Do You Want to See Better? Try Curiosity

“There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”
– Charles Proteus Steinmetz

What Does She Need?

My friend is scheduled for surgery next week. For you or me, it might be fairly routine. But not for her.

Although my friend is physically only a few years younger than I am, her mental capacity is much younger.

At her eye doctor’s office last week, she asked again and again if she’s getting new glasses. When the doctor told her each time that she needed cataract surgery first, she asked again and again how big the cataracts are.

Back at her home, she asks me the same questions, too. She doesn’t understand. She’s curious.

I don’t know how to explain it in terms she can comprehend. So I have to get curious, too.

Instead of answering her direct questions with scientific facts she isn’t grasping, I’m trying to discern her deeper concerns underneath the questions.

Are her questions—the ones she’s unable to articulate—really these questions?

  • Is this going to hurt?
  • When can I see again?
  • Am I going to be okay?

What Do We Need?

As we head into 2024, our circumstances may look different than my friend’s, but our bottom-line concerns may be similar:

  • How much pain will I endure?
  • When will I understand what’s happening?
  • Will I be okay?

Maybe our “vision” problems are these: We have relationships in disarray. Or we have health scares. Or financial or job troubles. Even political concerns (we’re entering a major election year in the U.S.).

Too often we get anxious or angry or withdrawn when we’re faced with uncertainties. But we do have another option.

We can get curious.

When we’re curious, we listen for stories instead of passing judgment. We become self-aware instead of closed-off. We pay better attention to tune in instead of doing all the talking, tuning others out.

My One Word for 2024

I’ve chosen Curiosity as my One Word for 2024 to help me with these issues and more. Not to get more answers necessarily, but to ask better questions. Not just to learn, but to connect.

Inward, outward, and upward. These are the three directions I want to explore with deep Curiosity this year (thanks to Scott Shigeoka, the author of Seek: How Curiosity Can Transform Your Life and Change the World, whose ideas I’ll be borrowing from).

  • Inward: curiosity about myself (my values, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, body)
  • Outward: curiosity about what’s outside of me (individuals, culture, science, systems)
  • Upward: curiosity about what’s beyond me (sacred spaces, faith traditions, spirituality, consciousness)

I’ve chosen other books, too, that I’ll bring with me on my curious journey:

And more that I can’t yet imagine. I hope to remain open and curious to unexpected resources and people sure to pop up along the way.

I’m excited that my friend will see better again after her eye surgery. Maybe she won’t even need glasses at all.

But just like my friend, I want to see better too. And to be seen clearer.

Curiosity is one tool I’ll use to get there.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
– Mary Oliver

Do you consider yourself curious by nature? Have you chosen One Word for 2024? Share in the comments.

If you’d like to stay better connected with your One Word throughout the year, .

You can also join our One Word Facebook community here.

24 thoughts on “Do You Want to See Better? Try Curiosity

  1. Martha J Orlando

    On the cusp of choosing a word, Lisa, but still contemplating. One that I read today truly stood out to me, and it seems to be taking. I’ll let everyone know in my next blog.
    Am I a naturally curious person? Always have been! Your word for the year is an excellent choice, Lisa.

  2. Dianna

    And, don’t we all need to “see” better? I know I certainly do. I can see how your word for 2024 of Curiosity and my word Kindness can be very compatible because there are so many avenues when it comes to kindness as well. Now you have me pondering. Thanks, friend, for making me curious!

  3. Linda Stoll

    Oh what a fascinating word, Lisa. Curiosity comes from a completely different mindset from being nosey. There’s a strength, wisdom, depth, and beauty enfolded into it. Respect, too. I can’t wait to read what you discover in the months ahead, friend.

  4. Harry Katz

    A fabulous choice, Lisa. Curiosity is so important, especially in times like these with so much intolerance and dogmatism. I look forward to reading your posts on this.

    Also I love this quote from Dorothy Parker: “The cure for boredom is curiously. There is no cure for curiosity.”

  5. Lynn

    Being curious of what is really going on is so important in our world of so many distractions from the truth! I think my word this year is Relax. Or that might be my word just for January. 🙂

  6. Trudy

    Thank you for delving into curiosity, Lisa. Love this – “When we’re curious, we listen for stories instead of passing judgment. We become self-aware instead of closed-off. We pay better attention to tune in instead of doing all the talking, tuning others out.” So true. Love and blessings in 2024!

  7. Tea With Jennifer

    I’m an extremely curious person Lisa, I actually think I drive my hubby to distraction with my curiosity! LOL!
    My curious nature served me well in my professional life, to be able to get to the bottom of the real needs of my patients.
    I hope you have a very blessed & curious Year my friend,

  8. Joanne

    That is a great WOTY! I loved when my kids were younger and they really helped me see the world through their curious eyes and questions. Something I definitely think we can all learn from so what a fun way to approach your year.

  9. Jean Wise

    What a great word and I am curious how this will stretch you this year. LOL. And a great story illustration to use for curiosity. I was keeping this word too narrow thinking of learning new stuff but you used it as a help in a friend situation, a relationship. That is super, Thanks for sharing that perspective!

  10. David

    Love this post Lisa! Your sensitivity contrasted with the professional’s refusal to listen. Refusal to ask themselves that simple question — what is this person really asking?

    (Sorry I’ve mixed up the senses!)

    I am greedy for knowledge and understanding. I love listening to people. A weakness, as I’ve become uncomfortable with writing.

    My One Word this year is “Power”, especially, via 2 Timothy 1:7, linked to self-control. I’ve yet to plan how to use it, but I want to be active with it.

  11. Joanne Viola

    I am a curious person by nature, always asking questions and probably drive people crazy 🙂 But there is so much to learn from those around us and from our world. It will be interesting to see where your curiosity takes you this year!

  12. Donna Reidland

    Your post really struck me this morning and made me think of a counseling session I had some time ago. I was meeting with a young girl who was only there because her parents thought she should be. She was uninterested … until … I just started letting her talk about what she wanted to and that led me to more curiosity about her. As I listened better, she opened up more about the things we needed to discuss. Curiosity is a valuable thing, isn’t it?

  13. Barb Hegreberg

    I love your “logo” for the year.

    Reading your words today has taught me that I need to be more childlike in how I approach the world. What a relief to realize that I don’t have to have all the answers.

    One Word #3 this month

  14. Cecelia Lester

    Michele: I don’t know how I missed this posting. Yes, we all have a certain amount of curiosity about new things in our life. Each day God presents us with something that makes us stop and think about what that message means to us. (#6 and #7, this month).

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