Being curious takes your development to an entirely different level.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
— Mark Twain
Danger is not hidden from us. There are some crazy people out there. Our motivation stems from some level of fear. Maybe not all the time, but at least sometimes. We don’t want to screw things up, fall flat on our faces and look stupid in front of everyone. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we think about these things while we pursue what we love. And it scares us.
You could also say that it drives us. Our minds drift off to the worst case scenario. Nothing seems more clear to us than the bad stuff getting ready to happen. We try to avoid them, at all costs. But it doesn’t seem to help.
That’s because we’re focused on the wrong thing. Fear is not our problem; at least, not most of the time. Instead, it’s a lack of curiosity.
The Truth About Fear
Several years ago, I was a kid who wanted to learn how to swim with my older sister. I had never come close to swimming before that point. Water balloon fights (in my mind) were the same as plunging head-first into a large body of water.
I loved visiting her over the summer breaks. There was something about that Kentucky air that made the days a little brighter for me. All I really wanted to do was play video games and basketball.
But that didn’t stop my sister from toting me to a friend’s house for a few lessons. We had an agreement: this particular summer, I was going to perfect the therapeutic technique of swimming.
She was determined to teach my brother and me how to swim before we’d go back home. And there I was, preparing for the shock of a lifetime.
I was scared to death. Yet, more than anything, I was curious.
All I could picture in my head was me needing to be pulled from the water as I gasped for air. Cool points wouldn’t exist at that point.
It took just one day to get over that fear, however.
As I stared at that blue water glistening in the sun, there was a paradox going on inside of me — the combination of excitement and fear. I was excited about doing something new, but I was scared to jump.
It turned into the most satisfying feeling in the world. After that trip, I fell in love with swimming. Even today, I laugh at what I was so afraid of back then.
Curiosity Broadens Your Horizon
It’s facing your fear that reorients your drive to overcome others just like it. But it’s curiosity that keeps you moving forward despite those fears.
If you want to go farther, push harder, and do what matters most, you’ll come face to face with fear.
What happened throughout that summer was me exploring my curiosity. Before that initial step forward, I would always assume the worst without experiencing anything.
Thoughts of myself drowning flooded my mind. And because I focused on the negative, I stood paralyzed without even touching the water.
That’s what killed the cat, not curiosity. We treat life the same way.
Here’s the common theme in our lives:
We are scared of both what we don’t understand and what we have yet to encounter.
Yet, instead of doing something about it, we remain where we are and nothing changes. There will always be a sense of fear in doing things we’ve never done before. Things like getting married, moving out, buying a car, moving to a different state or country.
What keeps us stagnant, though, is when we neglect to broaden our horizon. That’s what curiosity does. It opens the door to new and exciting things. Knowledge and experience abound with it. It grows and grows over time.
Usually, it’s easier to look at these fears as negative and stay miles away from them because they’re so unusual to us. At the same time, we deprive ourselves of the possibilities that are all around us.
The truth is you’ll never stop being afraid of doing new things and taking on new challenges. That’s a natural reaction to stepping outside of your comfort zone. Regardless of how we feel about it, this is a good thing.
This mentality stretches us and encourages real growth. Sure, we can always opt to stay in our little bubble, away from all the scary things we deem impossible.
But will you go anywhere? Of course not.
Things never change in our little utopias of stagnation. It’s just the same old routines complete with the same old bad habits and self-inflicting wounds. No one can make you step outside of it, though. The ball is in your court.
Supporting Your Decisions
If you only want to do what is popular, you’ll go back to the way you were before. Following trends, you won’t even know who you are anymore; so many people to emulate; so many likes to get.
With the many sources that seize our attention, we get pulled in so many directions until we lose ourselves and our curiosity.
We become someone else because we settle in fear. And along the way, we overlook our true value.
It’s because we’re afraid of what could happen,just like I was scared to jump into that pool and swim to the deep end. I concentrated on all the horrible stories of people drowning and figured that would be my end too.
Doesn’t that sound familiar?
You could fail while pursuing your dreams. You could fall flat on your face, and the whole world could see it. Another check off the old fail list.
Or you won’t.
You could reach new heights in your life because you didn’t care what anyone else thought of your dreams. You were taking your steps, your way, owning the value you place on yourself.
We should do that more often. A habit of this kind would feed our courage to take those leaps of faith that make us stronger than we could ever imagine, regardless of how scared we may be.
To resist the temptation of being afraid of stepping out may not be as easy as some people make it. But it also isn’t as hard as we often make it either.
It takes courage. It takes confidence. It takes curiosity to grow.
And in the process, those former fears die off quicker than they reared their ugly heads. They will come again. But this time, you know not to feed your comfort and starve your progress.
Kevin Horton is a 24-year-old photographer, student, modest book-worm, and wanna-be web developer with a new-found love for writing. He writes helpful words about creativity, productivity, and the enjoyably simple life.
’Til next time. Thanks for reading!