“Curiosity” in contrast to the fundamentalists

I am happy to have escaped from the oppression of Vail Resorts as an employer. I will be working with another fine ski area in the county build their training program. I will be teaching on a part-time request only basis this season. And you may contact me directly.

As I enjoyed my Sunday morning walk-and-read, I enjoyed Seth Godin’s 2008 book, TRIBES.
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In this post I will speak to a few elements with regard to Curiosity (p.63) by Mr. Godin. I will include some personal interpretations as well.

“A fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to his ‘religion’ before he explores it. As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not he wants to accept the ramifications.”
I still remember my 4th grade class with Sister Lillian and one of our Priests were explaining how, “All but the Catholics were damned” because they did not believe our teachings. I raised my hand and asked, “What about the monks and Buddhists who spend their whole lives praying in an effort to do good in this world? Are they going to hell too?” “Yes, I am afraid so.” said the priest. 
“A curious person embraces the tension between his religion and something new, wrestles  with it and through it, and then decides whether to embrace the new idea or reject it.”
Curiosity is a key concept as it has nothing to do with income, education, or organized religion. “It has to do with a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope is interesting.” 
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I remember starting my first web-based business SkiPros.com (Instructor directory, now defunct) in 1995 and talking with a number of the top western ski areas about how the internet can connect their instructors with students. It could create loyalty. It would also foster the ability for prospective students to better match themselves with instructors. They didn’t see the ROI potential and passed off the internet as a fad. Some also believe accepting this change would disrupt their system of having a student blindly put down money and hope for a qualified instructor.  This would lessen the ability for the resort to put a less experienced (lower paid) instructor with the client and allow the resort to reap a higher profit on the lesson.  This is a practice which is financially incentivised by my previous employer. If you are taking a private lesson, always ask for a Full Certified professional instructor, and accept nothing less.
The non-curious “masses in the middle have brainwashed themselves into thinking it’s safe to do nothing, which the curious can’t abide”. However, “It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is for someone to become curious.  For seven, ten, or fifteen years of school, you are required to not be come curious. Over and over again, the curious are punished.”
To me this punishment can lead to freedom. I am more eager to get to work when I am moving beyond set limits. I love to challenge the status quo and push something forward. Something I believe in. Ski Pass Defender is a driving force when I wake up at 6 or go to bed at 11. The thought of helping create culture at the new ski area I will be working with is also incredibly appealing.
It is not as though something magically happens and you become curious. A person must reprogram themselves. It is a multi-year process where you start finding your voice, and finally you begin to realize that the safest thing you can do feels risky. The riskiest thing you can do is to play safe. The “safest” place in a prison is called, “Maximum Security” for a reason.  Yet we are “sheepwalked” into believing this is what we want. A few books worth reading to reprogram your power to the person belongs include The Slight Edge, Think and Grow Rich, Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead, and The Four Agreements.
Mr Godin concludes, “Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn’t go away. EVER. And perhaps it’s such curiosity that will lead us to distinguish our own greatness from mediocrity that stares us in the face.”
If this post resonates with you, I would enjoy reading your comment and/or skiing with you this winter.