The Importance of Curiosity
by Liz Jansen
Do you ever think back on the things you were told as a kid and wonder how they shaped you? Every once in a while words and phrases will pop up from the recesses of my mind, and I wonder how I, as a little girl, understood them. One that came up recently around a conversation about embracing change and exploring new ground and asking questions about this amazing world we live in, was, “Curiosity killed the cat.”
Not surprisingly, curiosity was not encouraged in a culture that valued conformity and blind faith. Quite the opposite. We were taught not to question, rather to accept what we were told, even if it didn’t make sense.
That’s a long ago time and place, and things are very different now. I’ve instead adopted the adage that, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”― Albert Einstein.
Being curious was the second of the Life Lessons from Power of the Road speakers. In fact, it’s the number one message from Allan Karl, who tells us, “We need to ask questions, wonder and think more about the world and people around us. When we’re curious we’re more open, we see, and we enrich our lives through the new things we can learn when we just look, wonder, wander and explore.”
Not surprisingly, this trait is alive and well with Debbie Evans Leavitt, one of Hollywood’s top stuntwomen, who joined us while filming Fast and Furious 7. She’s always been curious as to what’s around the next corner or over the next hill—and followed that curiosity to find the answers. She’s done very well by it.
Cris Sommer Simmons’ curiosity has led her to study our history, particularly with women and motorcycling. Through her writing, riding old motorcycles and interactions across the country, she’s brought our history and legacy alive!
Mark Richardson talked about curiosity in the context of travel planning. Plan enough to have a structure, but leave room to take that interesting side road or detour. You never know where it might lead, what experiences await and what stories will need to be told.
Nita Korhonen was born into a world championship family, and she grew up surrounded by the greats in MotoGP racing. What she learned from them has led her to her position as the FIM’s director for the Women’s Commission, and she’s studied what it is that makes a champion—and shared it with the rest of us—factors that go beyond motorcycling and can be applied to other parts of our life.
One of the most vivid lessons comes from an organization that’s mastered the power of curiosity and dreams. “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company.
Here’s to your Road! May you never stop questioning.