Below you will find the introduction to this blog that I had planned to post on the first day. Something has come up, though, and I feel it is a point important enough to be mentioned first.
My hope for this coming year is that practicing greater curiosity in my interactions with people and events will greatly increase the quality of those interactions and of my life, including reducing stress. And yet getting this blog up and running was creating a lot of stress for me and I fairly quickly realized why–because I was trying to get it absolutely right from the very beginning. I have been watching WordPress tutorials on how to manage various aspects of my blog (even though I have been blogging at WordPress for over five years), going over lists of categories and tags repeatedly and trying to decide which points belong where, working and re-working texts, spending hours on determining who to send an announcement to using which channel, and so on.
In the spirit of practicing curiosity I am going to try to let go of the need to get everything right from the very beginning and try to be more open to what emerges. This is a blog, after all, not a comprehensive study.
Today I would simply like to give you an idea what to expect over the next 365 days of this Year of Living Curiously.
Although I’ll be writing largely about my own experiences and thoughts, I’d like to borrow the framework of a research article to give me a structure. That is, I’d like to lay out a hypothesis at the beginning, spend the year exploring and testing this hypothesis, and then at the end write my conclusions and recommendations based on this exploration.
A definition of “curiosity”
No good academic would start an experiment like this without first defining the object of study, so here goes. Curiosity, as I see it, is a state of experiencing a situation, with any or all of one’s senses, with openness and a desire to see what happens and without feeling the need to influence the outcome. (No wonder it has been so hard for me to practice curiosity up until now—I love influencing outcomes!)
That’s my personal definition. As I go along I will, of course, also be seeking out and reviewing what other people have to say on the topic.
The hypothesis or, simply, what I expect will happen
I expect that practicing greater curiosity in my interactions with people and events will greatly increase the quality of those interactions and of my life. More precisely, I believe that living with greater curiosity will:
- Reduce the stress in my life
- Set me up to be more responsive and therefore more effective
- Help me build better connections to other people
- Be the path to growth AND the way to enjoy the journey
- Be an antidote to self-righteousness and knowing it all
But why blog about this?
Quite simply for accountability. I have tried several different ways of keeping present the idea of practicing curiosity regularly and so far have fallen short of a meaningful level of practice. I have, as I have mentioned elsewhere, for over ten years carried around with me an A4 sheet of paper with the word CURIOSITY on it (truly in capital letters). I have written the need for more curiosity into my own commandments. And for over a year I have been making notes on my phone and in a curiosity notebook. Even so, when it really counts I close down and practice everything but. I hope that publishing a post every day will keep me focused and on track. If I’m very lucky, perhaps my readers will also contribute ideas or support to help me going.
What I wish for my readers
I trust that my readers will gain tips and support for living their own lives with greater curiosity and hope they will experience the benefits I expect are linked to that. I suspect this will be associated at times with humorous moments, perhaps deeply moving moments, reflection, and simply fun.
Let the journey begin!