Without curiosity we become a little duller and a little dimmer.
Ian Leslie’s book Curious reminds us that to be curious we have to first realize there are things we do not know—which requires us to ask questions about our information gap.
There are degrees of curiosity. Diverse curiosity propels us to look for knowledge. Think of an internet search with which you may have been recently involved. That is a start but does not go far enough, Leslie found.
That is where epistemic curiosity enters. We go beyond finding a nugget or two of information. We invest “sustained cognitive effort.” We want to learn more even if it challenges our current knowledge. Or, possibly, because it challenges our status quo. We are not satisfied with cursory information. We wat to/need to dig deeper.
Curiosity adds color and pleasure to life. Without it, Leslie found, “you’ll become a little duller, a little dimmer….Curiosity is contagious. So is incuriosity.”
Good storytellers (novelists, for example) understand this. They create mysteries giving the reader a little bit of information while enticing the reader to desire more. The book is a page turner because it has created curiosity.
A problem arises, Leslie says, when we think we already know everything. One study identified the ignorant but happy effect. “When people are confident that they have the answers, they become blithely incurious about alternatives.”
Think of brainstorming sessions in which you participated. Have you ever had someone in such a session who, no matter what is put forth, shoots it down? Often she’ll start with a but which will lead to more buts which will kill curiosity. (For the Top Big Buts, click here.)
Elizabeth Gilbert believes curiosity is what leads to passion. But we have to be open and allow ourselves to explore. This supports Leslie’s findings that “curious people take risks.”
Curious for more from Leslie? Click on this presentation he did about the curious and the incurious.
Video recommendation for the week:
A short clip of Elizabeth Gilbert contrasting jackhammers and humming birds—and their connections to curiosity and passion.
Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.
My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.
And you can still order:
- Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
- Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.
You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®