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slides: 5 Ways to Lubricate Your Mind for Curiosity

Saturday, May 23, 2015


It is dangerous not to see now as the urgent time to usher in the Age of Curiosity. Just ask the hilariously brilliant Amy Schumer. What the hell does Amy have anything to do with curiosity? Great! You’re curious.

If you skip all these words of foreplay and jump right down to the bullet points (like we all do–so busy we are!), you’ll make the case for curiosity in that one action alone. If not, here’s your case for curiosity now:

Access to information is no longer available only to a limited few (doctors, real estate agents, lawyers, salespeople, scientists) who can hoard it, make it secret and powerful and dish it out to us in easily digestible chunks. Information is available and burying us all in data as never before–it’s a data deluge.

Applying curiosity strategically may be the only way we can avoid being led astray when trying to make sense of the treasure trove of accessible information. Our assumptions and biases will be called up more than ever to act as filters for the overwhelming data deluge. We must be able to summon and act on our curiosity, and it is more critical than ever that we know how to do it.

The asked-and-answered value of the Internet has a dangerous downside. If we’re not careful to cherish and recognize the fragility and importance of curiosity, our easy access to answers can eliminate the information gap that is essential for curiosity. Without curiosity, we can assume too soon that with all we know, we know enough. We can search for and access anything–except what isn’t there.

Only curiosity generates the very questions that will inspire the answers we don’t yet have access to. Without curiosity, new answers will cease to exist.

Amy knows lubricating is important. It takes time and practice. Lubricating your mind for curiosity is no different.

See Slides Below for 5 Ways to Lubricate Your Mind for Curiosity 

A graduate degree in behavioral science, three generations of Portland blood in her veins, 20 years as a real-estate broker, and a lifetime of delving into other people’s business has caused Becki Saltzman’s severe curiosity disorder. She is the author of Arousing the Buy Curious and The Living Curiously Method (launching in 2015) and founder of Oomau Media. She looks forward to expanding membership in the Tribe of the Curious.

You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook…or not.


Related Slideshow: 5 Ways to Lubricate Your Mind for Curiosity

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1. Become more comfortable with being wrong.

Flirt with being wrong in the privacy of your own home. Begin to like being wrong until it’s less of a reminder of your failings and more a reminder of your power. When it gets as comfortable as those soft sweats, test it out in public (you may want to change out of your sweats first..or not). You’re becoming a sexy beast of curiosity. Perhaps understanding that you are in enormous company being smarter than average will make you appreciate the non-conformity of your new crush on being wrong.

"I’ll never forget the day I realized that I wasn’t the Ford Model that I though I was." Amy Schumer

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2. Create a method for knowing when you’re wrong.

Start with the premise that you’re wrong even when you have the sneaking suspicion that you’re probably right. Poke yourself with a dull chopstick if you can’t get your mind to embrace the idea that you’re wrong.

Cut yourself some slack because this one isn’t easy. Being curious about what it feels like to be wrong is tricky because when we are wrong, we often think we are right. Being wrong creates a sneaky feeling deviously similar to being right.

Start by asking, “What if I’m wrong?” and work on your method on weekends and after work. It’s not always best to wait for someone else to suggest you’re wrong.

"Truth or truth: Teeth, what do you think about them?" -Jimmy Fallon

"I’ve been told to use less of them." -Amy Schumer

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3. Stop letting agreement determine the quality of your analyses and decisions.

When we generally agree with a source of information, we are more susceptible to automatically believing that what they tell us is true. When we generally disagree with a source, we tend to be less strategically curious than outright dismissive. In this way we squander our curiosity by handing it over to our anointed authorities.

In our world of data deluge, science comes fast, furious, and often with an agenda. Sharing a belief in that agenda should not remove us from the responsibility of independent curiosity about the veracity of the science.

"My mom’s always saying really smart things…like, you probably heard this one. ‘Why buy the cow when the milk has HPV?’ Wish I’d listen to that one." -Amy Schumer

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4. Answer questions that may be more important than the ones that are most comfortable.

This mind-lube for curiosity could save your life.

Although there were a lot of factors that directed my son’s cancer treatment, thankfully we looked for questions beyond which doctor would provide us with the most comfort, and sought answers to questions like: Which protocols are most effective?

Different questions can result in dramatically different answers…and outcomes.

"It’s a weird age. They’re like, ‘Amy, I’m pregnant.’ And I still don’t know whether to be like, ‘Congratulations,’ or ‘Do you need a ride?’" -Amy Schumer

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5. Elevate curiosity ahead of criticism.

Just swap the order. Think curiosity first, judgment and criticism later. The reason for this is not to make you less critical or judgmental, but to make you a better critical thinker and more accurate in your judgments.

"She’s always bragging about the dumbest stuff. The other day she was telling me, she’s like, ‘You know I can still fit in my wedding dress.’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, who cares, right?’ I mean it is weird that she’s the same size now as she was when she was 8 months pregnant." -Amy Schumer

What you see is never all that there is.

"I made out with a homeless guy by accident. I had no idea — he was really tan, he had no shoes on. I just thought it was, like, his thang, you know? I was like, ‘He’s probably in a band.’" -Amy Schumer

Comedy, absurdity and provocation are also a lubricants for curiosity.

"I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say." -Amy Schumer… and all of us.


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