Of Curiosity and exploration

A few weeks ago, I was tasked with curating Founding Fuel’s newsletter. I wrote there, “As new walls are coming up the world over, history points in the direction of bringing in diverse ideas and people to collaborate for new frontiers to get established.”

Diversity of thought, opinion and domains have been factors that I have been exposed on a regular basis over the last year. If there was one element that is central to this exposure, that would be curiosity. It is curiosity that has been central to all conversations that I have immensely enjoyed.  More on curiosity, later.  For now, allow me to let you rest you with this Zulu phrase that I spotted in this brilliant piece.

To drift into another area now. What does depth in a subject mean? The last year or so has been a pointer to have my own answer to this question has evolved. ‘Depth’ in a topic/domain is no longer a lonely chair in a unitary pipe at the bottom of an ocean of knowledge, but rather is a noisy couch at the intersections of disciplines.  Depth in a domain has now come to signify a deep knowledge and understanding yet a sense of not being bound by that domain alone. You know it well enough to think of how it relates and connects to other aspects around.

Depth in a domain, therefore, has leaned more towards the ‘connection’ and in the ‘relating’ to other domains and disciplines. You need to go beyond a domain to see how it relates to other domains. Needless to say, to go beyond one’s core domain and see how it relates to other domains requires a depth that is greater and much-varied depth.

Where better to see the interplay of disciplines in an airport and airplanes. They bring alive some of the best and worst behaviour in people. Some of my best travels have been with total strangers as co-passengers. People who are innately curious about my domains of interest and have had no hesitation in sharing theirs. I have had some fantastic conversation with doctors, scientists, traders and even a football coach. These have been people who did not hesitate to share or ask pointed questions on my work.

By the time the plane touched down at a new airport, I knew a thing or two about what it meant to be a doctor or a football coach. But more importantly, I knew a thing or two that I had to look up, reflect and dive deep into my own areas of work, based on our conversation in air.  These explorations have lead me to something else, triggering an infinite loop of search and discovery.

The other thing that I have now concluded is this: people are nice. Generally speaking! If you share a perspective, expose a vulnerable sleeve and are prepared to lend a patient ear, people share. There are the odd ones that are exceptions. But they are really the odd ones and yes, they are exceptions!

One more thing. I have met some true masters. Their mastery of their own craft that was belied by a simple demeanour but superseded by an innate infinite curiosity to explore other areas. It is this curiosity that held our conversations together. It is this curiosity that I hope to have by my side. To me, it is this curiosity that will surface the depths of what’s possible and what needs to be explored.

That brings me back to curiosity.

There is a ton of research that points to how relevant and important curiosity is to learning and growth.  There are pointers to how you could build curiosity in kids as well. I find it very easy to just ask questions and stay fully present to answers. It is as simple as that! And it is the best way to find others and in their answers find more of yourself.