Curiosity Killed the Cat?

This phrase first appeared in an Irish newspaper in 1868 and was later listed as Irish proverb, coming into common use in the early 1900s, being used to warn against the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.
Curiosity however is a natural function of the human condition.
Without it we would not be who we are, or indeed, if you consider our spiritual nature, here at all.
You or I cannot be successful in life without curiosity, without discovery, without learning and without understanding.
What do I mean by successful?
I suppose the answer to that could be the eponymous ‘42’ – or ‘whatever you wish it to be’.
Success is really about scale on the one hand, and your personal environment on the other.
We can be, or more correctly ‘feel’, successful in one domain of our environment but not in another – successful in our work but not in our health for example.
I would define true success as an achievement of balance in all areas of our existence – to the same scale in all areas.
People can be successful in a ‘small’ way or a ‘big’ way – as viewed by others.
If you or I feel successful, then we are.
The thing is the ‘scale’ of our success and this is where curiosity comes in.
People get to a point, you and I get to a point, where curiosity ‘stops’.
“I’m not interested in that”, “I don’t need to know about that”.
This happens often when a ‘new’ topic come up, something with which we are currently ‘unfamiliar’.
One of the rules of the mind to paraphrase my mentor Marisa Peer is that the mind rejects or moves away from the ‘unfamiliar’ and favours or moves towards the ‘familiar’.
For most people anything remotely unfamiliar is ignored or rejected, and it’s ignored or rejected for one reason.
Fear is the fifth level of consciousness (on the Hawkins scale of 17 levels) and it presents as anxiety and withdrawal from the unfamiliar.
We have created a ‘set of rules’, mindsets, for ourselves that define what is ‘familiar’ and what is not.
‘Familiar’ is who we are now, how we live now, what we do now, and so on.
‘Familiar’ is our success.
Now we have a choice.
We can stay in our ‘familiar’ comfort zone or we can be curious.
Curiosity expands our ‘familiar’ by ‘chipping away’ at the ‘unfamiliar’.
Curiosity is the first step to expanding our comfort zone, our mindset and our ‘rules of life’ but the enemy of curiosity is fear.
Fear of ‘risk’ – Fear of change – Fear of rejection – Fear of disruption – Fear of being ‘sold’ to – Fear of complexity – Fear of ridicule – and so on . . .
The mind conjures up all these fears to stop us from progressing, to stop us from raising the scale of our success.
You and I have been through an education system which, until you get to the higher levels, does not foster curiosity.
Instead it’s about ‘learning facts’ and memorising them and then being ‘examined’ on our knowledge and our ability to absorb information.
And it’s not about understanding that information or discovering that information or even about applying that information. That doesn’t come until we get to Masters degree or Doctorate level in the system, except in the ‘practical’ disciplines like engineering or medicine.
When we try to find things out or ask ‘difficult’ questions in our schooldays that’s when ‘curiosity killed the cat’ comes in.
And the same happens at work. When we ask our employers ‘why’ too often, in most cases it becomes a full stop to our career with that company.
So, when we are offered opportunities to discover something new, whether that be an idea, a product, a service or an opportunity the ‘defences’ kick in.
Being curious is a bad idea, or so we have been trained.
But if we are offering something ‘unfamiliar’ then we need to be careful what we say.
We have to give people ‘facts’ in a way that appears that what we have to offer is something that is already established, not something people need to be ‘curious’ about.
People love being given information so long as they don’t have to engage with it, as long as they don’t have to ask questions about it, just accept it as fact.
It’s one of the reasons why people buy online, they don’t have to ask – all the ‘facts’ abut the product are readily available.
And it’s why it’s so easy for the ‘fake news’ merchants to influence and manipulate people towards their own ends by saying things in such a way that people don’t get curious and question their authenticity.
Allan Pease put it this way, so that people would start to get interested with what we are offering we must ask questions – “Questions are the Answers” and Steve Shapiro said the same thing with “Ask – Listen”.
When we make a statement and then ask a question about it, the listener, or reader, responds based on their assumption that the statement was true – only rarely do they question it.
There is one situation when curiosity does work however, which is when the fears listed above are overridden by another fear – FOMO, or fear of missing out.
Questions like “Do you make these mistakes . . ?” or “Are you too late for . . ?” are, among others, powerful ways of ‘getting people interested’.
But we are as a species inherently curious and if you or I want to grow as an individual then we need to implement this powerful faculty.
Ignore the fears that have been trained into us, ask the questions, spend the time finding out things that may benefit us because when we have done our ‘discovery’ or ‘due diligence’ only then can we make a properly informed decision.
When we do that, when we engage our curiosity, our intuition, our thirst for knowledge and understanding, then we can increase the scale and balance of our success.