Curiosity, Not Ignorance, Is Bliss By: Ann Hoy


“Curiosity seeks to annihilate itself; there is no curiosity that does not want an answer” Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

We are naturally curious, and eager to exchange our ignorance for knowledge, and our naivety for understanding.

There is intense curiosity, like the stalking paparazzi type, or mild curiosity, like wanting to know the weather forecast, but most of us have moderate curiosity.

Like Newton’s apple that fell and inspired the theory of gravity, our Eureka! Moment comes unexpectedly. We don’t seek out something to be curious about, we stumble upon it, like an oddity in a Dickens’ Curiosity Shop; it draws our attention to it, and we desire to know more about it.

Sometimes our curiosity draws us to a person. We are like the ‘Curiosity’ rover on Mars, zooming in closer to attempt to understand someone better. Curiosity engages our senses – we feel the energy in a person’s voice, or the firmness in their handshake.

Our curiosity also draws us inward to ask ourselves questions like, who am I? Why am I here? We may have never fully answered the call to “Know Thyself” since it was inscribed outside The Temple of Apollo at Delphi in ancient Greece, but our curiosity helps us understand ourselves and others better.

Curiosity is like a muscle that we develop by questioning, seeking new experiences, and viewing old experiences with fresh eyes. It stretches us, teaches us, and changes us.
We may even contradict our former views, change our minds, and cross the floor, as it washes away outmoded ideas.

Albert Einstein’s curiosity led him to expand on Galileo’s theories. Einstein looked at Galileo’s findings and asked different questions, which led to his discovery of the theory of relativity.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”. – Albert Einstein

Curiosity is Bliss

Curiosity is Bliss


Neurologists have found that asking new questions helps us form new neural pathways in our brains. An active curiosity slows down the aging process, encourages openness and inquisitiveness in social relationships, reduces boredom, and increases happiness, according to an article in Experiencelife.com.

It is also crucial to rational thinking. Of the 12 Virtues of Rational Thinking, curiosity is the number one according, to The Rationality Institute:

“The first virtue is curiosity. A burning itch to know is higher than a solemn vow to pursue truth. To feel the burning itch of curiosity requires both that you be ignorant, and that you desire to relinquish your ignorance. If in your heart you believe you already know, or if in your heart you do not wish to know, then your questioning will be purposeless and your skills without direction. Curiosity seeks to annihilate itself; there is no curiosity that does not want an answer. The glory of glorious mystery is to be solved, after which it ceases to be mystery. Be wary of those who speak of being open-minded and modestly confess their ignorance. There is a time to confess your ignorance and a time to relinquish your ignorance.”

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky – The Twelve Virtues of Rationality

In order to cultivate your curiosity, you need to be open to new information, so you can leave your comfort zone and discover what could be. The key is to ask questions, and the first question to ask is – how can I be more curious?

Sources:
http://experiencelife.com/article/the-power-of-curiosity/, brainy quote,
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky – The Twelve Virtues of Rationality,www.brainpickings.org

photo credit: Russ Allison Loar via photopin cc

52 Weeks to Optimizing Yourself 2014 – Week 8 – Go BIG With Going The Extra Mile

The Extra Mile

Go BIG With Going The Extra Mile

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to go BIG with going the extra mile.

“The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland.” Everyone says they go the extra mile, but almost no one actually does. Most people think, “Wait… no one else is here… why am I doing this?”

Jeff Haden

Jeff Haden goes on to say: “That’s why the extra mile is such a lonely place. That’s also why the extra mile is a place filled with opportunities. Be early. Stay late. Make the extra phone call. Send the extra email. Do the extra research. Help a customer unload or unpack a shipment. Don’t wait to be asked; offer. Every time you do something, think of one extra thing you can do–especially if other people aren’t doing that one thing. Sure, it’s hard. But that’s what will make you different–and over time will make you incredibly successful.”

