To be curious, you must embrace what you don’t know.
Recently I went to trivia night at a bar with a big group. I didn’t know many of the answers.
One of the acquaintances I was with made a joke about how previous Homeschoolers like me never learned anything.
I laughed it off.
Later in the night, it was this same acquaintance who seemed bothered. His team lost. He was visibly annoyed and asking his teammates, “How could you not have known that answer? We should have known!”
When I got home at the end of the night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this guy had acted. I noticed that whenever he knew the answer, he would talk about it at length to everyone around him. At first, I loved this and enjoyed talking to him. I was so curious when he spoke of some event in history or pop culture. I’d ask something like, “But why did that happen?” and he’d jump to answer.
Yet I noticed that when he didn’t know an answer, he would get irked and stop talking. I soon migrated to other people in the group, laughing and enjoying the game. Yet I thought of him again afterward. When he didn’t know the answer, he didn’t want to find it out. He wasn’t at all curious. Why?
Because this would mean admitting that he didn’t know something. Curiosity means embracing what you don’t know.
In school, kids are rewarded for knowing a bunch of facts, and punished for not knowing. In school kids learn to judge someone’s worth or intellect by how much (or little) knowledge they have. If you don’t know about something, you might look stupid. So you learn to shy away from what you don’t know, instead of going towards it.
You learn to back away from your curiosity, lest you embarrass yourself by not knowing something you ‘should’ know.
As a Homeschooled kid, I was never punished for not knowing certain things. There are some gaps in my knowledge compared to those who spent years studying a set curriculum. I’m more than okay with this. I love being open about everything I don’t know.
When someone has knowledge that I don’t, I usually jump at the chance to let my curiosity on the subject run wild as I ask them all about it. Not knowing something but wanting to find it out is what makes my heart beat.
My curiosity pulls me into the unknown, turns me into an explorer and keeps me in love with each new day. I’m brave enough to embrace my curiosity and everything that I don’t know.
And I really enjoy trivia night at the bar.