curiosity

30 Top Quotes on Curiosity, Creativity, Innovation: "Think Left, Think Right, Think Low, Think High. Oh, the Things You Can Think Up if Only You Try"

Dr. Seuss Eleanor Roosevelt said, "I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity."

I think one of the most useful gifts we can give anyone is curiosity. Curiosity means we care. It means we're attentive, connected, in love with ideas, life and potential.

If there's anything I've learned after twenty years of speaking, writing, and researching the topic of attention, concentration and focus .. it's that intrigued attention (aka curiosity) is the quickest way to create a life where the light is on in our eyes.

I've collected some of my favorite quotes about creativity and curiosity and share them here. Hope they spark your interest and remind you to look around and give the world and the people in it the appreciative attention and eyebrows-up interest they deserve.

1. “If there were a rehab for curiosity; I’d be in it.” – CBS news anchor Diane Sawyer

2. "Think left and think right, and think low and think high; Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try. " - Dr. Seuss

3. “Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence." – Alistair Cooke

4. "Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; it kills the competition.” – Sam Walton

5. “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and trying new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

6. “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” – Dorothy Parker

7. “The constant happiness is curiosity.” – Alice Munro

8. “Be curious, not judgmental.” –Walt Whitman

9. “I am neither clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.” – Albert Einstein

10. “Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” – Lovelle Drachman

11. “Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will." - James Stephenson

12. “I am in love with hope.’ – Mitch Albom (Hope is a form of curiosity.)

13. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan

14. “There is moment in every child’s life where a door opens and lets the future in.” – author Graham Greene

15. "Before there were drawing boards, what did we go back to?” – comedian George Carlin

16. Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." - e. e. cummings

17. “I have found if you love life, life will love you back.” – composer Arthur Rubenstein (Loving life is a combination of creativity and curiosity.)

18. "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose." - Zora Neale Hurston

19. “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. Intuition tells the thinking mind where to look next.” – Jonas Salk

20. “The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

21.“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way; you will command the attention of the world.” – inventor George Washington Carver (If it's common, it's not creative.)

22. “Creativity is based on the belief that there’s no particular virtue in doing things they way they’ve always been done.” – Rudolph Flesch

23. "Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning." - William Ward

24. "The travel impulse is mental and physical curiosity. It's a passion. And I can't understand people who don't want to travel." - Paul Thoreaux

25. "You can't just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them. Sir Ken Robinson

26. "Creativity is not just for artists. It's for business people looking for a new way to close a sale; it's for engineers trying to solve a problem; it's for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way." - Twyla Tharp (I listened to Twyla Tharp's excellent book The Creative Habit while traveling across America. She says, "Every creative project needs a spine. What's yours?" Mine's intrigue and innovation.)

27, "Creativity is connecting things." - Steve Jobs

28. "It may be that our cosmic curiosity... is a genetically-encoded force that we illuminate when we look up and wonder." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

29. "Curiosity is at the core of creativity and intrigue is at the core of innovation." - Sam Horn

30. "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." - Albert Einstein

YES to passing along creativity and curiosity. And feel free to pass along these quotes to anyone who might appreciate a curiosity-creativity boost.

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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency, is on a mission to help people create quality presentations, books and brands that add value for all involved. Her TEDx talk and books - including POP!, Tongue Fu!, IDEApreneur and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? - have been featured in New York Times, Forbes, INC, and presented to NASA, Accenture, ASAE, Intel and National Geographic. Want Sam to present at your next convention? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAggency.com

Day Right Quote #34: Nearly All The Best Things That Came to Me in Life Have Been Unexpected, Unplanned by Me

After an intense and rewarding week of consults, I pronounced yesterday ADVENTURE FRIDAY and decided to go to Estes Park, 30 miles away, because I'd never been there. As I drove into that stunning mountain valley, I saw a white lodge high on a hill. I didn't know what it was, but it looked intriguing, so I started taking roads that led UP until I arrived HERE.

This is the famous Stanley Hotel. You may have seen it in the movie The Shining. Remember Jack Nicholson's immortal words, "I'll be b-a-c-k."

As I strolled the grounds, marveled at the "didn't know that" history of this grand hotel, and gazed at the majestic snow-capped mountains, I was reminded all over again that SECURITY is not the spice of life, DISCOVERY is.

Do you do same-old, same-old, day in and day out? Do you feel locked into routines?

This week, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Change things up. Follow an intuitive nudge to go here, do this. Re-experience the power curiosity and discovery have to put the light on in your eyes. Set something in motion and see what unfolds

Your SerenDestiny is on the other side of routine.

Carl Sandburg is right. Nearly all the best things that come to us in life are unexpected, unplanned

carl sandberg

The Trip to China That Almost Didn't Happen

I am here in the deserted lobby of the 5 star JiaHua Hotel in Beijing at 4 am, reveling in - and writing about - the extraordinary experiences I’ve had these past few days. What a privilege it was speaking for an appreciative audience of 1800 people at China’s 12th Annual Direct Selling convention. I even had a rather unique Justin Bieber experience (minus the screaming girls) and was mobbed after my presentation by eager picture-takers.