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to look for ways I can go the extra mile with my work. I will let you know how it goes next week.

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/14-inspirational-quotes-for-2014-mon.html#ixzz2to0DIDy8 TIME.com

photo credit: kkimpel via

Review of Week 7 – Go BIG With Changing The Words “If Only” To “Next Time”

Love of Fate

Love The Hand You Are Dealt

This week, when I had thoughts like: “If Only I hadn’t broken my laptop charger, to “Next time I will not chop the chord up inside the motion furniture when I sit down, I realized that I can’t change what has happened, and it is a waste of my energy to regret it.

I was reminded of the ancient Roman philosophy, and the Latin words: “Amor fati”, meaning “love of fate”.

Instead of regretting the past, and wasting time worrying about things I can’t change, I can embrace them as a necessary part of my journey. All my experiences, good and bad, are lessons that have have shaped me and helped me arrive at the present. If I can love everything, good and bad, and see the value in what it has taught me, I can stop looking back, and be better today than I was yesterday.

photo credit: °*¤©§][ Rα3чαт BмW ]/photopin/creative commons

52 Weeks to Optimizing Yourself 2014 – Week 7 – Go BIG With Changing the Words “If Only” to “Next Time”.

Mistakes are Lessons

Mistakes Teach You What To Do Next Time

Change the words “if only” to “next time”.

Norman Vincent Peale.

 

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to change my “if only” thoughts or statements to “next time”.

Instead of saying “if only I had done this”, or “hadn’t done that”, I am going to focus on what I learned from my mistakes, and what I will do better next time.

As Norman Vincent Peale says in You Can if You Think You Can, “if only” is past tense, it wastes time, and hashes over old mistakes with you at the center.  “Next time” shifts your direction and lets you learn from your mistakes and push aside regret and move forward.  Living in the present, one day at a time, while thinking ahead to how you will keep optimizing yourself is the best you can do.

I will let you know how it goes next week.

Photo: photo pin

Review of Week 6 – Go BIG With Changing My Fear From Active to Latent

This week I went BIG with changing my fears from active to latent, and I learned that my fears cropped up when I wanted to take action.   When I heard the voice inside saying: “you shouldn’t “, or  ”you couldn’t”, “watch out for”,  I knew it was some outdated fears in my mind talking.

Fears are useful to warn you of danger, but you can’t let them get too powerful or they will stop you from enjoying life.  By changing them from ‘active’ to ‘latent’, they no longer immobilize you.

Fears are focused on outcomes in the future, but by staying present, and experimenting and having fun, you enjoy life more.

There are no certainties in life, except that the unexpected is sure to happen, whether you are fearful or not, so you might as well GO BIG and pursue your dreams.

You are never too old to start seizing the opportunities in life.  Today is the perfect time to start enjoying the rest of your life.

I love this quote on fear by Marianne Williamson:

(note – she is running for the US Congress as an Independent)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles

52 Weeks to Optimizing Yourself 2014 – Week 6 – Go BIG With Changing My Fear From ‘Active’ to ‘Latent’

change fear to latent

Positive thoughts make fear latent

 In Bill Gates’ book, “The Impatient Optimist”, when he is asked if he is guided by fear,  he says:  “Fear should guide you but it should be latent. I have some latent fear. I consider failure on a regular basis.”

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going BIG with changing my fear from active to latent

I will let you know how it goes next week.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/5398497910/”>AlicePopkorn</a> via <a

Review of Week 5 – Going BIG With Seeing Things Instead of Looking At Them

This week, I went BIG with seeing the moon, instead of only looking at it, and I saw the way it moves around the sky at different times of the night.  I gave it my full attention, instead of taking it for granted, and expecting it to illuminate the night sky.

I changed the way I looked at the moon and saw how useful it is, as a force that increases the ocean tides, and stabilizes the earth’s rotation so it doesn’t tip and cause extreme weather.  I saw it playing a starring role in lunar eclipses, solar eclipses, and appearing to get smaller and larger and change shape when the angle of the sun changes and casts shadows on it.

