Cultivating Curiosity and Wonder

Have you noticed that in our culture, curiosity and wonder have largely been stamped out of us as adults? There would be virtually zero innovation and creativity would cease to exist without them. And I don’t know how you engage in storytelling without it either. In this brief article I published earlier today on my Medium blog, I dive deeper into this topic. As ever, I welcome your thoughts and insights.

Thanks for sharing this Kelli :slight_smile: I really enjoyed reading 9 Ways to Embrace Curiosity and Tap into Your Creativity - Previous jobs I have had seemed to do exactly as your described and stamped out my creativity and wonder and almost felt robotic following certain standards and couldn’t be myself, I am very lucky and grateful to recognize this sooner than later and now using time much better where I feel appreciated for being me

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thanks Sean – I’m pleased the article resonated with you; sorry to hear that this has been an issue in your life (sadly for too many of us), but I’m happy to learn you’ve come through it to the place you’re in now which sounds much more empowering!

Good read. Thanks for that.

In addition to amplifying ingenuity, creativity and innovation, there is another advantage to expressing curiosity - and not dismissing or repressing it in the workplace - and that is to identify gaps in understanding. Imagine that we all nod our heads in agreement but have very different perceptions of what is being communicated to us. We wouldn’t know if there are differences in perception unless we express to the group what we are thinking. Expressing our nascent thoughts can help prevent groups from going off the rails.

I had such an experience yesterday. A company pitched their business in a rapid-fire beauty pageant that left them very little time to express their full idea. When I followed up with them later in a separate conversation, I discovered that I had imagined a completely different business model than the one they communicated in their presentation. I learnt this because I told them how I had interpreted their presentation and they were able to correct me. If I kept this to myself both of us would be none the wiser.

This reminds me of our discussion about ‘deliberately erring’.

Wonder is a nice state of mind. In my own experience, I have to put myself in nature or somewhere that reduces me (and my ego) to a tiny, insignificance in order to help me feel wonder. For some reason, I find my sense of ‘self’ gets in the way of it. Not sure what’s going on there!

For people like myself who have a dark sense of humor, I think we need to reflect on macabre things at times in order to help usher in wonder - to focus on the small and immediate things. For example, thinking about death can be effective. Reminding myself that my consciousness is only a blip in the slipstream of eternity and to make the most of the moment because it’s going to be gone in a blink of an eye is strangely comforting, or at least forces me to slow down my thinking. However, if I’m anxious it has the opposite effect! My mental state is everything. Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal was a good for rumination on this.

I also like to treat anything new as if it’s an adventure. Your spontaneous trip to Carmel without panning anything in advance is a nice way to be receptive to new experiences.

If you like food you might consider cooking something elaborate that you’ve never done before in a cuisine that you know nothing about. It probably won’t come out tasting as it should but it can be a lot of fun.


love your insights here David – and I enjoyed “Being Mortal” as well. I also agree with what you shared at the end about experimenting with cooking new foods and playing with the experience - even if it doesn’t turn out as it ‘should’ it’s a great example of being willing to learn and to try. Hint: it’s the spices that are typically key with a lot of cuisines that are new to us. :stew:

I’m curious to learn more about your dark sense of humor and where that stems from. I love satire and irony as you do, and yet I wonder about this slant to the macabre that may inform your world view. More to be shared there. :sunglasses:

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