, I don’t think anyone should be out here thinking they know all things because you don’t and what an amazing thing it is to learn, to expand knowledge, to grow in wisdom and understanding, to look at things from different perspectives and to live life curious.
If you are to take away anything from this short post of murmuring and ponderings it is this:
- Lead with curiosity. Why do they think that way? What can I learn from this?
- It’s ok to question things. Asking questions out of curiosity will expand your knowledge and wisdom on the matter.
- Listen with curiosity. Wonder what is behind the words, look at the bigger picture, what are they truly saying?
- Live life out loud, and look for people to love, to nurture. Don’t treat people like projects, treat people with love, dignity and respect and invite Jesus into your conversations.
- Don’t be ashamed of being fascinated by things. Live life in childlike wonder, you don’t have to have it all together, let your tired feet rest from wanting to know it all, you’re not God and you don’t know everything. Chill.