Moderating curiosity in a world of many options can be tough. You’ve probably heard these popular sayings:
- Curiosity killed the cat.
- Stay in your lane.
- Mind your own business.
We hear them so often we internalize them. These sayings are used when people don’t want to be challenged. Challenged about who they are and what they know. In the process, they stunt growth for everyone.
Curiosity requires moderation. Too much curiosity leads to distraction or danger.
- Refreshing your social feed multiple times during the day is a distraction.
- Turning your neck to watch an accident can lead to your own danger.
- Giving attention to drama and gossip is a distraction.
Plus, it’s important to respect boundaries. Boundaries set to maintain personal privacy and proprietary business information.
Questions are great filters. They can help you decide whether you want to go down the rabbit hole.
- Why am I curious about this?
- How will I use this information?
- How does this information make me better?
There are many topics I’m curious about, but they aren’t relevant to my goals or who I want to be.
I frequently review the content I consume. In the process, I unsubscribe or unfollow what’s not serving my long term growth. This creates space for high-value content. My current selections include customer experience, relationships, black history, high-performance sports coaching, and media business. These topics help me learn how I can show up better in all of my relationships.
Curiosity Comes with Responsibility
Not enough curiosity creates complacency and apathy. Shutting down conversations and dismissing feedback creates complacency. Ignoring the frustration and pain of others encourages apathy.
Curiosity comes with responsibility. Once you know something, then you’re faced with choices.
- Do you change or stay the same?
- Take action or pretend nothing happened?
- Accept this at face value or is there more to the story?
This responsibility can discourage us from asking questions of ourselves and others. This responsibility is what keeps from slowing down to reflect on our actions, feelings, and words. We stay busy because we’re afraid of what we’ll find out and what it will ask of us.
“Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty. It wasn’t always a choice; we were born curious. But over time, we learn that curiosity, like vulnerability, can lead to hurt. As a result, we turn to self-protecting — choosing certainty over curiosity, armor over vulnerability, and knowing over learning.”― Brené Brown | Researcher, Storyteller & Texan
I know curiosity can be uncomfortable, but I encourage you to dig deep. Ask questions to better understand yourself and others. Look for resources to help you explore the why and how of situations.
Use curiosity to understand versus validate.