ONLY CURIOSITY CAN SAVE THE PLANET

A BOLD STATEMENT

Maybe, but often it is only a bold statement that makes us stop long enough to see below the surface to what is really going on (marketing 101) but in this case it is the truth and the addiction to constant updates on Twitter, Facebook, Linked, email, youtube etc has led us down the path of information saturation.

And when our brain gets overloaded it switches off and the first thing to go is the interest in anything else new……..what chance does curiosity have in this space?.

I generally start writing a blog after someone says something that gets me thinking or annoyed (mostly annoyed) in this case it was that saying

CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT

And just at that moment I had an Ah Ha moment. What a destructive sentence that is and when placed in front of children absolutely career limiting.

For me the single most important characteristic in the evolution of the species is Curiosity, without it we would still be in the trees.

Everything that has been invented from the dawn of time has first  required curiosity for it is this trait that allows us to, wonder, experiment, investigate, overcome preconceived boundaries (add your own here) and yet the very fabric of curiosity is being constrained like never before. And what is the cause of this……

ANSWERS

Always needing to have the answer when asked. Its what makes Politicians and Business people alike open their mouths and often fall in. Once upon a time we didn’t need the answer, we were allowed some time to ponder, maybe even talk to someone else about it before replying, or even more exciting go on a quest halfway round the globe to find out, or sit on a mountain top for twenty years.

But in these days of experts, specialists and higher education it seems that it is very rare that someone says  “I don’t know” or I will have to get back to you on that,” because we need the answer now and they will have gone on-line, moved on to the next topic or worse found someone else, and any opportunity that might have been in front of you is lost. So what we did was….

INVENT PROCESSES

Hundreds, thousands millions of them, all of them designed to do one thing…give an answer and more importantly the same answer each time. And there is a logical reason for this and as far as mathematics and  calculating insurance goes….brilliant. But processes have started mankind on a backward spiral and extinction is the prize that awaits.

Oh I am sure those of you who thrive on, or make a living using processes would like to disagree, but the truth of the matter is a process by its nature excludes curiosity. A useful thing if you are cautious by nature but a total destroyer of innovation and learning from experience, its just a useful fall back position when it doesn’t work ” well I followed the processes” so it wasn’t my fault.

So in order to stop our children thinking that innovation and invention are done by other people we need to teach them, and….well everybody really that it all starts with curiosity.

So how do we get back our curiosity.

THINK LIKE A CHILD

That’s right we were born curios, in fact we looked on with wonder at the world around us with no understanding at all. So please take time to see things in front of you. Stop yourself from automatically saying “I don’t have time for this” and just wonder. Watch the clouds in the sky and make things out of their shapes, you know use your imagination.

Wonderment comes from experiencing things not from having the answer. Look at thing in detail rather than flashing past. I am guilty of this when I am driving somewhere and Lorraine wants to stop and look at something and all I want to do is get to the destination. But the moment I do stop and get out and look at something I get an appreciation, I learn something I see it from a different angle. Just like walking somewhere and driving there are two totally different experiences, driving is traveling without experiencing.

GET A HOBBY

Wow it is really interesting when you decide to learn how to do something and you meet someone who has been doing it all their life. Right at that moment you discover that everything is really an art and simplicity doesn’t in any way make it easier. People can inspire you to try things you doubted you could or should do, be open to trying.

STOP ASKING “WHY” AND START ASKING “WHAT IF”

We think that asking “Why” is going to solve what we are seeking because the answer always becomes clearer as we strip away the  layers, but this is not curiosity this is simply reduction of complexity, and yes, it is looking…. for the answer.

When we ask “What if” we leave ourselves open to possibilities and conversations and experimenting, it is a question of curiosity rather than looking for the answer.

PRATICE

Just like anything in life the more you do it the better you get at it and curiosity is no different. So why not set some time aside and look at doing something that you have always dreamed about but talked yourself out of. I have met so many people in rest homes who took up drawing and painting at the end of their lives and discovered just how much pleasure and how good they actually were…don’t wait till the end of your life to try something.

AND LASTLY

If you are lucky enough to have young children then ask them a question and really listen to their answers and ask how they came to that conclusion. To often education works on the principal of there is only one answer….”yeh right”

As usual if you don’t agree or have something to add , then get off your ass and do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Nick

I don't say things to be liked I say them because I mean them. Reputation doesn't come from being liked it comes from standing for something.

4 Responses to ONLY CURIOSITY CAN SAVE THE PLANET

  1. James September 10, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Hi Nick,
    Great reflection and supposition….

    On the macro view of your discussion……I recently went to China…travelled extensively…..not only visited the tourist things but saw new freeways and cities (unused as yet)…. figured out that this maybe the answer to their pollution problem…ie close factories move them to new cities as carbon zero footprints…but more…I visited a few factories etc…I wanted to find out how their system worked…I discovered how one can make fortunes because I was curious… But the real conclusion I came to was… That the Chinese are brilliant at the moment on reproducing inventions no matter what they are …. cheaper and better…(yes lots of poor quality but that is now being designed out) … but they will become so much more superior in the world when they let their curiosity roam… What I mean is that when they start inventing new things that others haven’t thought of yet, then the Chinese Empire will lead…. The US Empire did it by Fordism and then really launched us into the Computer age by going to the moon in 1969…the space race dared them to dream and thus be curious… The Chinese are now wanting to explore space…excuse the pun but watch this space…. we all know the Romans did it ….the British empire did it…and this move civilisation forward as a whole…the proverbial competitive advantage.

    I’m glad you have pointed out that there is still space for us minions to dare to dream and be curious…and your previous observations…there is still time to do something…I couldn’t agree with you more….

    • Nick September 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi James, thanks so much for your reflective response, and I have had the same discussions with Chinese people who also agree that they are poor at just dreaming up ideas and Invention but they weren’t so hopeful about their children being able to do that as the current education system is not pointed in that direction.

      What do you dare to dream of.
      Cheers
      Nick

  2. Tony Cutting September 10, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    Hey Nick,

    Great peice to get people thinking. I would be happy to republish in Jobcafe if you were OK with that?

    Cheers TC

    PS: Lets catch up soon – I am feeling much much better 🙂

    • Nick September 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Tony,

      That would be amazing I would be honoured.

      Are you coming into wellington next week? we should catch up

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