The virtue of Curiosity

“Curious is a good thing to be, it seems to pay some unexpected dividends.”

Iggy Pop

In my current line of work, I’ve noticed that the most curious kids tend to be the ones who find the most satisfaction- and success- in learning. They ask hard questions about things others take for granted, never satisfied with a simple “Just because” answer. Curiosity leads to a desire to know more; to learn more, see more and do more. 

My philosophy teachers always expounded the principal of honesty in ignorance: Accept that there are things you don’t know. The more that I realized I was uncertain about, the more curious I became to find out what the truth was, if indeed there was any to be found at all.

Curiosity leads us down the paths often left untraveled by the timid or tame. It leads us away from the deceit offered up by matronly comfort and shows us the way to independence and resilience. Curiosity is a teacher that never questions your ability to experience and learn something new.

I think back to some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far, and they all come from a place of curiosity. I’m no more or less curious than anyone else as a person, if anything I used to be far from it. But upon reflection, it’s the “What ifs” and “Why is” that have lead me to places,  people and experiences that I would never have imagined as a twenty year old. Curiosity also lead me to Jiu-jitsu, which without I would undoubtedly not be here to write this. 

Einstein said “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”, but I would adjust it so:

Once you stop learning, you are dead. 

Being curious means leading a life full of learning; accepting that we can always find out more about ourselves and the world we live in. If you’re not doing that, or at least trying to in some small way every day, then you’re not really alive.

Foster your sense of curiosity. You will thank yourself for it later.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

 

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A car crash in Seoul

“Someone should do something about that.” 

Sometimes we have no choice but to be that someone.

I took a trip to South Korea in 2015, it was the first time I had ever traveled solo.

A significant event, a late night car crash on the streets of Seoul, made me choose between being an onlooker, saying “Someone should do something.” or being that someone.  Continue reading “A car crash in Seoul”

Adversity: Learn to push through.

Anyone who has ever tried to achieve anything worthwhile has encountered adversity. Any pathway to success, be it in your job, a sport, a relationship or artistic pursuit, is going to have obstacles. The pathway to success is littered with failure and the hopes of those that gave up when the adversity became too great.

Today I want to explore the importance of learning to push through adversity, what it can teach you and, most importantly, why you need to learn to embrace it. Continue reading “Adversity: Learn to push through.”

Black Belt is not the goal.

I think there is probably a time in anyone’s life journeys where they’ve said: “Damn, I wish I could just fast forward to when I’m X.”

I don’t think that Jiu-jitsu is any different. Many a practitioner has hoped for a quick(er) promotion or felt frustrated at stalling or slow progress. But I think something that is worth explicitly saying is this: Black Belt is not the goal. It’s only a part of it. I want to explore this and explain why we should be looking at more expansive goals for ourselves.  Continue reading “Black Belt is not the goal.”

Thoughts on Having an Open Mind

“Oh, I don’t need to learn this. It doesn’t fit into my game plan.” or “I already know this, I don’t need to practice it.” are examples of what got me thinking about this next topic: Being Open-Minded. 

I think I’ve been very fortunate to have had teachers, friends and peers who have modeled open minded behavior throughout my learning. I think it is also because I have been surrounded by this positive behavior that it comes as a shock to me when I see people uttering statements such as the above.

It takes humility for a person to admit they don’t know something; many of us don’t want to risk looking stupid in the face of our colleagues, partners or friends whose opinions we value. Above humility, it also takes a lot of effort for us to be open-minded. In the gym, the work place or even in the company of friends, being open minded is an invaluable attribute. Continue reading “Thoughts on Having an Open Mind”

The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of details. When executing a technique, there a certain number of details you must incorporate to perform the move correctly and efficiently. Being detail oriented can make for slow progress at times, however later progression becomes accelerated as your execution of techniques (once learned) never hits a critical mass of errors that lead to the technique being applied failing.

The phrase: “The Devil is in the Detail” is profoundly true within BJJ for this reason. However, understanding and committing to a Detail Oriented approach can have major benefits for any other aspect of your life too.

Continue reading “The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.”

Keep Climbing: Thoughts on Reaching lofty heights and New Horizons.

“The higher we go, the wider our horizons become- and the bigger the challenge of looking beyond them”

Yuri Milner

When we set ourselves goals, they often are (and should be) ambitious. The person you are currently may not even be able to achieve that goal. This is a good thing; it means you will have to grow as a person to achieve it.

Climbing a mountain provides a good analogy to achieving a goal. From the foot of the mountain, the peak seems so far away. We may not even have a plan yet on how to climb the mountain yet, but we know that somehow we will find a way. I’ve talked before about setting goals and how to find success at reaching those goals, but what about once we’ve reached them? What’s next? From the peak of the mountain, we can see further. Once we reach success with one goal, we can start to set another.  Continue reading “Keep Climbing: Thoughts on Reaching lofty heights and New Horizons.”