In December, the world went blank with snow and fog, a good metaphor for my state of mind. I had to dig deep to understand why I hadn’t been writing regularly for months. Writing is my thing. When there is nothing else, there is writing. Yet there I was in the jolly old month of December feeling like everything was futile and I had no reason to be writing anything anywhere. Why should anyone care what I had to say? I was stuck in my head, my avalanching insecurities burying my joy.
Then I tripped on the first stone in my path. Tripped, as in being suddenly forced to wake-up and take a good look around. I landed face first in the grinding question: Why do I write? I don’t have to. No one is dishing out assignments except myself. An answer finally came burning through the mist, simple and free of ego.
The plain bare fact is I don’t write because anyone will read or appreciate what I write ( that is a pleasant afterthought but not my purpose). I write because I always feel better when I do. A letter, or a journal entry, or an essay to post on my blog can elicit the sensation of a weight fall from my shoulders and euphoria lifting me from the ground. It is no more complex than that. Writing energizes me, heals me, sends me on my way knowing that if I can write, I can do anything.
Answering that question freed me to trip over the next stone in my path. What shall I write? Why am I afraid of that chasm, the one at the border of the blank page? Why am I afraid of the gaping monster that guards the edge of creativity? Again, a simple thought cleared things up.
I was reminded of a December 29, 2015 post on my son’s facebook page, IMPACT-Self-Made Influencers Changing the World:
“This ties in with things I’ve said recently about following your curiosity. It’s a compass that has served me exceedingly well in 2015.
Then Todd Henry mentioned in my interview with him that curiosity was the thing that had helped him most to build his influential work.
This idea was also backed up by an Elizabeth Gilbert video I discovered last week (you may have seen it making the rounds) where she states that she no longer gives anyone the advice to find their purpose, but rather encourages people now to follow their curiosity.”
Curiosity is the bridge from where we are over the chasm to what we want to be and do. This idea burned through my fog of anxieties and self-doubt in a way nothing else has for a long time. We can be on fire with creativity through curiosity. We need to remember a few important myths about curiosity which tend to scare us off.
- Curiosity can kill you – it is dangerous
- Curiosity isn’t work – it is for lazy people
- Curiosity is frivolous and is for “pie in the sky” thinkers – the curious are fruitless dreamers
- Curiosity gets you in trouble – it leads to bad decisions
- Curiosity is only for people with a high degree of imagination and intelligence – it isn’t for ordinary folks like me.
- Curious people are annoying – they lack focus and have their fingers in too many pies
- Curiosity doesn’t lead to self-improvement – be safe and just follow conventional wisdom
- Curiosity is a waste of time – there are too many distractions
I’m going to leave it to you to figure out why these myths can lead poor health, poor emotional IQ, and stifled creativity. Curiosity, like any powerful tool, has the potential to lead to problems but that is the way it is with all knowledge. Without curiosity, there is no exploration, and without exploration, there is no creativity or progress.
It is all too easy to be so focused on security and following safe rules and habits that we forget to be curious. By writing, whether just for myself or for public consumption, I bring my being more in focus with my own healthy curiosity. Curiosity is the energy by which the universe becomes an endless source of delight. Writing gives us greater access to that joy.