Every Monday, my oldest son has capoeira training. I pick him up with the cargo bike and we go straight from school. The youngest one tags along, I have brought water and fruits, and they sit in the bike and quarrel about seating arrangements. Who shall sit where, who uses too much of the seat, who deliberately annoys the other.
Yesterday, I forgot all about it. I came to school a bit late, without the cargo bike, and without the extra pants I promised to bring. I didn’t have water or fruit, but I brought a bag to carry the groceries: my plan was to stop by the shop and buy som milk and a bread.
I forgot all about it because I was to busy being curious. I can’t remember what exactly I was doing, but it had nothing to do with the sailing seminar, nor nothing to do with this blog. I wrote an article around noon, so I might have been researching post factum, as it were. Or I might have been planning the next article. Or I had found a book. I did not do any household chores. Actually, I didn’t do anything worth remembering at all, just found a way to distract my sense of time, just entertained myself. It wasn’t Facebook or any other social media, I’ve forbidden myself to use that as entertainment, but it served the same function.
I just did something to avoid being bored. I minimised my focus without losing it completely (that would be meditation, and that’s generally a good thing.) In other words: i practised my senility.
My oldest son didn’t like it. You always forget everything, he said. My youngest son, already dead tired after a long Monday, got even more tired from walking to the capoeira training without as much as a drop of water.
I was curious enough to find more information, but I wasn’t curious enough to find anything useful. And it made my sons annoyed and, I must confess, annoying. Because of me. The lesson must be this: Being half-heartedly curious is not a good thing; either you are all-out curious, and focused, or you let yourself be bored. Or perhaps this: if reality and other people has any value, don’t let curiosity take your focus too far away from them.
Or perhaps just this: remain as curios as possible, as socially permissable, in all areas — including things like “what shall we do today” or “I wonder if my sons want to have apple or nuts today in the cargo bike on our way to the capoeira training”.
So, today’s task should be: Identify factors which might haven diminished your curiosity in an area and search three new ways to rejuvenate it. My curiosity in today’s plans has diminished, from not very much to quite little. The ways to rejuvenate it: 1) Find out how the normal way of doing things can be done differently. What if the kids can decorate the cargo bike on our way to capoeira? 2) See how plans are ways of building the future, like Lego. (Like you run day after day to be able to run further in the future.) 3) Consider making plans and carrying them through a challenge: it’s not about being en OK planner, but about being the best; how can you become the best planner anyone’s ever seen? OK, one more: 4) how people make plans say a lot about what kind of person they are. Aren’t you curious about other what’s inside other people’s heads?
One can be curios about many things, and in many ways. But please don’t leat curiosity be an excuse for not focusing. A good curiosity goes deep and drives you to understanding; a bad curiosity is shallow and doesn’t even help you retain random facts.
Next Monday, I’ll be curious about my oldest son’s capoeira. Promise.