Curiosity over passion

Becasue curiosity is way more generous then passion! #

This is what I wrote in a single line on my iPhones notes app, dated 20 October 2018, followed by a link – Elizabeth Gilbart on the TED interview.

I found that note today while looking for something else, and couldn’t stop wondering about the context, as the memory of writing this has wholly vanished. I searched again to find that that link jumped to the part where she speaks about this idea (that’s is minute 12:51)1, and suddenly it all came back! At this part, she says:

Be open to - you don’t need to know why you are interested in this, it will be revealed if you continue to investigate. That’s all that curiosity asks of you. Passion asks you to throw it all in the bonfire. And curiosity is way more generous in that it just says - give me a little bit of your time and let’s see what we can do. #

It appeared that this idea had been spoken on in several interviews, and discussions all over the web. It’s been a core idea behind writing so many of her work, more apparent in her novel The Signature of All Things.

To get more of that context, I looked for other places where she has elaborated on that curiosity over passion concept as I found many, Ill list three of my favorites here.

Here is a transcript from her interview with Debbi Millman on Design Matters:

“I rail a lot against passion, because I feel like passion can be very exclusionary and very elitist, and it can leave a lot of people feeling like they don’t belong in creative journeys, and they don’t belong in creative explorations. I’m much more interested in allowing people to follow curiosity, which is a far more gentle impulse that doesn’t require that you sacrifice your entire life for something.” #

Yet, more expansion on this idea found in Quotable Quote on Goodreads 2

Last but not least, and because I can’t get enough of this idea. I’ll conclude with another angel from her book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear3, where she suggests an alternative to the cliché:

Instead of following your passion, it might be a better idea to follow your curiosity. Curiosity, she argues throughout the book, is the real key to an interesting life, and often a creative one, too. And she isn’t, by the way, advising that you quit your job in order to chase after the latest little thing to grab your interest. She mostly argues the opposite, that creativity flourishes best when it’s kept as your little pet project, not the thing you’re depending on to make your rent. 4, #


I have always trusted curiosity over passion — it’s a kinder, more accessible (and often more creatively generative) instinct. 5 #

Hoping for this to be a gentle reminder for myself and everyone reading this, to get back to our human instinct. Seeking curiosity over passion. Always!


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