Values Deep Dive | Curiosity (Part 4)
by Bets Charmelus, ArtistYear CEO
So far we’ve explored many different facets of curiosity as a core value. We’ve chewed on asking the question “What if?” and pondered the privilege of curiosity. We’ve realized curiosity is not as a static trait but a dynamic process which requires humility and a willingness to engage. We’ve come to understand curiosity as a duty, defined by asking the right questions for the right reason at the right time.
Curiosity is a key factor of human change. I’d even go as far as to say that nothing related to humankind and our interactions changes (on purpose) without curiosity playing a part.
So how can we all channel curiosity? How do we cultivate it in the garden of our character assets?
I have a few thoughts:
- Curiosity is innate. I’m convinced that all humans are inherently curious; however, over time, societal influences and lessons diminish this natural urge. Much like how our behaviors evolve from childhood to adulthood, we learn to curb our instincts. One of my mentors, Shavon Norris quotes Mr. Rodgers when she says “Humans learn how to human from other humans,” and whether these lessons are explicit or implicit, our curiosity is often suppressed. At the same time, with intention, we can reignite this curiosity by actively asking questions.
- Curiosity is not judgement. My own personal bio has a line in it that I love, and has stuck with me through many revisions: “Exploring the difference between questioning oneself and asking oneself questions.” The former denotes judgement, steeped in self-doubt and downplaying. The latter signifies curiosity, rooted in self-analysis and self-exploration. This makes all the difference in the world; by framing our questions differently, we can get different answers.
- Curiosity is a virtue. In this context, a virtue is defined as “a practice transformed into mindful meditation.” Cultivate the habit of posing thoughtful questions, both to those around you and, most importantly, to yourself. Explore the world with an external curiosity and delve into your inner stories with internal curiosity. When (because it will happen some time) someone mentions some harm that we may have played a part in, we can take a page out of the famous fictional character Steve Urkel’s book and ask, “…did I do that?”
While my perspectives are influenced by my biases, they are shaped through my personal reflections. The realm of curiosity is vast and multi-dimensional. Please take this as an invitation you to continue (or embark) on your own journey of exploration and see where your curiosity leads you. You might be surprised with where you land.
Bets Charmelus (he/him) is a facilitator, community advocate, and an auditory story-teller. He currently serves as ArtistYear’s Chief Executive Officer. He is passionate about finding & claiming new spaces, building strong, inter-dependent communities, and exploring the difference between questioning oneself and asking oneself questions.