On Intellectual Curiosity

Written by Paul on July 7th, 2012

I used to carpool to elementary school with a classmate that lived nearby. I remember only one thing from all those years: her dad would tell me anything I wanted to know as long as I asked a question. (Mr. Clayton, where are you these days anyways?)

I went to a small private school and was generally OK with being “the nerd” around my neighborhood. I’m a terribly slow learner when it comes to traditional classroom instruction, but I’m a sponge when someone answers a question of mine — more importantly, I love learning stuff on my own. I like scratching my own itch. It’s probably not the most efficient way to learn something new, but it’s worked pretty well for me.

I’ve met a lot of people over the past few months and I’m starting to realize something: you can’t teach intellectual curiosity. You might be able to inspire or briefly encourage it, but you can’t force people to be genuinely interested in learning new things.

 

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2 Responses to “On Intellectual Curiosity”

  • This reminds me so much of my co-founder. He failed completely at classroom learning, and yet he knows so much amazing shit about such a wide variety of topics because he’s incredibly curious. When we went through a rough patch a few months back and suddenly ran out of work he could do, he went to the library or Barnes and Noble every day and read for hours. I feel like a lot of us say “if I had free time, I’d just read books all day every day and learn so much” but he really did/does that.

    In the year+ since he dropped out of school, I guarantee he learned more than he did in HS/college combined.

    Can’t teach it, but if you have it it’s yours forever!

    — 07/08/12 at 2:43 am

  • Sasha Eslami

    This makes me think, what are some good interview questions or ways to figure out if a candidate has genuinely interested in learning new things.

    — 07/09/12 at 5:30 am

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