Curiosity- The Blessing of Uncertainty

October 10, 2022


Curiosity is one of the most beautifully infuriating parts of humanity. As soon as we discover the very thing that we are hoping to understand, we find that answers lead to more questions. On and on it goes- the more we know the less we understand. For Example, did you know that the colour magenta does not exist. 

It’s true! You might be thinking, “but of course it exists! I see it all the time.” Yet magenta does not in fact exist. Magenta is a bit of coding error between our brains and our eyeballs. There is no wavelength for the colour magenta. However, it still is one of the 4 colours used in modern-day printing to make up every printed colour on the CYMK scale. If you have a colour printer and you open it up you will see the four toners are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). Magenta is a very important non-existent colour.

Did you know that space is filled with light. The light that we see from the sun here on earth fills space, and yet it is dark. Because space is a vacuum there is no matter for the light to reflect off. So even though space is filled with wavelengths of light, with nothing for the light to bounce off, that wavelengths of light remain unseen, and space remains dark.

When you read these facts, they may have caused an emotional reaction in you. If I say a colour that you see all the time isn’t real, you may feel defensive or angry. You may feel like I’m stupid. Maybe you felt the need to dig into your position or possibly you just don’t care. If you are anything like me, you probably got that tingle behind your ears and something in your mind popped its head up like a Meerkat. 

That’s what curiosity feels like to me. It’s the thing that pops its head up above all the other day-to-day thoughts and starts scanning the environment looking for more information. Curiosity is naturally a bit cheeky and irreverent. It’s never malicious, but its willing to get into a bit of trouble to find what it is looking for. Curiosity is a rambunctious Meerkat.  

The problem with curious people is they are hard to control. From a very early age we begin to be institutionalised. The cheeky curiosity that lives naturally in children slowly gets replace with the pseudo-safety of belonging. Our thinking becomes less flexible and over time curiosity can begin to feel unsafe, so we trade curiosity for certainty.

We are so conditioned for this certainty. We want to know the right way without having to navigate all the wrong ways. We will accept other people’s truth just so we don’t have to experience our own doubts. We will take the scrappy seconds in front of us, so we don’t have to go looking for treasure that may not be there. 

An important part of the creative journey is learning how to feel safe in uncertainty again. It’s learning how to let your little meerkat run amuck. Make a mess. Break a few rules. The blessing of uncertainty is that it feeds curiosity. 

Creativity is always about the process not the final product, and curiosity is about the questions more than the answers. Sometimes we try out a process, and it doesn’t work out how we thought it was going to. It’s okay to say “well, that isn’t what I wanted to happen.” However, the more we interact with our creativity the better we get at making a mess, being wrong and at the same time still feeling safe and comfortable in our own being.

Creativity and Curiosity go hand in hand. The more we can replace certainty with curiosity, the more our creativity can develop and flourish. If you want to grow your creativity it is important to understand that your ability to grow your creativity is directly related to your willingness to be uncomfortable. 

What is something you’ve always wanted to do that makes you completely uncomfortable? What is the worst thing that could happen if you tried? Is that a price you are willing to pay to free your creativity? Let the meerkats run amuck and see what happens!

If you enjoy our weekly Creative Conversations, you may enjoy my book all about creativity. The Origins of Creativity can be found HERE.

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