Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Curiosity’s Motivating Spark


Curious Boys

Entrepreneur or not, embracing curiosity in your life can have a powerful impact.  Some folks are born naturally curious and remain intensely curious their entire life.   Others of us (myself included) need to learn and practice the art of constant curiosity and do well to surround ourselves with motivators to stay curious.

This idea hit me over the weekend. Sitting with my two boys in church at Peachtree Road UMC on Sunday, I noticed them making notes, drawings, and soaking in the architecture of the sanctuary.  Huh? Odd behavior for a 6 and 9 year old. Sitting still and calm isn’t normal.

At first, I started to be inspired by whatever deep spiritual movements inside them caused this wide-eyed curiosity… but then I realized it.

Boys are only motivated by one thing at a time.   The one thing consumes them.  It lasts for months or years and nothing else enters their field of view during this time of focus. Each one has grown up shifting from phase to phase.  Motorcycles, trucks, trains, boats.   Then things like dragons, pirates, Star Wars, Legos, Star Wars, Pokemon, more Star Wars, more pirates, SnapCircuits, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson…. and of course, the obsession of obsessions that is current:  MINECRAFT!

For those unfamiliar, Minecraft is like virtual Legos.  Our boys use the iMac and the iPads.   You enter virtual [pixelated] worlds, sometimes alone, sometimes together, and build things. Our kids have done some impressive construction in their Minecraft worlds.

What was happening in church this weekend?  They were making mental notes about the church sanctuary architecture so they could recreate it in Minecraft.   First gut reaction of a tired dad: “Oh, brother! Give it a rest!”

But then the “Big Picture Parenting” mindset prevailed (thanks to Tommy Newberry for that) and I realized the value of this curiosity.   Who cares why they are so curious… they are soaking it in!   They were so focused, that after the service, we sat on a side bench and they talked and stared for another 15 minutes after everyone else was long gone.   I even took time to snap the photo above to capture the moment. This was nothing but goodness.

The parallel adulthood lesson is a no brainer.

Entrepreneurs are just like those boys.   Intensely focused. The company. We sleep, dream, breathe it.   And because of it, we are curious. We are hunting for problems, curious about solutions, experimental with technology and value  propositions.  It’s how we move forward.  It’s the reason we have to remain curious.

For me personally, exploring the vast possibilities in startups is a motivator to stay curious and learn about industries, companies, and processes that I would otherwise have little interest in.       Being curious is good no matter what your motivator.

Category: Ideas

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