If you’ve been around here long enough, you might remember our original Unleash Your Inner Dragon manifesto looking a little different than it does now. Specifically, the section that currently reads “We believe in curiosity” once read “We believe in solutions.”
Why the shift? We have our reasons. And I felt like it was important to explain some of those reasons today, because:
- There are some important distinctions between curiosity and solutions that are crucial to understand
- We practice what we preach about prototyping and revising as we go along, so I wanted to show an example of that in action.
Curiosity vs. solutions
At first glance, curiosity and solutions don’t even appear to be related, at least not very closely. They’re two completely different concepts…right?
Actually, what we came to realize is that they’re very closely related. As we talked more about solutions and how the search for solutions helped to unleash your inner dragon (you can see some of these discussions on our Instagram account), we realized that even more than the solutions themselves, the curiosity is what brings out your inner dragon and drives your fierce creativity.
We realized that curiosity leads to solutions.
Why focus on curiosity over solutions?
Once we drew this connection between curiosity and solutions, we had a decision to make: do we stick with the original focus on solutions, centered around believing that every problem, no matter how big, could be solved? Or, do we make the shift to focusing on curiosity, and how it ultimately leads to the solutions you’re looking for?
Obviously, we chose the latter. I’ll do my best to explain why.
Process vs. end result
One of the biggest reasons we chose to focus on curiosity rather than on solutions is that curiosity is about the process, while solutions are about the end result. When we think about Design.org and its mission—to help people “create happy” in their lives—we realize that it’s more about the process than it is about what the process results in.
It’s more about the journey than the destination.
The importance of questions
Nowhere in our manifesto did we discuss the importance of asking questions and getting curious, but that’s a major aspect of creativity. Asking questions, challenging the status quo, daring to wonder if things could be different—this is what leads to creativity. The questions inspire creative answers.
And if you don’t ask the question, you’ll never find the answer. Essentially, without curiosity, there wouldn’t really be any solutions. We’d all just accept things the way they were, because that’s the way they’ve always been.
We cannot ignore the vital role of questions—of curiosity—when it comes to solving the world’s problems.
Keeping you in control
There are some things you have control over, and some things you don’t. When it comes down to it, the only things you really have control over are your own thoughts and actions. You can’t control the consequences of those thoughts and actions, and you can’t control how other people receive those thoughts and actions.
With this in mind, answer this question: which do you have more control over—curiosity or solutions?
You can always choose to be curious. When you see something you don’t understand, you can either pass judgment on it, or you can get curious and ask questions about it. You can always wonder if there’s a better way, a higher road, a different approach. You can look at every problem with curiosity. That is within your control.
Solutions, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily within your control. You can try a solution that doesn’t work or that doesn’t get the response you wanted. Your “solutions” might cause other, unforeseen problems. The result of your effort isn’t something you have unquestionable power over.
When curiosity is the goal, you can always win.
Solutions are created. Curiosity creates.
Since unleashing your inner dragon is all about creating, we wanted to place more focus on things that can be created, rather than things that are already created.
Curiosity drives creativity, which drives solutions. It’s what inspires you to think outside the box and get creative.
Curiosity and happiness
Sometimes, we think it is the solution that is going to make us happy.
Once I get that raise, I’ll be happy.
After my kids are self-sufficient, I’ll be happy.
If we could just move into a bigger house, then I would be happy.
The problem is, happiness is a moving target. The solutions that we thought would bring us so much happiness usually introduce new questions and problems that leave us unsatisfied in new ways.
The way to counteract that is to learn to be happy now, not later. It’s to be happy with the process, not the solution. That way, even if the solution never comes, or if it changes part way through, or if it simply doesn’t bring you the happiness you thought it would, you can still be happy.
Research links curiosity to happiness, associating curiosity with lower stress and greater psychological well-being. And since curiosity is always a choice, it’s a better bet than solutions when it comes to creating happiness in your life.
Curiosity leads to solutions, there’s no doubt about that. And we don’t want to minimize the importance of believing in, searching for, and working toward solutions. But instead of being preoccupied with the result, let’s focus on the process that will get us there. Let’s take a closer look at what will truly help us get what we want, and become the people we want to become.
Let’s get curious.