Sunday, December 07, 2008

Curious about Curiosity: Are You What Tom Peters Calls “Curiosity Freaks?” They and We Are His Favorite People

Curiosity Definition: The state or quality or being curious; nicety; accuracy; exactness; elaboration. Disposition to inquire, investigate, or seek after knowledge; a desire to gratify the mind with new information or objects of interest; inquisitiveness.

Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” - Linus Pauling, American scientist (note that Pauling was the creator of Linux)

I have been writing my Curiosity Cubed blog for more than four years, and have never investigated curiosity as the weekly theme. I decided it was about time when the daily quotation from Tom Peters’ Re-imagine! daily calendar stated, “My favorite people (Brand Yous) are . . . CURIOSITY FREAKS.”

I would have to admit that I am one. Because I have a “Portfolio Career” with so many different avocations and interests, I find that I spend a lot of time pursuing curiosity. What about you? I do agree with Linus Pauling that the satisfaction of it is a great source of happiness for me. Some people would feel that I am wasting time by not always focusing, but I did find when checking the experts’ quotations that most were positive about curiosity.

Here is a sampling from the many:
  • The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” - Albert Einstein, German physicist
  • Curiosity is idle only to those who fail to realize that it may be a very rare and indispensable thing.” - James Harvey Robinson, American historian
  • Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” - Eleanor Roosevelt, American First Lady
  • Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance.” - William Wirt, American statesman
  • Human curiosity, the urge to know, is a powerful force and is perhaps the best secret weapon of all in the struggle to unravel the workings of the natural world.” - Aaron Klug, British physicist
  • Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory.” - Richard Whately, English writer

And more – with a different twist:

  • It is the object of learning, not only to satisfy the curiosity and perfect the spirits of ordinary men, but also to advance civilization.” - Woodrow Wilson, American President
  • If you're curious, you'll probably be a good journalist because we follow our curiosity like cats.” - Diane Sawyer, American journalist
  • My Alma mater was books, a good library... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.” - Malcolm X, American activist
  • There are two sorts of curiosity - the momentary and the permanent. The momentary is concerned with the odd appearance on the surface of things. The permanent is attracted by the amazing and consecutive life that flows on beneath the surface of things.” - Robert Wilson Lynd, American sociologist
  • What we want to tell, we wish our friend to have curiosity to hear.” - Samuel Richardson, English novelist
  • So curiosity, I think, is a really important aspect of staying young or youthful.” - Goldie Hawn, American actress

Here’s my favorite:

Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” -Samuel Johnson, English author

So, how curious are you? When we were youngsters, we had all sorts of questions because of our curiosity. I feel that we are living in the most wonderful time period with our access to information from all over the world and beyond. Let’s all take advantage of it rather than complaining about “information overload.”