We admire people of lifelong passion–musicians, scientists, humanitarians, athletes. Nevermind that, up close, single-minded obsessives can be both unhappy and hard to live with. What is your passion? I’ve always had a hard time answering that. My interests have bounced around over my lifetime. I’m a hard worker, but I don’t enjoy the feeling of compulsion. I like a job well done, but am nowhere near a perfectionist.
As I write about the art and artifacts in our home, I’m trying to get into the mind of the passionate collector (e.g., Jim). But then I think: isn’t passion pursuit more of a result, something to be developed and achieved, some kind of future steady state that few noble souls attain? What drives passion?
This makes me focus on curiosity. I share no passion for many of Jim’s collectibles–but I’m curious as hell. I decided to brainstorm the virtues of curiosity. My list:
- Curiosity leads to discovery, and sometimes adventure. Research is fun.
- Curiosity opens the mind and heart. It welcomes the Other, the Stranger, the paradigm shift.
- Curiosity makes you care about something, fueling the seeds of passion. The more you find out, the more you want to know.
- Curiosity helps overcome fear of the unknown. Who doesn’t want to be fearless?
- Curiosity demystifies what seems chaotic and incomprehensible (like a hurricane or a football game).
- Curiosity allows you to name things and see them in relationship, in context. If you can greet flowers by name, a weedpatch turns into a wildflower garden.
- Curiosity gets you up in the morning when you’re exhausted. Where is this going? What next?
Does curiosity have a downside? Ask Adam and Eve. Ask Pandora. Ask Dr. Frankenstein. If you open your mind, the results aren’t always predictable. But isn’t that half the fun?
What do you think?