I luxuriated in jasmine hot springs, had my toes nibbled on by tiny fish, enjoyed the benefits of a rigorous head-to-toe Thai massage, and was hosted 24-7 by Ms. Cathy, my gracious interpreter who attended to my every need (pictured here with my lucky Mr. Blue Heron journal, flying with his Chinese brethren). Processed with Snapseed.

What I’m embarrassed to tell you is … this trip almost didn’t happen. Here’s why.

I’m normally an adventurous person. A frequently-asked question these past 12 months on my YEAR BY THE WATER has been some version of, “How did you get the courage to give away 95% of your possessions and take off on the road … all by yourself? That’s so brave. I could never do that.”

Well, I never thought setting off on this venture was brave. I grew up riding horses. Even when we were 8 and 9 years old, my sister Cheri and I would be gone all day riding with our friends and our parents never worried. If something went wrong, and things often did, they trusted us to “figure it out.”

What if our bridle broke and we’re out in the middle of nowhere? Figure it out.

What if we got bucked off or our horse ran away with us? Figure it out.

I’ll always be grateful to Mom and Dad because the underlying theme of our growing up years was “Life is an adventure; you're supposed to get out in the world and experience it.”

Instead of seeing the world as a dangerous place to be scared of – we grew up seeing it as a safe place to explore. Instead of worrying “What if something goes wrong?” we kind of expected things to go right. If things did go wrong, no worries, we had faith we could figure them out.

So, I was shocked when a course of events led me to “playing it safe” and almost backing out of this China trip. Here’s what happened.

My sister (who’s run my business for 15 years) and I have been negotiating this trip for more than three months. We finally signed the contract two weeks (yes, two weeks, and no, that’s not the norm) before I was to jump on a plane. In the confirmation email, our contact casually mentioned I needed to get a visa.

Need to get a visa?! That had never been mentioned in the three months of negotiating this trip. I’ve had the privilege of speaking around the world – from South Korea to Germany – and never had to apply for a visa before.

I went online to research it and discovered you couldn’t do this online; you needed to go to a Chinese consulate in your state of residence, apply in person and return four-five days later to pick up the approved visa.

Well, that was a deal-breaker.

I’m on the road, my schedule’s fully committed with clients the next two weeks, and I’m nowhere near my home state (not that I even have one anymore).

Plus, the fact that this requirement had come “out of the blue” at this late date made me wonder, “What else hasn’t been mentioned that I need to know?”

Then, a fluke event threw me even deeper into doubt. The day I found out about the visa requirement was the day numerous major internet sites crashed. As you may remember, there were a lot of theories about who caused this and why – and one of the theories was that China or Russia was behind this cyber-attack.

Yikes. Normally, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but all of a sudden I had big trust issues with this trip. I was flying half-way around the world to a country where I didn’t speak the language and was putting myself in the hands of people I didn’t know. What if the internet went down while I was there and I had no way of contacting loved ones? What did I really know about this organization anyway?

There was another factor contributing to my rapidly multiplying doubts. Over the years, I’ve learned to compartmentalize my travels so I don’t get overwhelmed. I focus on one event at a time as the date gets closer, and that works just fine.

But our contact had not sent us ANY details about my speaking engagement. I didn’t know what hotel I’d be staying at, the event logistics or audience profile, whether there’d be simultaneous translation, etc.

We normally have ALL the W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why – spelled out months in advance on our contract, but that hadn’t happened with this particular client and I hadn’t been paying attention. Red flags were flying.

I’m a fan of Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama,” but I found myself uncharacteristically consumed with doubts and fears about this trip. Normally, I wouldn’t think of backing out of a commitment, but I wasn’t sure I could trust this organization. Should I get on that plane or not?

Well, enter my son Tom and daughter-in-law Patty to the rescue. I called them for advice and spelled out the situation. They had been to China and I trusted them to offer a much-needed fresh, objective perspective.

Thank heaven for Millennials and their wise counsel and proactive mentality.

Two minutes into our conversation, Tom had already Googled where I was staying, (Denver), and told me, “Mom, there’s a place called Mile High Visa that has a courier service that can handle this for you. They’ll pick up your application, process it, and return it to you.

Plus, there’s no need to put yourself at the mercy of someone you’re not sure you can count on. Here’s the contact info for the U.S. Embassy in China. Print it out and take it with you. If anything goes wrong, head there. Be sure to get an international phone card for your cell. And write your contact today and tell her exactly what you need from her to feel safe making this trip.”

Patty chimed in to say there was English signage throughout Beijing so I would be able to find my way around if necessary. “We loved our trip there, found the people very friendly, and look forward to going back some day.”

That was enough to “flip the mental switch” from the left side of the ledger where doubts and fears reside - to the right side of the ledger where faith and trust live.

