elizabeth gilbert

Why Curiosity is Learned, Not an Innate Trait

While typing away at a lesson plan for a middle school mentoring program on positive living for Gwen's Girls, I'm thinking, I wish I had learned these lifestyle tools about healthy relationships, happiness, and career tips when I was in school. 

The thing is, I probably did, or at least learned a similar curriculum (or, by example) in class or camp.

But I didn't have the capacity to process it the way I desire to today. In other words, I didn't question what I learned.  

There are diverging thoughts about youth:

 "Children are so full of curiosity and wonder."


"Young people don't have the desire to learn; they don't sit still or concentrate. Education is wasted on the young."  

I always did well in school, but I slid by in terms of intellectually processing the material. I never deeply cared about much of it, except for a few select books in English class. I would say that a lot of my peers would agree. We were taught to take education at face value for the sake of a test. We moved quickly. No lesson was given the true light of day. 

But then I got to college, and things got exciting. Suddenly there were topics worth exploring. We were encouraged to question our material. There were papers that I stayed up late writing...and didn't mind. 

And then, post-college, I made the decision to become an entrepreneur. From my mind sprung a beautiful idea with a beating heart, and I wanted to keep it alive. Everything in life became an opportunity. I became curious. I knew that what I found out from asking questions could help. 

 Curiosity needed a push from me. 

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of at Pray Love and her most recent book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, says: "Curiosity is accesible to anyone."

A child's wonder could simply be the desire to grow in a world that we have gotten used to. We can look at social issues the same way. We don't have to ho-hum about this world. We can change it, if we find out where its hinges and catapults are. 

Ask questions. Be open. Have discussions. And then bring it all back to a meditation practice, process, and transform. Curiosity is merely the 'on' button for building systems of a better world and life.  

Don't miss out on pushing that button.