What’s the Difference Between a Passion and a Passionate Curiosity?
ENORMOUS!! Especially when it comes to the work you do!
First, let me be clear; I absolutely believe that you should be passionate about the work you do. No question about it!
However, having a strong feeling of love towards your work, is just that; a strong feeling. And, it doesn’t actually produce anything other than that.
- By itself, passion will not generate creativity or imagination, nor does it generate new ideas or new discoveries.
- Passion by itself, does not create new art or music, new products, services and/or solutions to problems. Nor does passion by itself, help advance our understanding of life and how we live it.
Passion does however, help us enjoy and experience life. Additionally and more specifically for my argument, it absolutely helps create an ideal environment – a fertile greenhouse, that enables creativity and imagination to flourish and grow.
Therefore, passion does play a pivotal role. However, we obviously need far more from our brains for anything and everything to actually occur.
It’s the human mind’s unique ability to wonder – to ponder the possibilities, naturally producing creativity and imagination, which is what ultimately generates new ideas and new discoveries; enhancing our experience, advancing our understanding of life, and improving the human condition.
And yet, we’ve somehow elevated passion as the most important attribute, as “the thing” to reach for, when searching for our career and life’s work.
Again, I absolutely believe that you should be passionate about the work you do. No question about it!
However, the unfortunate and sad reality is, the vast majority of our population does not tap into the amazing capacity and elegant nature of their own mind, because they simply don’t realize what they’re truly – innately capable of.
And it’s because most of us have overlooked THE natural attribute that’s most responsible for our individual and collective potential, for far too long.
It’s time that we realize that curiosity is the genesis for all creativity, imagination, new ideas and discoveries. Without curiosity, creativity and imagination can not, and will not occur. Period.
While some of us have overlooked curiosity, many of our greatest minds have not.
“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” ~ Ken Robinson
“The valuable attributes of research men are conscious ignorance and active curiosity.” ~ Willis R. Whitney
“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Curiosity is the key to our individual and collective success!
However, I would also argue that simply being curious, without truly engaging your heart, will drastically diminishes your true potential, and ours!
Therefore, to realize your full potential, along with humanity’s, we need both your head and your heart, working together in harmony!
That’s what I call a Passionate Curiosity.
A Passionate Curiosity is: one’s own personal sense of wonder – a personal yearning – a strong, personal and meaningful desire, to chase down answers to your own most profound questions.
“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” ~ Linus Pauling
In 1751, Samuel Johnson wrote in The Rambler, that “Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last; and perhaps always predominates in proportion to the strength of the contemplative faculties.”
Thus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be!
And it’s why Einstein said, “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.”
Einstein believed that a passionate curiosity was the key to unlocking the radiant beauty of our potential, along with the mysteries of life, as he wrote so eloquently in Living Philosophies.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead — his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms — this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
But, what many have failed to realize is that while Einstein was certainly curious about a great many things, he wasn’t passionately curious about everything; he was clearly far more curious – most passionately curious, about the mysteries of our existence. He most passionately wondered about the mysteries of the relativity of space and time. He was on a never-ending, passionate quest in search of new and better answers to his own questions surrounding the theory of everything (ToE).
Einstein’s passionate curiosity, along with the passionate curiosities of all of the great scientists, inventors and adventures, was specific to the search for answers to their own most profound questions.
Samuel Johnson realized this way back in 1751.
“Even of those who have dedicated themselves to knowledge, the far greater part have confined their curiosity to a few objects, and have very little inclination to promote any fame but that of which their own studies entitle them to partake. The naturalist has no desire to know the opinions or conjectures of the philosopher; the botanist looks upon the astronomer as a being unworthy of his regard; the lawyer scarcely hears the name of a physician without contempt; and he that is growing great and happy by electrifying a bottle, wonders how the world can be engaged by trifling prattle about war or peace.“
A passionate curiosity is not a general or broad curiosity, nor is it the curiosity of another; a passionate curiosity is a focused, never ending search for new and better answers to one’s own burning and most profound questions.
Einstein never would have simply said, “Love what you do.” or “Be passionate about your work.” – he knew that a basic curiosity was essential, but a passionate curiosity was the key to ultimately discovering the theory of everything.
It’s why he also said…
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”
“The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.”
That’s why he also believed that “Curiosity is more important than knowledge.”
It’s not only what truly fueled him, but it’s led him to his discoveries that changed the world!
Torsten Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winning neurophysiologist, who had discoveries related to our brain’s ability to process information, said that…
“Science is not an intelligence test. Intuition is important, knowing what kind of questions to ask. The other thing is a passion for getting to the core of the problem.”
“A passion for getting to the core of the problem” is another way of saying that a passionate curiosity is the key – not intelligence.
All the great works and discoveries in the world have been produced and found because of those that pursued their own wildest imaginations, stemming from their own passionate curiosity – their own childlike sense of wonder – not someone else’s…
All the Greats pondered the possibilities of their own imagination, asking questions from their mind’s unique perspective, questions only they could and would ask, naturally opening their creative mind – unlocking and unleashing their mind’s natural, creative potential – eventually leading them down unique paths of wonderment and discovery. From Aristotle and Austen, Curie and Chomsky, Disney and Dickinson, Einstein and Edison, Gandhi and Galileo, Joan of Arc and Jobs, Mozart and Mother Teresa, Nightingale and Newton, Pasteur and Peron, Rembrandt and Rowling, Tesla and Tolstoy, to Yousafzait, Whitman and Winfrey, all The Greats focused on their passionate curiosity to help change the world.
Being passionate about something is great, but it’s passionate curiosity – a profound and passionate search for better answers, that truly helps change the world!
What are you most profoundly and passionately curious about?
Not sure, learn more about Realizing The Significance of Your Own Curiosity here.