It turns out that you can practice curiosity not only when buying a laptop but also when setting one up. When I got my last laptop, the one that is still my main laptop, I actually invested in getting a techie in to set it up properly for me. Because I am only planning to use this one in a limited way I didn’t want to spend the money this time and so have been working on the set-up myself. (Luckily, it’s kind of cloudy today, a good day to be indoors and working on something like this.)
This computer has Windows 10 on it and my other one has some earlier program (that tells you how much I know about technology, I think it’s Windows XP, but I wouldn’t want to bet any money on it), which means it has taken some trial and correction* to get the volume set up the way I want and a free program downloaded to show videos and a few other things configured. Tomorrow I’ll work on getting the free version of Office I believe I’m entitled to through one of the universities where I teach. For today I have done enough searching and testing and so on.
* “Trial and correction” is the phrase Timothy Gallwey of The Inner Game fame uses. He feels, and I agree, that it is more accurate than “trial and error”.
In this case I’m thinking specifically of the role of my education on me. I’m attending a panel discussion on the topic of top managers’ compensation. This is a topic that has interested me for a long time and that I’ve read a lot about. But that’s not the education I’m thinking of at the moment. What I’ve been feeling as I listen especially to one of the panelists, who feels that these top managers earn and deserve the tens of millions they receive, is my training in critical thinking. I may be terrible at facts and figures, but I can recognize contradictions and holes in people’s logic at 50 paces. And, boom, there goes my openness. I start taking delight in arguing with the person in my head and stop listening. Hello, judging.
I had quite a long to-do list today, and I got through it. The one thing I couldn’t cross off was “Practice curiousity”. Somehow that kind of focus on getting things done–necessary and helpful as it is sometimes–does not support a curious approach, at least not for me at this time. That may be Olympics-level, Jedi knight, Tai Chi master kind of curiosity.
I’ve written about this corner before, here. This morning there were several reasons I could have reacted now as I did then. There were just as many people, a young woman with a bicycle had decided to have a chat with a friend right on the corner, my foot and ankle hurt, and I was worried about my mother.
One huge difference (for me) though was that I had enough time. Because I knew I had enough time I had consciously decided to pay attention and be curious about the walk over to my 9 o’clock appointment. When the stresses started piling up, I just observed—observed what was going on around me and also within me. I remained calm and happy.
One point for curiosity.
A meeting with my financial advisor and a coaching session on building my business have left me feeling overwhelmed. To tell the truth, I woke up feeling as if someone had hit me over the head (the sudden heat, perhaps?) and never really got to feeling better in the course of the day.
All this is not conducive to practicing curiosity although consciously introducing a bit of mindful curiosity into my activities did briefly help me feel better.
Today I was talking to a friend about affirmations and in the middle of the conversation realized how a sentence I repeat to myself numerous times per day may be helping me practice curiosity. About two months ago I identified feeling safe as one of the factors that helps me enjoy the journey, one form of curiosity. I can imagine that feeling safe also helps me engage with other people more openly. The sentence is “ich bin sicher”. I use the German form because it can mean both “I am safe” but also “I am secure” as in “I am secure in myself.” Having repeated this sentence countless times in the last few years it finally seems to be taking effect. I feel immediately calmer–and more open–when I say it.
A friend of mine is coming to dinner (it’s to celebrate her birthday, which was in April), and I am cooking a couple of dishes I have never cooked before. I know I’m not supposed to do this, but when else would I try out new recipes?
The only thing is that I do find it hard to approach cooking the with curiosity under these circumstances. After all, I want them to turn out well as it is her birthday celebration. I am wedded to a particular outcome.
Ah, well. Better job next time.