Nudging people back to being curious again...

Do you see yourself as a curious person? Not really. A bit. Not very.

These are often the answers we get when we pose this question to an open audience.

Who is the most curious person you know?

My 5-year-old. My niece / nephew.

Rest assured it will be a child. Or a person who still lives with that child-like wonder.

So we were all really curious. Once. And believe it or not, we still are. Deep down. But why won’t we admit it? Or better still, use this curiosity to live an amazing life?

0001-119015605Last year, we were invited to conduct a Curiosity Workshop for the freshers at IIT, Gandhinagar. This was part of an orientation program that the Director had organised for the new batch. His express purpose was to expose students to life outside of academics right at the outset. And as someone described it, to bring students back down to earth from the heady feeling they are usually riding on, having cracked one of the world’s toughest exams.

So there were workshops on origami, pottery, theatre.

Ramanand and Harish conducted a Curiosity workshop.

We talked about Questionable Intelligence – which we define as the ability to ask a lot of questions, a lot of relevant questions. We strongly believe that to do well in any pursuit in life, you must have a very high QI. We also asked them a few quiz questions on topics from their daily lives and helped them create workable quiz questions.

The most surprising thing for us was that the students didn’t seem to be ready to accept that they were curious. We actually had to prove to them that they were – by explaining what curiosity means and how they exhibit curiosity in different forms. In the end, we created a Curiosity Map for the whole batch by plotting various topics that everyone was curious about. It will be interesting to create a Curiosity Map of these same students in their final year at IIT!

This workshop also helped us look at curiosity in a different light. Sometimes people just need to be nudged (back?) in the direction of being curious by looking at other curious folks and what they do. (A thought that made us launch the Curiosity Cases series where we ask super curious people about their habits and what keeps them going. Check it out here and if you know anyone who you think should be featured in that series, let us know.)

This month, we will bring the Curiosity Workshop to parents and teachers, at the British Library in Pune. If you would like to be a part of it, you can check out the details on their page.

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