If you know me, you know I love to juxtapose things. I think it’s the quickest way to make complex ideas (and decisions) crystal clear.

What do I mean by juxtaposition? Get a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the center. The left column stands for what’s WRONG. The right column stands for what’s RIGHT.

Or the left column stands for what SABOTAGES or COMPROMISES our effectiveness and success. The right column stands for what SUPPORTS and CONTRIBUTES to our effectiveness and success.

Or, the left column stands for the PAST, the right column stands for the FUTURE.

You get the idea. When you are trying to make a decision, you can put down all the CONS and WORST CASE SCENARIOS (reasons to say NO or NOT GO) on the left. Put down all the PROS and the BEST CASE SCENARIOS (reasons to say YES or TO GO) on the right.

When I did this, it was clear to me that I had drifted over to the doubts and fears on the left side of the ledger because I had AN ABSENCE of INFORMATION.

Anxiety is defined as “not knowing.” I didn’t know what was happening and that absence of information caused a mild state of panic. When we don’t know, we start filling in the blanks, and those blanks often dwell on worse-case scenarios.

But, as Tom and Patty demonstrated, lack of information can be fixed. They gave me tangible resources that helped me regain confidence I could take care of myself and “figure it out” if things went wrong. They filled up the right side of the ledger with their positive experience and expectations that I could have the same.

I needed to do one more thing. When facing a big decision, I’ve always advised my sons to “take the bolder of the options.” I needed to project ahead and ask myself, “Would I regret being a ‘chicken’ and backing out of this trip?”

I think backing out of things is a slippery slope. It’s easy to start being cautious. Playing it safe can become a habit. That’s not who I want to be ... and that's not the path to our SerenDestiny.

George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

We have a choice when considering whether to take a trip – and I mean “trip” in every sense of the word. Trip to a new job. Trip to a new country. Trip to a new relationship. We can stay on the left side of the ledger and focus on worries and worse-case scenarios and talk ourselves out of going.

Or we can focus on the right side of the ledger, secure the information we need to feel safe, see the world as an adventurous place waiting to be explored and experienced ... and GO.

I chose the right side of the ledger and I’ll always be glad I did.

Roads Less Traveled

I'd like to introduce my new friend ... GPS.. Can you believe, before this trip, I never used GPS?

I remember when my son Tom, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech, moved from Reston, VA to Houston to start working at Mission Control at Johnson Space Center.

I asked him, 'What route are you going to take? Through the Smoky Mountains or along the Gulf Coast?"

He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "GPS, Mom."

I now know what he means.

After crisscrossing the country from coast to coast, I don't know how I could have navigated it without its much-welcomed voice telling me where to turn and when.

I'm also grateful to the little GPS lady for helping me discover treasures off the beaten (or grid-locked) path.

I was driving from Duck, NC to Washington DC on the notorious 95. This was a Sunday, not a work day, so there shouldn't have been much traffic, right?

Wrong!  95 was backed up for miles. Thank heaven, the trusty little GPS lady pinged me with a "faster route now available."

But it wasn't just a faster route ... it was a fresher route.

I've traveled that stretch of 95 dozens of times. Been there, driven that. But I've never explored the green back roads through rolling horse country and experienced the charming small towns that exist minutes away from that congested interstate.

I couldn't get over the fact that I might not have ever known about this lovely part of Virginia if it hadn't been for that "detour."  I also couldn't get over the fact that this unexpected beauty ran almost parallel, often less than a mile away, from that crowded highway.

Metaphorically speaking, it made me wonder what other "roads less traveled" exist off our beaten path?

Where else are we taking an obvious, habitual route instead of exploring different options?

Where else are we settling for crowded paths instead of striking out on our own?

What delights await us if we dare to do the new instead of the tried and true?

Another well-deserved shout-out to Audible, my constant driving companion on my Year by the Water.

Over the last 10,000 miles (really, started Oct. 1 and my loyal Toyota Highlander just logged its 10,420th mile), I have never been alone or lonely.

First, because I stay connected via a current of loving relationships with my friends and family who are with me -  even when they're not with me.

Second, because I've laughed out loud, reflected, been endlessly intrigued and even shed some tears as I listen to fascinating authors share their life stories and insights.

A favorite has been Gloria Steinem's "My Life on the Road." In her thought-provoking memoir,  she recalls campaigning for both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton as they competed for the 2008 Democratic nomination. When it was time to make a choice, she couldn't make up her mind who to endorse.

She finally had an epiphany.

Barack Obama would probably NOT feel betrayed or lose the nomination if she did not endorse him. But Hilary might; so she endorsed Hilary.

Hmmm ....

Back to deciding which routes to take in our life.

I think, at some level, we betray ourselves when we consistently take the crowded route.

A more interesting life lies just off the congested path.

A more memorable, roads less traveledmeaningful life unfolds when we have the courage and curiosity to strike out on our own and take roads less traveled.

Your thoughts?