How Curiosity Can Help You Save the World

The other morning I was watching Quest (a local science show on KQED), and one of the stories was about researchers who study the sun. And my mind went off on a tangent about astronomy, which has always fascinated me, and about the researchers – why are they curious about the sun and not about something else?

Which got me thinking about curiosity. This is a theme that has been popping up a lot for me lately.

I am curious about curiosity. The more I think about curiosity, the more I realize it is connected to many things:

Differences

Although we humans have much in common, we are also very different from one another. What is it that enables us to learn from those from whom we are different, rather than demonize them?

Curiosity.

Creativity

Creativity and innovation are buzzwords of this era, and they are touted as the crucial factors in the strength of enterprises and economies. But what drives them?

Curiosity.

Powerful Questions

The ability to ask questions is an important one. Not just any old questions, but good questions. Powerful questions. What is it that makes the difference between powerful questions and questions of defiance?

Curiosity.

Compassion

Compassion, the ability to feel someone else’s pain, is more correctly defined as the ability to feel something with someone else. (Com + passion = with + feel.) We can instinctively feel with those with whom we share similarities, but we are different from most others as well. How can we feel with people from whom we are different? What makes that possible?

Curiosity.

So, Yes. Curiosity can help you – and me – save the world. I wonder… What role does curiosity play in your life? Do you consider yourself to be curious? To what extent is curiosity part of the environment in which you work? Is it allowed and encouraged? Or is it discouraged and stifled?

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