Be More Curious, Be Less Certain
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
In my experience, certainty is among the least attractive qualities one can possess. People who are always certain—they’re the reactive combatants in every debate, who cannot tolerate open discussion about difficult issues; they are certain they are right and that means, if you disagree at all, you are certainly wrong. If there is one clear cause of every nasty, polarizing argument, it’s certainly certainty.
My best guess is that we simply cannot stand the anxiety of uncertainty. Not knowing is among our most difficult emotional challenges for us humans. We hate it. We don’t like not knowing the results of our tests (medical as well as academic). We don’t like not knowing what somebody’s feelings really are. Perhaps most of all, we don’t like not knowing what to do, which choice to make in a given situation, and what gives us the best chance to succeed. In many ways, that’s why I’ve written this book—to help guide you to make the wisest choices in the face of life’s uncertainty.
And the wisest choice I know in this regard is to be more curious, and be less certain. Give up your need to know anything for sure, and increase your curiosity to learn more about everything, with humility.
Curious people are attractive. Curious people are adventurous and fun to be around. Curious people have good relationships, even great ones, because instead of feeling threatened by others’ positions, and therefore needing them to agree with their certainties, curious people just like getting to know people better.
Get even more curious, and even less certain; it really is the best way to experience the world, and live in it.
I’m certain of it.
[This was another excerpt from our new book, Choose Your Own Adulthood, which hits bookstores today!]
Peace begins with pause,