#25: Curiosity and Self-Respect

Yesterday I followed up my Core Values post by writing about the three values I chose that I felt are already a guiding part of my life. Today I wanted to comment on the two I added that I wanted to make a higher priority: Curiosity and Self-Respect.

I spent some time trying to decide if I should include Curiosity or Creativity. There is certainly an overlap between the two, but I feel that Curiosity comes with more of a sense of play. It can still lead to creative works, but with the connotation that they are produced just for the sake of making them.

A couple weeks ago, I brought up the topic of push v pull motivation. I’ve come across this framework from various sources, but Tony Robbins describes it like this:

There are 2 different kinds of motivation: Push requires willpower, and willpower never lasts. What will last is pull – having something so exciting, so attractive, something you desire so much that you have a hard time going to sleep at night, you get up so early in the morning and take it to the next level. That’s what you’re looking to get.

– Anthony Robbins

I know that many of us dream of finding that kind of motivation, the kind that seems effortless. I’m not sure how easy it is to get to that level of intensity, but I think that the North Star of moving from a push motivation to a pull motivation is Curiosity.

While I certainly won’t say that Curiosity is absent from my life, I frequently feel like I don’t have enough of it. Or, perhaps more accurately, I’ll be curious about something but then abandon it once it gets difficult. So in order to find that ‘leap out of bed in the morning’ kind of pull motivation, I’m actively working to focus on Curiosity in my life.

The last of the five Core Values is Self-Respect. As I mentioned way back in my ‘On Gratitude’ post last year, I’m trying to establish practices to help in my battle against depression. Some of those have been more clinical, involving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or low-dose SNRIs. But others involve establishing habits like exercise and journaling coupled with outward expressions of gratitude. While I feel that I’m in a much better position than I was a year ago, I believe that outward expressions of gratitude are insufficient.

I regularly think about the selfless quarterback who gives credit in a win to his offensive line but takes the blame upon himself for a loss. It is a mental framework that I find myself using, and is one that I feel we need more of in today’s society. But there is a dark side to it. If the ‘blame’ is constructive and leads to progress, it is useful; however, in my case, the self-flagellation can lead to a downward spiral. Techniques like noting can help to break those feelings a bit, but sometimes it only feels like it is only for seconds. So in my quest to move upstream and find the root causes of my depression, I settled upon the Core Value of Self-Respect. I feel like if I can foster more Self-Respect through gratitude for myself, then I am more likely to be more constructive with self criticism.

Finally, I’ll close out by mentioning my current framework for moving more towards a pull-motivation mindset. The ‘guide’ is moving towards a sense of increased Curiosity, but again and again in writing about my Core Values I found the ‘path’ coming back to habits and gratitude. So I full nerded out and made a little diagram that I have on my bathroom wall and the background of my phone:

The arrow pointing towards the circle on the left represents push motivation, while the arrow pointing away on the right represents pull motivation. The two are separated by the electrical symbol for Resistance, symbolizing the challenges to arrive at the ‘C’ for Curiosity. And so the two ‘tools’ for moving from left to right are:

  • Habits (‘H’) that impede the resistance between the two and make the process easier. The more engrained the habits, the easier the path.
  • Gratitude (‘G’) that provides the (voltage) gradient that drives the flow. The more gratitude practiced, the stronger the urge to move to the right.

Is it nerdy? Definitely. Is it a visually concise reminder of the important elements of this post? For me at least it is. I still have a lot of work to do, but I find that defined frameworks and clear processes are helping me get there.

6 thoughts on “#25: Curiosity and Self-Respect

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