I just celebrated a birthday – it was a low key and laid back time with just my family. And though both of my boys regularly refer to me (lovingly, of course!) as a “dinosaur,” I’m not really that ancient yet. One thing is true, though. As I get older (a phrase that my doctor refused to say during my check-up last week) I definitely find myself knowing less and less. That old quote is ringing true for me.
“The older you get, the less you know.”
With this realization, I find myself seeking to embrace a state of perpetual curiosity.
Perpetual curiosity? What is that!?
I used to think that knowing the answers was the best way to contribute to my world. I was a nerdy kid who put a lot of effort toward academics. I wanted to prove my value and my worth through my expansive knowledge.
But now I understand that expansive knowledge is not the holy grail I thought it was.
Perpetual curiosity means not assuming I know the answer. It means continually seeking for clarity and for the diversity of thought. It means focusing on learning how to ask the right questions instead of spouting the right answers.
In my relationships, this curiosity means not assuming I know the other person’s motives. It also means not settling for where we are today in our relationship but constantly striving toward what’s next.
In leadership, this looks like leading others to find their answers and not assuming my experience or outlook or ideas are the right ones for their situation. Curiosity results in bringing the most out of people, and that just happens to be my why for leading others.
In my walk with God, curiosity denies me the right to assume I understand God’s character and fullness. Instead, it leads me to spend more time with Him to try to understand Him more fully. It also means ceasing to fit my life into a preconceived box and instead ask, ‘Where do I see God working in my life today?”
Perhaps what I am most grateful for in today’s culture and our society is that perpetual curiosity forces me to look past myself and see others. Not for our differences, but for our similarities.
I agree with Brene Brown when she states in her new book, Dare to Lead, “But curiosity is uncomfortable because it involves uncertainty and vulnerability.” Choosing to be curious means taking the focus off of myself and my perceptions and my plans. It means not knowing.
And it leads to a whole new world that I cannot wait to experience.