“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
– Albert Einstein
Men are inherently curious animals. Since the beginning of human history we explore new lands, the seas, and the heavens. Humans constantly ask why and seek to find answers to the mysteries we see. In our modern times we seem to have lost our curiosity, and just accept things they way they are. Men of my generation no longer have new lands to explore, seemly everything has been discovered so what is left for us to do? Reminds me of a great quote:
“I see in the fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man, no purpose or place. We have no Great war, no Great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives. We’ve been all raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Process of Asking and Challenging “Why” Is Powerful
Find your own way instead of accepting another’s
Everything is impossible until it’s done the first time.
Here are a few examples of once impossible things, until done the first time.
First backflip in freestyle motorcycle competition
“The very first time, I landed it and rode away from it, and the camera guys missed it. I guess nobody really thought I was going to go for it,” Mike Metzger said. “After that, I made damn sure they were rolling, and landed it again on my second and fifth tries, with a couple crashes in between, before calling it a day. Two days later, on the Fourth of July, I landed 21 in a row without falling.”-ESPN
The first 900 on a skateboard in a competition
“You can find a variety of ways to qualify the first 900 on a skateboard, which Tony Hawk landed in the 1999 X Games Vert Best Trick competition in San Francisco. The 900 was skateboarding’s Holy Grail at the time, perched on the line that separates possible and impossible. Jono Schwan, who joined the “900ESPN.com
club” last April at age 16, said watching the clip of Hawk’s nine taught him an invaluable lesson: “You can try it as many times as you want, but you’ll never land it until you commit both physically and mentally.” Schwan, who was skating with Hawk, 45, last week in a vert exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, added: “The reason Tony’s 900 was so incredible was that most thought it was impossible to do, like getting a man to the moon.”
First sub 4 minute mile run by Roger Bannister
For years, so many athletes had tried and failed to run a mile in less than four minutes that people made it out to be a physical impossibility…
At 6 p.m., the starting gun was fired. In a carefully planned race, Bannister was aided by Chris Brasher, a former Cambridge runner who acted as a pacemaker. For the first half-mile, Brasher led the field, with Bannister close behind, and then another runner took up the lead and reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 3 minutes 0.4 seconds, with Bannister at 3 minutes 0.7 seconds. Bannister took the lead with about 350 yards to go and passed an unofficial timekeeper at the 1,500-meter mark in 3 minutes 43 seconds, thus equaling the world’s record for that distance. Thereafter, Bannister threw in all his reserves and broke the tape in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. As soon as the first part of his score was announced – “three minutes…” – the crowd erupted in pandemonium.
Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.– Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.– Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist
So what do all of the above have in common? All were things thought to be impossible, until they were done. Most of the initial “impossible” feats were soon replicated by someone else. It’s like as soon as it was done others thought “ahh so it can be done, I need to do it!” How many more things are there to discover that are impossible? How long will you wait to do the “impossible”?
How Do We Explore Our Curiosity?
There is a process to explore our curiosity. You don’t want to go seeking out people to answer questions right off the bat. There is an old adage that applies here, you don’t know what you don’t know. You need to become a sponge, soaking up all of the knowledge you can from every source. When I was a kid that meant breaking into the old Encyclopedia Britannica. Today we got the interwebs, documentaries, news, books, all kinds of things for that.
When you have done your own research, you can seek out some experts. Here are a couple of suggestions when seeking out an expert:
- Search on your own first before asking questions
- Prepare ahead of time
- Write down questions, try them out on others
- Show some effort
- Don’t just ask what you easily can find out on your own
- Connect your interests with theirs using the unique insights developed through research
Curiosity Is Growth
I see it almost everyday with my children. How they approach new situations, new information. It really is inspiring, and we all had it at some point. Children are constantly seeking new information, asking questions, synthesizing the answers and constructing their reality.
“Curiosity—asking questions—isn’t just a way of understanding the world. It’s a way of changing it.”― Brian Grazer, A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
“So now you must choose… Are you a child who has not yet become world-weary? Or are you a philosopher who will vow never to become so? To children, the world and everything in it is new, something that gives rise to astonishment. It is not like that for adults. Most adults accept the world as a matter of course. This is precisely where philosophers are a notable exception. A philosopher never gets quite used to the world. To him or her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable – bewildering, even enigmatic. Philosophers and small children thus have an important faculty in common. The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder…”― Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World
Develop “Superior Curiosity”
According to the Harvard Business Review, curiosity is just as important as intelligence:
“CQ stands for curiosity quotient and concerns having a hungry mind. People with higher CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and are quickly bored with routine. They tend to generate many original ideas and are counter-conformist… individuals with higher CQ are generally more tolerant of ambiguity. This nuanced, sophisticated, subtle thinking style defines the very essence of complexity. Second, CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art.”
What could be better than achieving your goals? Working out? Adapting to change? Becoming more efficient? Changing your appearance? Changing your diet? Listening to kick ass music? Changing your body?
Once you stop wishing shit was different and start changing it yourself the better the whole world will become. Men you need to start acting like men, not grown up little boys. Find your own way, forge your own path.
Let’s regain our curiosity. Let’s regain our generation.