Curiosity is an admirable trait. It is essentially the opposite of pattern-matching things to what we have already experienced or know. The sameness of life brings us comfort. Think of habits and routines. Being around people just like us, with similar life experiences, is another way we chase sameness.
Averages are another form of sameness where every data point gets blended into one number. Why in fact experiencing our life throughout each day involves the merging of many individual perspectives, biases, stories, and skills giving us some coherent mindfulness of “today”. It is a form of averaging that occurs in our continuous interactions with everyone we interact with.
There is less risk in sameness. While it seems that sameness lessens risk it actually does something different and more degrading. Sameness weakens our perspectives and understanding. By fooling us into a false sense of certainty without ever testing whether we are on the right track.
Pursuing contrast is a powerful tool of curiosity. It’s never about what is the same but rather what is different. Synthesis or integrative thinking can occur only after working hard to find out why things are different. First principle thinking goes way down to the starting point of what must be true and then looks at accepted understandings to figure out what is false.
“Why could I be wrong” is an indication of intellectual humility that keeps us from pushing our perspective onto others until we better understand competing interpretations. It’s the anomalies and differences that most pass over that can provide immense value. This is why listening without judgment and observing are so powerful.
When you feel certain, question yourself if you pursued contrast in your journey. It may mean more effort is needed on your part, but the changes in your thinking that contrast or differences will provide you with will make you that much sharper moving forward.