Jan 23, 2010


If there’s one thing I could say to the world’s youth that could guide them through a life of quality living and adventure, it would be to develop a curiosity for the world, it’s diversity and it’s humanity, and to develop, nurture and grow their creativity.

Some of us are attracted to interests or hobbies where we can be curious from a young age. I was lucky, I was always an observer of life, so curiosity and creativity have been an ingrained part of me. And when I needed to find a profession, it was a natural progression to study photography and then film making as a vocation. This, in turn, became a profession that helped me grow as a human being and film making/storytelling became an extension of who I am. However, many young people I come across today in their teens or early twenties have absolutely no idea what they want to do with their lives.

From a particular point of view, there are overbearing forces that all of us have been exposed to, even over exposed to. Whether from family or community, these are forces we must all learn to moderate or break free from in order to find that individual and personal passion for our own lives.

We are born into a world nurtured by our family and everything is placed in front of us. From the beginning, we are surrounded by the opinions of others and we are indoctrinated to be part of our immediate family. We are given the love of family, community and country, and for all we know, that’s all there is. We never give it a second thought. We may grow up Christian or we may be born into a Jewish home or one of the many other religions, or not. Our parents may speak: French or Chinese or English, and we naturally learn their language so we can communicate. If our parents love a particular kind of music, then music is pressed on our souls. If politics in the household is leaning heavily to one side or the other, we may be influenced by those ideas. If our father is a business man, we may be asked to take over the family business one day. If our parents are strong willed, then we may be under their influence for our whole lives. So dogma and indoctrination of some sort are impressed upon us continually. And to find our way in the world, out of all these influences toward becoming a free thinker, is very difficult. Yet, the successful among us break free to lead wonderful lives of our own creation. What we are, are individuals. We are not what people try to mold us into. We are certainly not what we are born into. We have the freedom to discover who we really are, yet, few of us realize this.

Think on that for a moment.

Growing up and breaking free to be our own selves is the most difficult thing each of us will ever encounter. We will stumble. We will want to return to the comforts of home. But we will realize that we have moved on. We will come to know that for self survival, we must move out even further to reclaim ourselves. It takes guts to break from the pack, from our families, our community, our allegiances and loyalties, our childhood friends and sometimes our countries. But we must create our own home. This is why it is so difficult.

Curiosity can drive us: We ask questions. We learn from the people we talk with outside our sphere of influence. We are confronted by new ideas from the books we read, quality TV shows we watch, the people we meet or places we visit. From these sparks of information we become curious about the wider world. Our souls wake up, we come truly alive and we come to the realization that we are free to think for ourselves. Our curiosity asks us: Who am I? What makes me tick? With what ideas am I really comfortable? What music do I really like? How can I truly live my life in the comfort of my own sensibilities? How can I contribute with my own identity?

We all have a need to belong. It’s a longing that we all have deep within us. But we must find our own community. To survive, we must realize that out in the world, beyond our brains, beyond the indoctrination and brain washing and cultural comfort, something is there to help us find ourselves: Our curiosity, our creativity, our “being.”

What makes us successful individuals is our curiosity for new and exciting experiences. And to make those experiences work, we must use our imagination and our creativity to constantly shape and mold ourselves, and reinvent if we must. And curiosity will help us go further than we could ever imagine.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
-  William Arthur Ward

“When you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”
- Walt Disney

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”
- Albert Einstein

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.”
- Leo Burnett