When I was in high school, I used to play at a local municipal golf course a lot. It was cheap and they didn’t require a proper dress code. I wore a printed t-shirt with jean shorts and goofy socks rolled up with tennis shoes. I had a mixed set of used clubs and an old bag. I didn’t look the type, but I knew how to hit the ball well. I also realized that my skill set was above average and I liked showing off.
Every time I went to play alone at the golf course, the starter grouped me together with people I didn’t know…mostly adults who dressed the part and had nice shiny clubs, brand-name golf bags and actual golf shoes with spikes. When I walked up to introduce myself, I saw the look in their eyes…they weren’t happy. Their assumption was that I was a beginner…just a kid that was learning how to play. They figured I would slow them down and mess up their focus due to my lack of knowledge and skills.
The most enjoyable part for me was proving them wrong and watching their frowns turn into smiles. But, it also bothered me that they judged me wrong before they even saw my swing. I always thought if they just stayed curious about me rather than making incorrect assumptions and conclusions, this world would be a better place.
Here’s a similar story from the show Ted Lasso reminding us to be curious. I love this scene so much!! “…because if they were curious, they would ask questions…like…have you played a lot of darts, Ted?”
There’s another version of curiosity that I really love. It’s called Intellectual Curiosity. Do you know who had it? I’ll let you guess based on the following quotes:
Quote #1: “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”
Quote #2: “…through learning and exploration, one can understand seemingly very complex things in one’s environment.”
Quote #3: “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”
All three single-handedly changed their industry. They revolutionized it. And a lot of it was due to their crazy amount of intellectual curiosity.
Here are the answers:
Quote #1 = Albert Einstein
Quote #2 = Steve Jobs
Quote #3 = Walt Disney
I’ll close with another interesting fact: do you know what else these 3 have in common? They were all diagnosed with DYSLEXIA.
We often think of dyslexia as a disadvantage, based on how it affects a child’s performance on standardized tests. But the truth is, outside of school it’s actually proven to be an advantage –the dyslexic brain is wired to literally see the world differently, with creativity and lateral thinking that leads to breakthroughs and solutions others might miss.
One statistic to back this up: though only about 10-20% of the total population has dyslexia, they represent about 40% of all self-made millionaires. If they can run the gauntlet of teachers telling them they’re doing it all wrong, these curious minds go out into the world and thrive.
Ending with dyslexia may feel like a twist, but actually it just reinforces the same point we’ve been making today. Look around – what have you judged a disadvantage? What might you see if you re-examined it with fresh eyes? Have a mindset to explore and you can capitalize on curiosity.
“Be curious, not judgmental.”