Idle Curiosity

Lately I have been fascinated with this word: “efficacy”. Not only is it fun to say, but efficacy, in itself, is an interesting concept. Defining it in my own words, efficacy basically means that one has capability in doing whatever it is they are doing and are confident that they can do it well.

Last night I took a quiz to see how I rated according to each one of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The results suggested that a greater degree of mastery in one area or occupation could help me become more self-actualized. Hmmm…

I do have the type of personality that lends itself to being a “jack of all trades; master of none”. I am interested in so many things that the thought of devoting all my time to attaining mastery in one area of life and letting other interests fall by the wayside seems devastatingly dull to me. I suppose that being a Renaissance woman, however, does not help one to excel.

Nor does my preference to “stop and smell the roses”. I don’t want to just smell them… I want to go on the internet and learn how many different varieties of roses there are, how to plant them, how to harvest them for their rose hips which can be manufactured in vitamin C capsules, what a “rose hip” is anyway… until I’ve satisfied my curiosity wanderlust through the internet rabbit trail from “artichokes” to “zygotes”. Hardly a recipe for learning how to focus on excelling at any one thing.

Am I really rabidly curious or just procrastinating? Often a little bit of both. Perhaps this is where the term “idle curiosity” comes from… when you quest to “know” produces no result other than to serve as a stalling device.

I suppose that this is why, when I re-enter a world of reality, I am often hit with a crippling sense of incompetence. Striving to learn everything quickly has the ironic effect of leaving me with nothing but feeling like a boob.

I take some measure of comfort, however, in knowing that I am growing–slowly and painfully–into some form of maturity and common sense. I am learning by the mistakes I have made in life, especially as it pertains to where I have directed (or failed to direct) my motivations and what I can do about that now. It is painful for me to lack a feeling of efficacy in many things (even if I am capable of more than I realize) and my heart hurts for anyone who understands how I feel. But it’s all a part of the process of growth; when learning to do something I fall down, feel the pain, get up, do it again, get better. This way my curiosity will no longer be “idle”; I learn by experience and will eventually become… efficacious.

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