This is the first in the series of commandments which I will share over the coming weeks. These are how I chose to live my life, things I have noticed about myself, inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. She advocates considering the things that make you who you are and the parts of your personality that serve you well, so that you can become happier and discover ways to enhance your own happiness. “Be curious” is my number 1 commandment and I’d like to share what this means to me.
In my day to day life I like to engage with people; be it in the street chatting to the little old lady pottering down the road on her mobility scooter wanting to share her stories about her life; or a conversation with waiting staff in a restaurant about food; or embarrassing my children by making “small talk” with their friends. It is what I do and how I like to learn about people.
I call it being curious, others may call it being nosy. The dictionary definition of “curious” is “eager to know or learn something” or “strange or unusual”. The former certainly applies to me and the latter often comes when I’m faced with something unfamiliar or unexpected where I need to use even more curiosity to mitigate the risk of making assumptions or being judgemental (my second commandment is “Do not judge”). The reminder of my commandment to “be curious” helps me to remain open minded and explore what is going on and why, even in the most challenging of circumstances. For example: when something I dislike has happened or someone is severely conflicting with my values I try to ask, “what’s going on for them?” and “how must they be feeling to act like this?” Seeking to understand in this way has made a difference to how I view the world and my relationships. I believe this simple statement has encouraged me to be more tolerant of others, helping me admire the diversity and celebrate the differences and ultimately supporting my goal of being more human.
They say, “every day is a school day”, the easiest part of being curious is to enquire, listen and appreciate so that we can l learn. You never know when the person you have spoken to may come back into your life or the information that they have shared may become valuable. Giving a little of your time may well make a difference to the person you are communicating with and hopefully for you too, as you walk away with a warm fuzzy feeling of making a new connection. There are countless times I have had a conversation and then shared their story or knowledge in a different context to add value. Pay it forward and you’ll be thanked for sharing.
Curiosity doesn’t stop with people, the best adventures have happened from taking a new path or changing direction, wondering where this lane goes or finding out what are they building there…my new house as it happened and I am so grateful to be living here. I cannot count the adventures I have had from following my nose or choosing a different route, stumbling across hidden treasures or new-found beauty spots.
How would Alice have found her wonderland if she had not dared to follow her curiosity down the rabbit hole? What if we were all to be more curious? What wonders would we discover in the new world? Could we make new friends, those who are different from us and those we already know? How would it feel to be challenged by the perceived size of a task? Would you take the leap of faith and eat the cake?
Curiosity can take you to places you may not have first thought of when you started reading this, so I thank you for being curious enough to read until the end and hope you leave here a little more interested than before.
I would love to learn about how being curious is working for you. If you would like to share your story below or message me, as I am curious to know!