Curiosity, triviality and connection

I’ve been reading a lot about curiosity.

Quotes like “you can never be bored if you’re curious.” I think that’s true, but there’s an important second step to curiosity.

Some people’s curiosity stops at pure intellectualism.

It’s knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Sometimes that is nice. It might be your hobby to know trivial facts. Interestingly, many facts could be made non-trivial by the way they’re acted upon. That’s the second step of the process.

I think there’s a line drawn between intellectualism and reality when the facts begin to help people. It doesn’t mean that you need to be saving lives, it could be much simpler than that.

Say you have a love for birds. You know all there is to know about the species of birds that live in your state. That knowledge is neat, but not helping anyone. Once you start sharing information with park rangers, or teaching your grandkids about how birds interact, then you’ve crossed a line into reality.

I think crossing that line feels good. But I also think it’s scary. What if someone else doesn’t care about your information? What if they respond with a blank stare?

It turns out, just the possibility that no one cares is enough to prevent most people from sharing. That’s a terrible shame, too. Have you ever had a friend with whom you shared a random connection that you didn’t realize for years? It happens all the time. The coworker who lives right next-door. The classmate who went to the same high school as your best friend.

There are connections all around us, if we’re bold enough to uncover them. Those ideas, those trivial little facts can bring people together.

Knowing the facts isn’t the hard part. It’s easy to keep a bunch of bird names in your head. That’s why it’s not very valuable to do so. On the other hand, it’s hard to share that knowledge in a way that matters. Though it may be tough, it’s worth it. Those connections are worth far more than facts.

Let your curiosity help you discover facts, but let your courage help you share them and connect with the people who matter.