At the limit of my knowledge, two paths diverge. Down one path is apathy—not knowing and not caring. Down the other is an insatiable appetite—curiosity. I have no doubt about the strength of my curiosity, but it’s far from being an unqualified good. The focus of my curiosity will define the quality of my mind and the mark I make on this world.
Untamed curiosity makes an absurd master and a profound time-waster. Cheap curiosity makes me follow clickbait, rubberneck car accidents, and listen to malicious gossip. Curiosity is the hook that keeps me watching a stupid TV show, because there’s one mysterious plot element I want to see resolved. Left at the mercy of my curiosity, I would be a very boring person indeed.
But when my eyes focus on quality, substance, and serving others around me, the worthiness of the object unleashes the generative power of curiosity. It becomes a force for problem-solving and creativity. For those who live on the joy of curiosity, it sustains their hard work with the cyclic reward of satisfying curiosity and discovering new questions.
Well-directed, curiosity births innovation. Now we know why Isaac Newton’s apple fell, how it was no coincidence that Dr. Snow’s cholera patients all drank from the same well, and why washing hands is the most life-saving act we will accomplish on any given day.
My life will be short. I pray I have the wisdom to direct my curiosity well.