In the clear night sky, all the way from earth, I could see the valleys and highlands and marks where it had been hit by meteors and comets.  On a cloudy night, it shone a smoky, foggy light through the clouds.  One night, I saw a ring around the moon, caused by light reflecting on icy clouds surrounding it.

When I went BIG with seeing the moon, instead of simply looking at it, I realized how wonderful it is to have, and life would not be nearly as good without it.

 

The amazing moon

The Amazing Moon

: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesdphotography/5539023391/

scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=353

Redefining Success – Still Making Mistakes – W. Brett Wilson Book Review By: Ann Hoy

work/ life balance

Finding The Way to Work/Life Balance

As mentioned on my previous blog post, I won a contest to have lunch with W. Brett Wilson, this month.  I watched The Dragon’s Den tv show where Brett was a panelist many times, but since I will be meeting him, I read his book:  “Redefining Success, Still Making Mistakes” and wrote a review.

I don’t go too deep into the subject of business on my blog, other than to promote wealth consciousness and the law of attraction.  But reading the book made me aware of the importance of ‘business consciousness’.

The book contains a wealth of entrepreneurial information, but, on a deeper level, the book explores some of the same topics that my blog does:  personal growth and development, optimizing your time, loving yourself, recognizing your ego, positive energy, fulfillment, nurturing your mental, physical and emotional health, love of pets and family, and forgiving yourself and others.

The book illustrates that we can be proud of our business achievements, while feeling pain in our personal lives, but if we are willing to change the things we can, we can harmonize our work and life, and achieve true success in both.

Book Review of : “Redefining Success, Still Making Mistakes”  By: W. Brett Wilson

Reviewed By:  Ann Hoy

Penguin Books

$20.16 Amazon.ca (hardcover) – Amazon review rating: 4 out of 5 stars

$14.44 Chapter’s on sale (paperback)

W Brett Wilson had an insatiable drive to succeed in business, and became one of the top entrepreneurs and philanthropists in Canada.  But his drive to achieve outward success, took a toll on him and others, and left him feeling “surprisingly hollow”.  The highs and lows on this investment bankers’ road to success, went up and down like the stock market, and taught him the importance of investing in his most precious assets – his health and relationships.  The main theme of this book is how he manages to balance his inner self with his outer self, to find the path to authentic success.

This book can be found in the business section of the book store, and contains a lot of business advice, but it also contains a lot of life lessons. It appeals to entrepreneurs who are inspired by Brett’s journey to become one of the top investment bankers in Canada, and to fans of the CBC’s Dragon’s Den, where Brett was a panelist who made deals with the contestants. He devotes about fifty pages of the book to describe those deals.  It also appeals to philanthropists, interested in how Brett’s generosity combined with marketing mojo helped to raise tens of millions of dollars for charities “to make the world a better place”.  While readers may not be able to relate to making million dollar deals in the boardroom, they can relate to the feeling that their life/work priorities are misplaced and need to be re-aligned.

Brett says that students should be taught how to make money in school, so when I finished reading the book, I gave it to my teenage son to read.  Being a man of action, and not only words, Brett opened The Wilson Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence at his alma mater, The University of Saskatchewan, so students could meet with the business community to share ideas and network with researchers, mentors, and possible investors.

Brett espouses the values of hard work, honesty and giving back to the community in the book, which were instilled in him during his upbringing in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, by his parents – a social worker mom and salesman father.  Brett lived those values, and carried them with him while initiating deals on a handshake, even as co-founder of FirstEnergy, the investment bank “with a conscience” in the lucrative oil and gas industry in Calgary, Alberta.

