My word for 2021 is Curiosity!

Every year i pick a word or phrase for the year. 

Looking back to 2019 i can see that my word for that year was Stewardship and as i read through the list of attached goals and hopes i can see that most of them were achieved. But then we entered 2020…

i remember last year tbV and i were nearing the end of our two month trip to the Philippines and i chose the word REALIGN which was strange cos i stumbled across it written in the sand later that day.

And this is what i wrote alongside that Instagram post which never actually made it to a blog post i don’t think:

The idea – which this part of the trip is a Huge part of – is to return… to be reminded of… to reconnect… To core values.
To God.
To Val.
To significant living.
To good time use.
To principle.
To Love.
To fighting for Justice.

Where the edges may have blurred, where i may have gotten distracted, where i may have lost focus, where i may have grown weary or disillusioned, where i may have lost my way… to take a moment (some moments) to reset, reconnect, refocus, re-establish, recommit… To Realign… And after a while, once i am walking strong in who i am in all those areas, it will become more about Align-ing – staying focused and directed and compassionate and true.

And 2020 was, well, 2020! World Pandemic and widespread lockdown and everyone becoming masters of Zoom [Well, except maybe cat filter man, oh and shelf-dildo lady, and of course going-to-the-toilet lady, so maybe let’s say SOME of us becoming masters of Zoom!] and in some ways ‘REALIGN’ was a good word to have because there was a lot of time at home to think and reflect and consider. A lot of talk became about THE NEW NORMAL and what the world might look like after we all get out of this. But a whole lot of 2020 was also just about trying to make it to the end of the coronavirus in one piece.

Which brings us to 2021 with vaccines being taken and a lot more knowledge [and conspiracy] about Covid-19 than we had this time last year and yet in many ways there is still that sense of limbo and waiting and wondering if things will ever be some kind of normal again.

Watch out cat!

When 2021 hit, a lot of us were still caught up in the haze of 2020 and so i didn’t take time to consider a word for the year.

But two words kept coming out of time spent with my friend [and colleague in spaces like Partners for Possibility] Hani du Toit – Co-create and Curiosity. And then last night we were involved in an amazing conversation around Whiteness and Human Rights Day which is well worth watching and both of those words came up again. But this quote from a Facebook friend grabbed my attention:

‘Great session, thank you. I liked your point on curiosity as opposed to judgement, Brett.’ [Myles Ritchie]

i think both Hani and Asanda had actually spoken about Curiosity and i was just paraphrasing what i had heard but in that moment i decided that Curiosity is going to be my word for 2021!

At the end of the conversation i posed this question, which i pose to you now: What would the world look like if we replaced Judgement with Curiosity? 

Especially in the race and culture space. What if, when coming face to face with something that is different to what we are used to [how someone speaks or dresses, a different type of food or music or way of doing things, a way of approaching time that is not how we would, a language that is not the one we speak at home, a way of thinking or seeing or experiencing the world that makes us pause…] ask a question, lean in, be curious! The outcome of that will probably change yourself and very likely positively affect your relationship with the person and the space.

When you see something/someone different – Be Curious!

When you don’t understand what is going on – Be Curious!

When something rubs you the wrong way and you feel negative emotion rising and instinct is to lash out – Breathe in, pause and Be Curious!

When you meet someone from a different country – Don’t assume! Be Curious!

When someone is late – Be Curious!

When someone puts pineapple on their pizza… okay, we may be pushing it here, but you get the idea! 

The world would be transformed if we chose Curiousity over Judgement! And so for the rest of 2021 i am going to try and make Curiosity my default setting. To look up words and concepts i don’t understand. To read up on issues that come up that i’m not clued up on. To spark conversations with new people i meet or interact with.

What will it take for you to be more curious?