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Staying Curious

What was the last question you asked? Did you take the answer you were given or did it lead to more questions?

Last week, in the car, my daughter asked how an octopus can see where it is going if its eyes are on the sides of its head and this led to a ten minute philosophical discussion about directions of travel and the fact that pigs cannot look up at the sky! She is a twin and one of my three daughters, all of whom are inquisitive and like to ask random questions or challenge my thinking (and sanity at times!) on a regular basis and these types of discussion are a frequent part of our conversations in the car or at the dinner table.

I love that they question things. I wouldn’t want them to just accept information at face value, without reflection or independent thought, and I love these quirky conversations that we have about all kinds of things. It’s how I know they are still curious about the world around them and that they are still learning. They also teach me things or get me to see things from different angles and perspectives.

We all go through the ‘why?’ phase as children; that wonderful few months or years where everything adults say is met with ‘Why?’ until the adult runs out of answers or patience or both! But how often does that need for deeper understanding stay with us into adulthood? When do we lose that curiosity and start to just accept?

Being able to reflect on our world, to question what we see and hear, is so important, now more than ever. So many people are willing to just accept thoughts, opinions, beliefs and actions without challenge, not just other people‘s but also their own, and yet there are so many whys and hows that go unnoticed in our own minds every day.

We make hundreds of decisions all the time without question; what time to get up, what to do first, what to wear, how to greet people, what to have for breakfast or even whether to have any breakfast at all. We have probably made more than 20 decisions within the first 20 minutes after waking up and most of those don’t necessarily require much thought or challenge.

But knowing where those smaller decisions come from can help when it comes to making bigger ones, such as lifestyle or career choices, choosing relationships and partners or making changes in our lives to try to improve things. Being able to reflect on why we act or think in certain ways or what our thought processes or feelings are in certain situations is so important in helping us to understand how we can then begin to change those things or make more conscious choices.

Do you know what drives your actions? Do you regularly challenge your own thoughts or emotions? Are you able to reflect back on situations and your role in them? Maybe it’s time to rediscover your inner curiosity and start asking the why questions.

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