A common lament of most people is that they cannot identify any single ability/ talent that they posses. They blame this limitation for their lack of ambition, focus, drive and inability to make something better of their life. It is equally true that the overwhelming majority of us are not blessed with some extraordinary ability/ talent. Yet just look around and you will find innumerable talented people never making use of their potential and surprisingly a host of very ordinary people make a whooping success of their life. So what explains this dichotomy? It just so happens that those who seemingly possessed nothing possessed a great gift of curiosity. The others neither explored their talents nor were they curious as to how they could use their talents to make something better of themselves. So it is important to understand how someone who is passionately curious can channelize that talent and convert it into a resounding success.
The answer lies in the approach one takes to curiosity and is best explained by two contrasting English proverbs on curiosity.
Curiosity killed the cat. – This implies that one must not be too curious or it could lead to trouble.
Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning – This encourages one to explore and find out for there is a world out there that is still to be discovered.
Most people keep their curiosity tucked away for fear that it could open up a Pandora’s box. They don’t dare to open up, find out or move out of their comfort zone. They believe that the status quo is what they are destined for and so they remain there; forever. However, it is those who pursue the later approach are the ones who experiment, fail, succeed, discover, study, work on alternatives, keep trying and finally succeed. It is never a lateral progression but a circuitous complex and occasionally crazy way around. What keeps these people going is their insatiable urge to discover, is their self belief and their singular focus on succeeding in their quest.
Urge to discover/find out / explore / try– How many of you have cut an apple other than lengthwise? Cut it horizontally and look at the two halves carefully. You would see a star like pattern. Is this discovery of any use? Nah. However it now helps you see things you never imagined before. You will find out only if you try something different. The apple slicer for example was a result of someone getting very irritated with slicing the apple only to have to the seeds become an irritant and the slices looking uneven. Now list out all your irritants and think about alternatives to overcome your irritants. You don’t have to be a wizard of scientist to explore and find out ways and means to make your life better.
Self belief – Perhaps you have already dismissed the earlier point as silly/ not for me / how does it help me. Unless you believe that you have the intelligence, the determination and the power to make a difference you will never take on anything challenging. If you learned cycling, swimming or driving you would have never succeeded in the first go. Yet because you believed that you could master it you continued despite failing and acquired the skill. It is the same self belief that you can make things happen, you can change things around for yourself, you can succeed that will enable you to experiment, explore and extract the best of everything around you.
Having focus – This might sound like an oxymoron in the context of curiosity because curiosity is all about exploring without inhibitions. The focus must be on two aspects. One focus on experimenting; this means be unrestrained in diverse areas, be open to varied possibilities and keep challenging the status quo. The second aspect of focus is in narrowing your attention to the finer details of what implicitly fascinates you in your quest and discovery. If Thomas Edison experimented with a thousand things before he came up with the filament for the light bulb it simply shows the focus he brought into what was his self belief. At the same time the number of patents he holds shows the focus he brought to bear on exploring diverse aspects that triggered his scientific curiosity.
- Each of you reading it must be exposed to various social media inputs be it wattsapp / facebook/ instagram / twitter etc. Can you recollect the 5 forwards that you received that got you mesmerized because it was so unique/ different / wow in your opinion.
- Make a list of personal/ social irritants that constantly annoy you. Can you list out 3 -10 possible solutions for each of those irritants. How about working on making one of them a workable proposition?
- In what creative ways would you spend a gift of Rs.1,000?
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