Curiosity fuels artistic and scientific exploration, and is almost a defining characteristic of gifted and creative people.
It is also a strength and trait that encourages personal growth – and can relieve our ennui, as writer Dorothy Parker declared:
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert thinks this is “One of the greatest quotes on creativity ever…”
She continues in a post of hers on the topic of passion versus curiosity:
“I am a big advocate for the pursuit of curiosity. You’ve maybe heard me talk about this before?
“We are constantly being told to pursue our passions in life, but there are times when passion is a TALL ORDER, and really hard to reach.
“In seasons of confusion, of loss, of boredom, of insecurity, of distraction, the idea of ‘passion’ can feel completely inaccessible and impossible.
“In such times, you are lucky to be able to get your laundry done (that sometimes feels as high as you can aim) and when someone tells you to follow your passion, you want to give them the middle finger. (Go ahead and do it, by the way. But wait till their back is turned, out of civility.)
“But curiosity, I have found, is always within reach.
“Passion is a tower of flame, but curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, ‘Hey, that’s kind of interesting…’ Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.”
Elizabeth Gilbert thinks curiosity is “therefore a lot easier to reach at times than full-on passion — and the stakes are lower, easier to manage.
“The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for a instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information?
“For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next.”
From her post One of the greatest quotes on creativity ever…
Her books include Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
video: Creative Thinking Course with Elizabeth Gilbert
In a Facebook post, Elizabeth Gilbert comments about her online class:
“Acumen is a not-for-profit online school for social change, working to support people who are tackling problems of poverty and injustice around the world.
“My Creativity Workshop is part of a new series of master classes built with amazing thought leaders like Seth Godin, and it also serves as a fundraiser for +Acumen.”
* Course Description from the site
A creative life is any life governed more by curiosity than by fear.
In this course Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of books including Eat Pray Love, Committed, The Signature of All Things and Big Magic will equip you with the practical tools and inspiration to jumpstart your own creative journey.
You’ll learn why perfectionism, originality, and passion are overrated and why we should instead strive to be authentic doers who follow our curiosity.
This course is a companion to Elizabeth’s latest book, Big Magic.
The course will offer coaching and insights that expand on her chapters.
She’ll respond to three real-life case studies of change makers struggling to get started, and offer tips to help push your own creative projects into the next gear.
Whether you are an entrepreneur or an artist, you’ll learn about how to pursue a life driven more by curiosity than fear.
Learn more and sign up:
Author Daniel Pink would probably agree with Gilbert that “a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt.”
He has said: “I find that question very daunting: What’s your passion? I find that almost paralyzing, in a way.
“I find it less paralyzing to say, What are you interested in doing next?”
He makes those comments in a video in my post: It takes more than feeling passionate.
~ ~ ~
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein
The photo is film and TV producer Brian Grazer, whose “curiosity conversations” with accomplished people over the course of decades have “sparked the creative inspiration behind many of his movies and TV shows, including Splash, 24, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Arrested Development, 8 Mile, J. Edgar, and many others,” as a summary of his book notes.
Grazer writes in his book:
“A couple of years ago, I started thinking about curiosity as a value I wanted to share, a quality I wanted to inspire in other people. I thought, What I’d really like to do is sit down and tell a few stories about what curiosity has done for me.
“I’d like to tell stories about the sheer joy of discovery that open-ended curiosity offers. That’s the kind of joy we have as kids when we learn things just because we’re curious. You can keep doing that as an adult, and it’s just as much fun.”
He also notes how important curiosity has been his professional life: “I long ago figured out how to be systematic about using curiosity to help me tell stories, to help me make good movies, to help me learn about parts of the world far from Hollywood.”
The Dorothy Parker and Einstein quotes are used in the book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman.
[The photo of Grazer (from Architectural Digest) is also in my article What Is Power And Empowerment?]
Psychologist Todd Kashdan thinks “Curiosity appears to be a fundamental motive in facilitating industry and creativity. Writers, artists, inventors, scientists, and others engaged in the creative process often refer to curiosity to describe the compelling psychological need to work at their craft.
“Without curiosity, the act of pursuing success, eminence, and creativity is not enough to motivate an individual to consistently maintain 10-, 12-, or even 16-hour workdays at the expense of developing balance between work and other life roles…”
“Children have boundless curiosity to explore everything.
“Then there’s something that occurs when we enter adulthood. We learn the rules, we want to develop some closure, we want to feel intelligent, we want to feel some level of certainty and structure in our lives.
“We get caught up in the struggle to control uncertainty, which we can’t actually do.”
See more quotes and a video in my article: Curiosity may help you find your true potential.
Todd Kashdan, Ph.D. is author of the book Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life.
[The photo of a curious child is also used in my post Curiosity and Creativity.]
In addition to reading widely, taking classes on different subjects can inspire your creativity and curiosity.
Two sources of online courses:
CreativeLive – “Free and tuition online classes taught by top instructors: workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, software, life skills.”
Udemy – classes in many subjects, including creativity – “From idea generation to creative confidence, the power of the subconcious to innovation and invention, come discover methods of creativity.”
A final quote:
“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers.” – Psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, from her article: The Benefits of Restlessness and Jagged Edges.
[The Dorothy Parker quote image is from a Dawn Productions post.]