Day 061 – Checking in on my hypothesis

Hard for me to believe that I have been writing this blog for two months now. In some ways it has very easily become a part of my daily life and I am enjoying working on it. In other ways I still question whether I am making significant progress in living with more curiosity. (I believe I have mentioned somewhere that I am a tad impatient. ;-))

Two months in seems like a good point to return to my hypothesis and see which experiences so far support or refute it.

Once again, my hypothesis is that practicing greater curiosity in my interactions with people and events around me will greatly increase the quality of those interactions and of my life. I listed five ways in which I thought I would benefit. What I would like to do now is go through these ways point by point, reviewing what I have written so far and seeing how it all fits together (or doesn’t).

  1. Practicing curiosity will reduce the stress in my life.

I don’t find a lot of posts so far that address this point specifically, but I find none that contradict this idea. Indeed, the six posts I do find offer really strong support for the idea that when I take the step back and remain curious about a situation I am more relaxed and feel less stress.

For more info, you can re-visit: Day 002 (PhD informational session), Days 010 and 011 (doing an ordinary task), Day 035 (curiosity in the face of hopelessness), Day 053 (doing a difficult task), and Day 058 (noticing one’s achievements).

  1. Practicing curiosity will set me up to be more responsive and therefore more effective.

Again, so far I haven’t written a lot about this, but what I have written supports my hypothesis fairly strongly. The most telling post was the one in which I did not hit my teacher when I opened the door (Day 049), a post which strongly supported a corollary of my first point—that losing my sense of curiosity contributes significantly to my feeling stressed out.

Otherwise, I saw some suggestion that curiosity makes me (or others) more responsive and effective on Day 009 (an exceptional music director) and on Day 053 (flower arranging).

  1. Practicing curiosity will help me build better connections to other people.

Under this point there are a lot of posts, but most of them are (surprise, surprise) theoretical. In fact, I have just had a visit from an old, dear friend during which I could have practiced curiosity (and Inquiry) a lot to find out more about her life now and where her opinions come from but instead just let my hair down and chatted away with no thought of curiosity, leaving me with the question of whether this would have helped me build an even closer relationship with her. Ah, well. Remembering. The strongest support for this point can be found on Day 038, when I actually used a little bit of Inquiry.

Other posts: Day 017 (when a German politician talked about integration of refugees), Day 018 (about Charlotte Vaughan Coyle), various posts about dialogue and Inquiry: 019, 022, 023, 024, 026, and 027; and the idea of being curious about other people’s strengths on Day 052.

  1. Practicing curiosity will be the path to growth AND the way to enjoy the journey.

To my great surprise, there were a lot of posts related to this point. I don’t remember writing that much. Interesting. I feel that all of my posts about my drawing class fit here and support the idea that curiosity is a path to growth and a way to enjoy the growth (Days 020, 021, 028, 042, 049, 056 and especially 035).

The posts on travel and curiosity (Day 034), map-making (Day 044), and curiosity about oneself and one’s strengths (Days 050 and 054) also seem to support this part of my hypothesis.

  1. Practicing curiosity will be an antidote to self-righteousness and knowing it all.

I came up with a sad result on this one. Only one post really seemed to support this idea, the post on actually practicing Inquiry live (Day 038, already mentioned above). Clearly, there is lots of room for additional testing here.

In addition …

In addition to the five points listed above, I found two points that could be added. One in particular should have been obvious. With the other the question is whether it needs to be mentioned separately or could be considered to be a part of a couple of points above.

  1. Practicing curiosity will help me know more and understand more. (Duh.)

For me, all the dialogue and Inquiry posts mentioned above fit here, too. In addition, the following posts suggest that this is an aspect that needs to be included: Day 007 (on exploring one’s own feelings), Day 015 (on “What kind of ___ is this?”), Days 054 and 055 (on comparisons), and Day 060 (on Jane Goodall’s early experience as a naturalist).

  1. Practicing curiosity will contribute to my enjoyment of life. (Is this really a separate point?)

Supported by posts on Day 003 (the Five Senses Exercise), Days 005 and 006 (sniffing at life), Days 012 and 013 (coaching question), and Day 057 (the wraparound version of the Five Sense Exercise).

Conclusions?

(1) There is a lot of support for my hypothesis that practicing curiosity will increase the quality of my life, although there is more support for some points than for others. (2) In no case is there evidence that I am barking up the wrong tree entirely. (3) The biggest challenge is still moving beyond the thinking and writing and actually doing—that sentence “If I would just practice curiosity more consistently, I would reduce stress / become more responsive / connect better with others / grow and enjoy the journey / be less self-righteous.”

At least I have 304 days to keep working on it!

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