Curious – Inquisitive

I have often talked about holding the space of curiosity vs seeing things as fixed and solid. And yet, personally when I get stuck, it is usually when I have forgotten to be curious – oops! I was reading a book last week and the author talked about how she is inquisitive. It got me to thinking about the differences between being curious or inquisitive, since I almost always use the word curious and rarely use the word inquisitive. I kept going round and round in my mind trying to figure out how they were different and could not come up with anything definitive, so went to the old standbys, the dictionary and thesaurus. The words can be used interchangeably and can either have the tone of being eager to learn or the tone of asking prying questions. Today I am writing about the eager to learn definition.

I am awed by people who have a natural curiosity and want to learn more about things. Curiosity allows for exploration vs taking things at face value. I wonder if when we are not curious it might be partially based in the fear of not wanting to look like you don’t already know or not wanting to call attention to yourself. Lack of curiosity could also mean that you are satisfied with the level of information that you have or not needing to know more about that particular thing.

I wonder if curiosity takes different forms for different people, depending what interests them. I will likely never be curious about how a piece of machinery works, but I am infinitely curious about how, what, and why people think about things. We may not even recognize or respect someone’s curiosity or inquisitiveness when it is different from ours. And, I guess that leads to the point of this post – to begin to notice when other people are curious around you and how you react. Or, where might you become more inquisitive and learn more or make new connections.

I don’t believe the adage – curiosity kills the cat. That belief stifles creativity. In the spirit of full disclosure, when my kids were little and in the “why” phase there were moments when I wanted to throw my hands in the air and say “because,” with no room for further discussion. However, most of the time I find curiosity appealing. I particularly love brainstorming, which lends itself to curiosity and exploration.

What if you adopt the space of curiosity or inquisitiveness in areas where you might be stuck? You might shift into action without the fears and judgments you may have attached to that particular area. For instance, what if you asked yourself, “What if I tried (you fill in the blank)?” That allows for whatever outcome occurs. It doesn’t mean that you have to be right or wrong, that you will either succeed for fail. It simply means that you will hold curiosity about what might happen and then be curious about the next thing. It creates more space for you to explore freely without the pressure of needing to be right. Where could allow yourself to be curious or inquisitive?


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