Brett also describes his mistakes – his adrenaline powered, all out work obsession, led to wealth, awards, and celebrity, but he neglected his inner self, and years of not spending time with his wife and three growing children eventually destroyed his marriage, and left him depressed.  He sought treatment for being a workaholic, cut back on his work hours when he got joint custody of his children, and worked on recovering his relationship with them, only to get diagnosed with prostate cancer.

This is the turning point in 2001, when the magnanimous spirit who had donated so much of his time and money to help others is battling cancer himself.  Instead of turning another’s  failing business around, he must now turn his own life around, to optimize his physical, emotional, and intellectual health. “Sometimes your greatest hardships lead to your greatest triumphs”, said Brett.

The book ends when he finds his path to health and happiness, has a strong bond with his children, and realizes the truth of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said: It’s not what you have, it’s who you are” that counts.

This thought-provoking book has inspired me to study more about entrepreneurship, marketing, philanthropy and work/life balance, in the coming months, and to incorporate these topics into my 52 weeks of optimizing yourself posts on my blog this year.

Photo of cover: Ann Hoy

52 Weeks To Optimizing Yourself 2014 – Week 5 – Going BIG with Seeing Instead of Looking at Things

 

Going BIG with Seeing

Going BIG with Seeing

As technology speeds up, we look at an increasing number of images every day, and often don’t really see them, or allow our minds to absorb them.

In the visual overload, we miss the sensory experiences: the texture of a painting in a museum, or the smell of a book in a book store, and lose part of the tactile experience.

For this week’s optimizing yourself exercise, I am going to attempt to see things by paying attention to them and contemplating them.

Children have the ability to see things differently  – when they look at something, they explore it with their imagination, their curiosity, and their senses, to see it.

Here is a story about seeing from the creativity post:

WE SEE NO MORE THAN WE EXPECT TO SEE. Our stereotyped notions block clear vision and crowd out imagination. This happens without any alarms sounding, so we never realize it is occurring. Not long ago, a man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin.  It was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station.

One man stopped for a few seconds and then hurried on to meet his schedule. A little later, a woman threw a dollar into the till and without stopping continued on her way. The first person who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only the children it seemed wanted to stop and listen.

When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.00.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment. Because he was playing in a subway station, people assumed he was a street musician playing for handouts and paid no attention to his music. They saw and heard what they expected to see and hear from a street musician.

Thumbs up to the children who had the awareness they were listening to extraordinary music.

I will let you know how Going BIG big with “Seeing instead of Looking” goes next week

http://www.creativitypost.com/

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneworldgallery/4344737491/”>daystar297</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Review of Week 4 – Going BIG With Going With The Flow

 

go BIG with the flow

Going BIG With The Flow

I went BIG with the flow this week, instead of pushing or trying to influence events, I was laid back, yet surprisingly productive.  I read the book “Redefining Success” by W. Brett Wilson, and learned about work/life balance, entrepreneurship, marketing and philanthropy, from one of Canada’s top business people. I will post a review of the book later this week.

I also went BIG with getting updated on those around me:

–          My youngest son discussed his plans after high school,  and we sent off his college application.

–          My middle son loves statistics and facts and  fun Superbowl facts.  He said that 17 of the last 20 Superbowls have been won by the city with the lowest unemployment rate.  People who are employed are more able to buy tickets to go to the games, and spend money on team merchandise to support the team.  I have seen individuals gain confidence by gaining employment, but I wasn’t aware of the impact of employment on the confidence of a team and a city!  It will be Interesting to see if Seattle will win with 5.7% unemployment, or Denver which has 5.8%.  Apparently, The Seattle Seahawks have never won the Superbowl.

–          My eldest son organized a hiking trip for him and five friends up a 2,000 foot rock face called “The Chief” near Squamish, B.C.   I helped him gather supplies to hike up to the summit with all their backpacks to camp overnight where The Peregrine Falcons nest.  They are the fastest flying birds in the world, flying at speeds of over 200 miles per hour.

Sources:

www.foxnews.com , www.defenders.org/peregrine

photo: photo pin creative commons