June 22, 2024

Curiosity, care, and unblocking creativity

There is an abundance of creators, but a dearth of people saying anything interesting.

There is infinite content, but very few pieces crafted with care and curiosity.

There is a scene of technologists who talk about “crafting their work with care.” I’ve always found this idea intriguing, but the way they talked about their work felt corny. Recently, I’ve realized that there is no other way to explain it – great work comes from a deep curiosity and care for the work you’re doing and the people you’re doing it for.

Two people can write an essay on the same exact topic, with the same exact references. Only one might excite me. The secret ingredients are care and curiosity.

We always tease my grandma for making the same dish with slightly different ingredients every time. Whatever she has around the kitchen often makes its way into the meal, regardless of what the recipe calls for. Every single time, no matter how weird the combination sounds, the meal is delicious. Through cooking, my grandma exercises her curiosity and demonstrates her care for her family.

There are two buckets of consumption that really speak to me:

  1. The first is work that helps complete a puzzle. It’s often related to an idea I’ve been thinking about, and the specific combination of ideas by the author or artist unblocks my own creativity.
  2. The second is an unlock, an idea that I’ve may or may not have been exposed to before, but the way it was framed and presented and the taste being exercised by the author/artist makes me take the idea seriously for the first time.

I don’t think great work is a “skill issue.” Writing, drawing, videography, coding, design, architecture – these are skills that anyone can learn. The differentiator is often care and curiosity. It’s why you can throw a billion dollars at a product and it’ll still feel soulless. You can’t teach care and curiosity, it’s an internal journey.