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March 26th, 2020
Are you ever curious when you are stressed? The two don’t seem to sound good together. ‘Desperate to find a solution’ might be the closest thing we experience when stressed.
It doesn’t take much experience, thinking or research to realize that prolonged stress severely limits our more creative faculties. Robert Sapolsky has made a tour de force effort in his books “Why Zebras Don’t get Ulcers” and “Behave” to explain the underlying neuroscience of stress and how it inhibits creativity and decision making abilities.
We can, on the other hand think of curiosity as having prerequisites, somewhat like a seed. A seed requires certain conditions to activate. It needs some moisture, some heat, and after it cracks itself open, it needs some soil, nutrients, and oxygen, and eventually, sunlight. All told, a seed has quite a few prerequisites that need to be filled before it does it’s trick.
Curiosity is no different. With stress and worry in the picture, curiosity keeps to itself. With a busy schedule, curiosity stands by, letting you do your thing. Trauma, tragedy, drama, desperation… all of these keep that shy character out of the picture.
Curiosity is like that great teacher, who smiles on our fumbling, but does not instruct. Who waits patiently, perhaps even forever, without talking loudly, only occasionally pointing at something when we look its way. It does not lead, but ventures with us, when we make the time. It’s the teacher that smiles softly, and speaks even softer, speaking only in questions.
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