There is such a thing as the curiosity mindset, and despite how I may take pride in casting this cloak of curiosity over my shoulders as to label myself through affiliation, I know I am not. While curiosity exists within me naturally, it’s also naturally opposed and combated by my innate fears and desire for comfort. The curiosity mindset is there, it exists. It feeds off of my natural curiosity, but I’m willing to admit it requires more intentionality and work to actually acquire. This is a confession of curiosity and an inspection of how I might change.
The phrase “curiosity killed the cat” exists for two reasons. The first purely be as narrative. The curious cat got a little too curious and stepped over their bounds of mortality. The second reason being, it serves as a warning to know your bounds and not to push them. “Curiosity killed the cat” is a fear tactic, it’s a saying we’ve all grown up with and have uttered ourselves. In times of danger, in times of risk, in times which require extra work, in times where other paths reveal themselves, we are reminded of the curious cat and its death. We see ourselves in the cat, thus we see our inevitable death.
I should be curious, just not too curious. This is what I am told, and this is how I live. I have the feline mindset, one of subtle curiosity. I long for a true mind of curiosity. One which mocks adversity. One which taunts the calamity and phenomena that is our lives.
When I speak of the curiosity mindset, I speak of an entirely different way of thinking. One void of self-prescribed barriers where all thought is processed through a lens of rhetorical inquiry. Curiosity mindset stems from scientific observation and process. It isn’t concerned with success as much as it is concerned with understanding the experimentation which yields results.
That shift in focus is a very important distinction. It changes the mental dialogue in such a way that disappointment and expectations at large lose their sense of substance. Oh, what a joy it’d be to adopt a mindset of genuine curiosity, one which isn’t riddled in fear or cemented in outcomes. Oh, what a joy it’d be to merely collect data, document findings, and learn.
I’m interested in how the shift from the specificity of the result to the process of inquiry is reflected in the mental dialogue. I’m interested in how I may actively change the way in which I think to be an individual of actual curiosity.
In writing this, it’s instinctive to think, “Will the reader (you) like this?” In asking this question, I’ve already failed my curiosity. Why? The question—the thought itself—alludes to a hope. It establishes an expectation which attaches itself to the answer rather than the question. Instead, the question or thought should be addressed as, “I wonder if you like this.”
“Will you like this?”
“I wonder if you like this.”
In the first question, the focus is entirely external and result oriented while the second stems internally and is reflective. Because curiosity is derivative of the process of understanding and observing, the act of wondering inherently positions the inquiry to be object oriented rather than subject oriented.
If I were to merely wonder if you like this (which I do wonder), I can address my own writing unburdened by opinion. Because if you do like it, fine, I move on. I continue to write. If you don’t like it, fine, I move on. I continue to write. That’s the thing with curiosity, it’s not definitive. Our curiosity is an eagerness to learn, and learning itself isn’t definitive. We learn, and we learn some more. I’m not looking for answers, I’m looking for better questions. So hear it is, my confession of curiosity or lack thereof.