Yesterday, I was reading one of Chris Brogan's newsletters. He was talking about our flags - basically what defines us, personally and professionally. This is something I've been thinking about, and so on a whim, I wrote to him, and said, "I'm curious, and I want other people to be curious too. No idea how this integrates with my career, actually - encouraging curiosity doesn't seem to be a paying sort of endeavor - but it's what I wind up doing most of the time :-)"
Wouldn't the world be a much better place if it was populated by intensely curious people? Curiosity is an engine of understanding, and understanding is an agent of change.
Much to my delight, Chris wrote back, saying,"Curiosity doesn't pay. Helping people satisfy theirs does. :)"
So now I'm thinking about what tangible, offline tools do people use to satisfy their curiosity? I'm focusing on offline tools because I believe hands on engagement is essential to creating passionate curiosity. It's definitely essential to understanding.
A magnifying glass is a great example, and one I appreciate more and more as I get older. It's a simple, easy way to see the small details of things. Binoculars and spy-glasses let you see what's far away; telescopes are great for what's really, really far away. I don't have a microscope (yet!) but it is definitely the tool to examine what lies way, way, way beneath.
I think if we want to encourage curiosity in children, we need to provide them with the age-appropriate versions of these tools and send them out into the world to see what they can see. More importantly, we need to keep using these tools as we grow. We must not get so busy that we stop looking at the world around us!