I have a lot of sayings buzzing around in my head. Most I learnt in childhood. Some of them pop up at decision making time unbidden. One in particular stomped on my creativity: ‘Curiosity killed the cat.’

Image is a black and white cat standing on hind legs trying to see into a window of a house.
Photo by Bing Han on Unsplash .

The unspoken message being, ‘don’t be too inquisitive.’ After all, we all know what happened to Alice. Being curioser and curioser led her down a very strange hole.

Some of my family mottos were: ‘don’t rock the boat,’ ‘do as you’re told,’ ‘a leopard never changes its spots,’ ‘never a borrower or a lender be.’ A particular favourite was, ‘you can’t be the conscience of the world.’ I heard this one a lot. Every time I rescued a stray animal or tried to help a friend or felt sad when I saw suffering.

There are a lot of cliché messages taking up space in my head. Not all of them helpful. Over the years I know some of my decisions were influenced by one or more of them without me even realizing it.

Knowledge was a key value in my family. How much you knew about different things was vital. A good general knowledge was a matter of pride. We were traipsed around art galleries and museums, not to encourage us to be curious, but to fill our minds with knowledge. Our father would quiz us on capital cities of the world, times tables and random facts.

What are the sayings you grew up with? Maybe yours is ‘Always was, always will be.’ This one makes no room for change and we all know change is the only permanent thing in this world.

Creativity and curiosity are key values for me. I don’t think you can have one without the other. Having all the answers is boring and boorish and no one likes a know-it-all. Curiosity is why many great inventors didn’t give up. They failed more times than I’ve had hot dinners and yet the bright light of curiosity kept them going. ‘I wonder what would happen if…’

It may not be news to you, but the link between curiosity and creativity is vital. Without curiosity there is no wonder and awe, no discovery.

Take technology for example. I use apple technology because it works with a person’s natural intuitive curiosity. ‘I wonder what happens if I…’ I wonder if I touch the screen… and voila, it works. There is no need for overcrowded tool bars full of endless drop down menus. On the rare occasion I have to use android technology I end up wanting to smash things.

Curiosity helps me when I write stories. I ask questions of the story. I’m not sure what will happen from one chapter to the next. I have a rough idea but the characters are running the show. I ask them questions like, ‘now what happens?’ Or ‘how would they respond in this situation?’

Stories we tell and stories we listen to use curiosity. We read stories because we’re curious about what is going to happen. We tell stories because we’re curious about how the listener will respond.

Research has shown curiosity gives us higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life and greater psychological well-being. It makes us feel good.

In my experience, curiosity keeps us playful. It is the birthplace of creativity.

Image is a smug looking striped cat sitting on a wooden kitchen table in a brightly lit kitchen.
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but I have it on good authority, satisfaction brought it back. Stay curious, it’s good for you.

5 thoughts on “Curiosity

  1. My cliches have always been at odds with each other: Look before you jump and you snooze, you lose.

    I guess I’m making peace with those sayings by realising that there is no wrong decisions in life. It’s just us continuing down the river of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the river is a helpful metaphor. Sometimes rivers flow rapidly and there a lot of splashing about, then at other times they are slow and thoughtful. The important thing, I think, is to remain present and ‘open’ or curious. 😉


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