The Secret Weapon : Curiosity or Endurance

Hallstatt, Austria (picture was taken by me)

So this is how the story goes.

I’ve read it somewhere, a popular quote from Albert Einstein “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

This quote struck my mind when I read it for the first time. I never acknowledge myself as a passionately curious person. I tend to have several questions, but most of the time, I am satisfied when there is one closest answer that I can find, or sometimes I just leave some questions to remain unanswered, especially one that related with ambiguous or trivial subject.

Sometimes, I question myself, why am I not critical enough? Why is it easy for me to understand and not disagree with the reason of other’s idea (as long as it makes sense)?

Along the time, I understand myself as a fox type of person. So, according to philosopher Isaiah Berlin, inspired by Greek poet, repeated by Kahneman in his book, there are two types of people, hedgehog or fox.

The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing. The hedgehog account for particular events within a coherent framework, and confident with his forecasts. The strength of the hedgehog is in his focus and central vision. The fox is complex thinker, he doesn’t believe that one big thing drives the march for history. The power of the fox is in his flexibility and openness to experience.

The hedgehog never wavers, never doubts. The fox is more cautious, more pragmatic, and more inclined to see complexity. Kahneman said that the hedgehogs make good tv programs, especially when they are on a different side, while foxes are less likely to be invited in tv debates.

That explanation gives me some idea why I see the world as a combination of several different entities and forces, the reason I can understand and not being “critical” enough when other give their statement because I believe that their point of view can be true as well.

However, knowing that I am a fox type person does not make me feel any better. Go back to Einstein’s quote, I am neither talented nor passionately curious, so what is the “special thing” that I have? This question always running back in my mind, especially being in the environment when everyone seems to have strong opinion and asking questions that do not align with their perspective.

Until yesterday, I found a trivial quiz from Adobe, asking “what is your secret weapon? Curiosity or endurance?”

and it just hit me like a lightning strike. I never consider my endurance as a secret weapon. I know that I am not a quitter, but I don’t recognise that along the process, I endure a lot of the things, the temptation to quit, the sleepless nights, the struggle to overcome barrier, the critics, rude comments or even insults. There are many times that I feel like I want to quit, but here I am, make an effort to continue anything that I’ve started.

It is funny how I always looking for things that I don’t have and never see the things that I actually do in my daily life.

As Kahneman said “We’re blind to our blindness. We have very little idea of how little we know. We’re not designed to know how little we know.”

As I embrace one more knowledge about myself, I realise there are tons of things that I don’t know about myself, too.