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Curiosity

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Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, Yes, that is my headline for today, but stay with me and learn why.

I don’t know about you, but when I see something new, I file it away for a rainy day to pull out and review when I have some free time. I’ve been on the road for a few weeks now speaking at conferences, and when I was unpacking this week, I pulled out a crumpled piece of paper that was stuffed in my suitcase and it had this word (above) written at the top with the notation that it has 85 letters in the name.

Yes, I was curious about the word and where in the world it existed and what it was.

Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. The word is often shortened to Taumata.

The name according to Wikipedia:

“Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu” translates roughly as “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”

It is a “Māori name for a hill, 305 meters high, close to Porangahau, south of Waipukurau in southern Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. It has gained a measure of fame as it is the longest place name found in any English-speaking country, and it is the second-longest place name in the world, according to Wises New Zealand Guide and reported in The New Zealand Herald.”

So now you know.

I am sure it would be a great word for scrabble, if I could remember how to spell it and we were given that many letters. But more importantly, this jaunt of information took me out of my easy space and forced me to open a door to learn something new.

Is it useful? Maybe or maybe not, but what it did, according to science, is that upped my curiosity quotient because, as Todd Kashdan says in this posting on his Experience Life blog,

Curiosity, at its core, is all about noticing and being drawn to things we find interesting. It’s about recognizing and seizing the pleasures that novel experiences offer us, and finding novelty and meaning even in experiences that are familiar. 

When we are curious, we see things differently; we use our powers of observation more fully. We sense what is happening in the present moment, taking note of what is, regardless of what it looked like before or what we might have expected it to be.

We feel alive and engaged, more capable of embracing opportunities, making connections, and experiencing moments of insight and meaning — all of which provide the foundation for a rich, aware and satisfying life experience.

I completely agree that when I learn something new I find it a rewarding experience that adds a measure of depth to my life.

Since it is the holiday weekend, I won’t keep you long in today’s blog post, but I would ask that you stop and consider how you can step away from the expected, usual, boring encounters that you live daily and seek out something different, novel, new or unusual. Whether it is going to a new restaurant of a country you’d like to visit or reading a book outside of your usual mystery thriller habit or even attending an event you normally would not, trust me, it won’t wreck your evening to attend the symphony, an art show or fireworks by the lake. What it will do is open a bit of space in your life that will allow for a new adventure to settle in and grow.

What I want to put into your consciousness is the idea that, if you stay in your lane for too many more miles, never veering from the path, you will miss some of the greatest attractions that are along the side and shaded roads of life. And you’ll miss opportunities to stop off and explore the wonders of our world if you don’t toss your map and change courses in your well-ordered, unchanging, monotonous life.

I know that it’s easy to stay in your favorite-rocking-chair way of life and watch the world go by, but, trust me when I say that it is more exhilarating to step outside of your comfort zone and explore new, uncharted paths that will ever so slightly permit that sliver of space to open up and bloom.

I could spend the next one hundred pages giving you scientific studies to prove that your life would benefit from a curious mindset, however, I will spare you the reading and ask that you consider this thought by David Suzuki, “The human brain had a vast memory storage. It made us curious and very creative. Those were the characteristics that gave us an advantage – curiosity, creativity and memory. And that brain did something very special. It invented an idea called ‘the future.’”

I love this line–it really resonates with me. Curiosity gives those who are willing an advantage for success because, in a world that is full of hustle and fury, knowing that you can create your future for what you want out of life by using the gifts you already have is a tool that you are blessed to have in your toolbox. Now it’s up to you to pick it up and figure out how to use it.

Why? Because your future is calling and the only way you will find it is if you’re willing to walk slightly away from the well-worn path of sameness and allow your curiosity to guide you to a new adventure for your amazing life.

Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

And I’ll add that a little curiosity will go a long way to finding “The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the slider, climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one.”

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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