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Stay curious

Victor Leung
Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science.
Originally published at victorleungtw.Medium on ・7 min read

There is factual knowledge about the world that I could be wrong about. The world could be completely different from what I thought. Many of the changes that I think will never happen may have already happened. Therefore it’s important to awaken my curiosity about what is possible, which is different from what I believe, and from what I see in the news every day. I need to realise how wrong my intuition can be.

I would feel guilty if I have a closed mindset and not exploring what is out there. I need to look at my behaviour the way a scientist looks at what’s growing in a petri dish with curiosity and objective distance. This is an open mindset that I want to treat my life as my laboratory, a place to experiment with the person I want to be. A place where I not only feel safe but also feel like anything is possible.

I am pursuing curiosity because creativity and innovation are what sparks my passion. I am energized by the new and novel, interested in trying new things and exploring innovative approaches and solutions. As a leader, I am most comfortable and effective when leading through vision and ideas. I am decisive, yet always looking for a better answer and need time to think and explore alternatives. I have a deep curiosity that often drives me to break from tradition. My originality makes me more inclined to break rules than follow them. I do not favour routines and not feeling comfortable following what I know and trust.

I think it’s important for people as a whole to be bold and daring, but not reckless. I want to be not afraid to take risks and to not be afraid to make mistakes, because if people aren’t making mistakes then means they’re not taking enough risks. Over time, I want to develop my gut about decisions. I want to develop and improve my decision-making skills. I would encourage myself to make mistakes as long as I learn from them. I never want to accept the status quo because that’s the way things have always been done.

Being curious change the way I see myself because there is no sense to get frustrated when there’s so much that I can do and explore when life offers so many things to savour. Other parts of my personal life would change in consequence as I become proactive to discover my path through any problems. There is nothing I can’t accomplish if I think creatively and have the character to do the difficult things.

It would affect the way that others perceive me as they would see my core values, such as embracing and drive change. Create fun and a little weirdness. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded. Pursue growth and learning. Build open and honest relationships with communication. Build a positive team and family spirit. Do more with less. Be passionate and determined. Be humble.

Being curious would affect the lives of the people around me as well, as I would encourage them to come up with creative solutions to problems. Coming up with interesting solutions and challenging them to think of tricks and new insights allow them to explore outside what could be offered by experience.

Being curious have a broader beneficial social impact when I can come up and implement new ideas. I can be open to the best solutions. I would be more willing to consider opposing positions and less inclined to conflict. I have to take ideas into actions in the present as an experiment. Otherwise, I will never able to find out what is the truth.

The twin sibling of innovation is a frequent failure. Without the looming spectre of failure, the chances of achieving success are likely to vaporize. There is no question that curiosity comes at a cost. But for those who have experienced its benefits in terms of both performance and profound satisfaction, the cost worth it. Therefore I should investigate and solve problems through innovative approaches. The outcome of my effort depends on what I do. My fate is in my hand. Stay hungry, stay foolish, I am ready to try new things.

To stay curious, I would need to avoid defensive mode. Instead, whenever I hear my inner voice speak to myself that I can’t achieve something, I should dig deeper to ask myself, why? What is the reason I could not do it? During the self-reflection, I may realise there are many obstacles to stop me from getting where I want to go in my mind. However, I should remain an attitude of openness and consider all the optional paths with potential. There is a lot of potentials that I need to push through to expand, then I could see how far I could get.

At the same time, I should keep reading as my hobby such that I could learn from other people experience. Learning is a lot of fun, jot notes along the way and explore every different area. I need hunger to learn, and let my curiosity brings me happiness, which would also help in my career. I could have a meaningful conversation with other people and explore the world. Persistence in curiosity has the power of transformation, it let me see opportunity in conflicts.

However, whenever I faced conflict, I tend to give up curiosity and not try to understand my counterparty. Instead, I need to conquer my fear and suppress my anger, such that I could keep curiosity to answer questions, and try to maintain the communication to get mutual understanding.

Also, I need to curious about people around me, try to expand my social network and having conversations, I may understand and see their demands and problems. Our differences may bring new ideas, options and unexpected results. Being curious and care about my friends could build trust and strength our relationship.

I would also look for an environment with the freedom that could nurture my curiosity. Stay away from politics that not allow open discussion of sensitive topics. Avoid bureaucracy that limits my curiosity. Avoid boring jobs as there are so many changes in technology. Artificial intelligence may replace repetitive tasks and give me more time to be curious.

One of the potential obstacles is that I may think I am better at my skills than I are, thus avoiding receiving feedback. I should overcome this by appreciating honest feedback and be curious about what other people think. I need a mindset to think that things can cultivate through my effort. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn in as many ways as possible. Approaching change with an attitude of openness, flexibility and curiosity. Being able to lower my expectations, feeling good about my success no matter how small by celebrating. Being patient and trusting the process of change.

Another obstacle to curiosity is too much insecurity, feeling anxious and unsafe instead. While I cannot control the situation, I can control my reactions. I need to know that I have other options available. I can control my opinion about those external events. I don’t control the situation, but I control what I think about it. Every single thing that is outside my control, the outside people, other people, luck, karma, whatever still presents a corresponding area that is in my control. Therefore I need to stay curious for an honest understanding and real clarity about the world. All I have is my mind.

Ego is big obstacles to stay curious. I can’t begin to learn what I think I already know. I would be unable to improve, unable to learn, unable to earn the respect of others if I think I am already perfect. Ego and self-deception are the enemies of my curiosity because I delude myself into believing that I already possess things I wish to have.

A potential obstacle of curiosity is a lack of experiment. Not only does experiment make me try new things and think about how to solve specific learning challenges, but it also encourages me to be ruthless in discarding methods that don’t work. Careful experimentation not only brings out my best potential, but it also eliminates bad habits and superstition by putting them to test of real-world results.

I would like to stay curious for the rest of my life. As a piece of evidence that I am being curious, it could measure the amount of time that I get stuck, meaning my understanding fails to provide a clear answer, it’s time to go back to my book, notes, teacher, or reference material to find the answer. Since much of my understanding is never articulated, it’s easy to think I understand something I don’t. I need to bypass this problem by forcing myself to articulate the idea I want to understand in detail. Any gaps in my understanding will become obvious as I struggle to explain key parts of the idea.

One way to monitor my learning is to avoid failure to see how things applied outside the textbook domain. I need to think about relating what I had learned to problems outside the textbook. I should avoid spending a lot of time learning something without really developing the intuition about the real world. To ensure that I am not pushing myself too hard, I would need to use aversive learning with care. By far the strongest form of learning comes from negative experiences. But aversive learning is ineffective for training positive behaviour. Save it instead for those rare situations when I want to inhibit undesired behaviour.

To adapt, I must operate not as a machine, but as a learning organism, purposefully interacting with my environment and continuously improving based on experiments and feedback.

To avoid risking boredom, I should also be a delight in teaching. The best way to learn is to teach. Because to teach well, I have to think about my content. I need mastery of my subject and an elegant way to convey it to someone else. And the more I learn, the more I know I don’t know, thus getting more curious about the unknown. If I organize my learning around producing something, I am guarantee to at least learn how to produce that things. Learning itself is a kind of trial and error, getting feedback and trying to summon up the right answers to problems.

Originally published at http://victorleungtw.com on April 25, 2021.

Discussion (1)

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Michael Savvy

Great blog!