The Living Curious Manifesto

Photo by Joe Green on Unsplash

We are all born with a curious nature, the world is new and wondrous. As we grow we start to see rich veins of knowledge and experiences stretching off in all directions. We learn, we explore, and we taste everything.

And then just as we are leaving adolescence and embarking on the journey into adulthood, it just sort of stops. In an everyday sense, we are all still curious, we consume stories, we consume news, we consume documentaries. But active pursuits of knowledge and that intellectual thirst for exploring new ideas tends to wain.

We are surrounded by media, content is everywhere. The latest series of Stranger Things isn’t going to watch itself now is it? We have ample opportunity to feed our inner curiosity-driven child with Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, celebrity listicles, games, TV series, movies, newspapers and magazines. These are all to a greater or lesser extent passive activities, they are the high-fat comfort foods of popular culture. They are safe with no potential for failure.

There is a desire to stay on our lane, specialise. It’s what we’re good at, it’s what we understand, it’s often what we get paid to do. New stuff is a bit scary and we couldn’t possibly try and create in these worlds. “What if I fail?”

Living curious is not about a go-getting, let's change the world lifestyle choice. It’s about having the freedom to pick up a subject, an activity, a project, a musical instrument and explore it, play with it, be bad at it, put it down and then maybe even try it again. None of this is a failure. We should give ourselves room to breath and not be good at things. Everyone is bad at things when they start. And that’s ok!

There is still a great stigma in trying lots of new things, toying with them, then moving on to something else. But the magpie nature of exploring new ideas is its strength. Innovation is not the goal, but it may be a helpful byproduct as the fuel for innovation is bringing together ideas from different domains. But a goal-oriented curiosity misses the point. Living Curious is a goal within itself. Don’t strive, just do.

The biggest lie people are told in popular culture is that the expert is the norm, and most people who do a thing regularly are really good at it. There are people who are really good in any particular field, and they can be amazing. But most people, even those who get paid to work in a field are mostly working it out as they go. Failure isn’t just an option it’s an inevitability. If failure is inevitable then embrace at. Try things, explore things, do them badly, get better.

Living Curious is about being able to flit from subject to subject, idea to idea, project to project, creation to creation and not letting the idea of failure discourage your exploration. You will pick up knowledge, experience and skills as you go. And if you’re lucky, a new level of expertise and love of a subject will arise. These are the unexpected treasures a life Living Curiously can give you.

We live in a time where information is plentiful and there has never been more opportunity to learn something new.

I've a writer, film maker, team leader and technologist. Working on the forefront of creative technology for over 20 years. https://www.openthought.com

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