“The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopaedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.” Anaïs Nin
Curiosity is something that we’re born with. As children, we’re amazed by and question everything. We’re sponges for information and learn at an incredible rate. As we navigate through our WorkLife, curiosity is often the first point of our learning process, stimulating the flow of ideas. Exploratory questioning that builds our attention around what’s piqued our interest is a wonderful tool for unlocking hidden potential in ourselves and the world around us.
Travis’s Story: An Endless Source of Inspiration from Curious Conversations: A Case Study
Travis had written songs for as long as he could remember. It was something that had always come naturally to him. He followed a simple and effective approach, which was always to write the lyrics first, and then create the melodies, which had always flowed from that. A number of his songs had been recorded by his many singer friends. He had always enjoyed the solitude of working solo, but it was also very isolating, he could go for days, sometimes weeks without seeing people.
Two things set him on a path to change that.
1. While on one hand the amount of time he spent alone didn’t bother him, on the other hand, he was beginning to question if it was good for his long-term wellbeing.
2. While in the past his songwriting had always flowed, lately he was feeling blocked in writing lyrics, which in turn was stopping the flow of the melodies. This led him to think that he needed more interaction with people. He felt he needed to be open to new perspectives — or rather, in-person perspectives. Up until now a lot of his perspectives came from his love of reading, and the world that had opened up to him. But now he was feeling that he needed to get out into the real world too, and talk to real people about day to day life.
The idea had come to Travis from a guy called Rob, who he had observed on Instagram. Rob had set out to meet new people because he felt that genuine human connection is something that’s important. He had gone on to meet thousands of people, and encouraged others to take the initiative to reach out to someone new and be open to establishing new relationships.
While the scale of the amount of people that Rob had met was far too much for Travis, he figured he could adopt the idea on a much smaller scale. He also liked that there was no structure or agenda to what Rob did. The idea was simply that two people could spend an hour together, getting to know each other.
Travis’s love of reading, which in turn had informed his song-writing, came from an innate sense of curiosity. It gave him a broad perspective and a wide knowledge base. His intention was to broaden that further through meeting people on a one-to-one basis, to learn about who they are — their interests and perspectives. As with Rob, he wasn’t setting out to interview people; he simply wanted to meet people, get chatting and go wherever the conversation took them. His intention was to be in the moment and to let his curiosity guide him.
Travis’s intentions were all he needed to get started. He didn’t know how it would go if people would want to meet him, and if they did, how many. He followed Rob’s approach and set up an Instagram page, which soon attracted a following from his singer friends, all of whom shared his idea. Quite quickly the meetings started to take place. Again Travis followed Rob’s approach, sharing photos of each meeting and writing something brief about it. This increased the flow, and before he knew it, he was meeting someone new most days.
Did this help his songwriting? Well actually, yes. Within a short space of time, his lyric writing was flowing once again, and from this, the melodies also flowed. Travis believed this was because he got out of his bubble and explored the wider world around him, with open eyes and ears and a receptive mind, leading to conversations that came from a place of curiosity. Travis now has an endless source of inspiration that inevitably finds its way into his songs.
Did this help his wellbeing too? Well actually, yes. Travis came to believe in Rob’s philosophy that genuine human connection is important in today’s world, and like Rob, it also makes Travis happy — and all of that he believes has a positive impact on his wellbeing.
Develop Your WorkLife Story Chapters
Let curiosity be your guide to a more fulfilling WorkLife through a deep and personal connection to the adventures and wonders of the world around you. Be inspired and challenged in pursuit of your next WorkLife chapters.
The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories I share my own experiences, and with permission stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.