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Curiosity vs Evaluation / ep39 show notes

Updated: Mar 27, 2020


What is it? - To be curious; a strong desire to know or learn something; interest leading to inquiry

  • Other words related to curiosity: Interest, inquisitive, nosiness, learning, concern, eagerness, questioning, investigation, wondering

Curiosity and personal growth - Curiosity allows for the opportunity to notice and learn from the information we observe rather than making assumptions about ourselves

  • When we stop being curious, we stop learning

  • In other words: when we think we already know, we stop being curious

  • Curiosity allows for clarity; evaluation comes with baggage

We are born curious; life teaches us to become evaluative

  • Curiosity = discovery and joy

  • The opposite of curiosity is assumptions and expectations

Polyvagal state - Safe & Social


What it is - Judgment or assessment of value

  • Becomes a problem when we evaluate ourselves

  • Placing value onto something versus waiting for the experience or info to come to you

Fine for measuring in architecture, effectiveness of a medicine and for outcomes even in therapy

  • These are evaluations of effectiveness or performance

  • Evaluation of performance is okay

  • For meeting a goal

  • But performance is not a measure of yourself as a person

We misuse our ability to evaluate

  • We evaluate ourselves

  • Our intrinsic worth

  • Our value as a partner, an employee, a friend

Polyvagal tie-in to sympathetic state… and shut down?

  • There’s some energy to it

  • Evaluating to avoid something

  • “It’s not a big deal” versus “I could have done better”

Evaluating to assign fault

  • “Well if you hadn’t…” versus being interested and curious about the story of the person sharing

Shutdown has like a lack of evaluation...?

  • Worthlessness, emptiness, no point

Being still within yourself becomes more difficult

  • “Am I doing this right?” is not being curious

  • “Why did that memory come up”? Is not watching the images and experiencing

  • “What’s wrong with me?” is not curious about your state

  • “Why won’t this feeling get better?” is not curious about the feeling


Be curious! Find something new along your path.


Heya Justin! I wanted to send a huge thank you to yourself and Mercedes! I have been going through the process of therapy for about a year and a half with an incredible therapist. She is actually the one who put me on to you, which meant I could do my own learning as well and then talk about the concepts with her in session. I can't tell you how useful this has been to me. I am a Psychology graduate who is going to be starting an art therapy program in Ontario Canada. I have experienced trauma in my past and experienced a serious motor vehicle accident which re-traumatized me and left me with a lot of healing to do physically, cognitively and emotionally. My therapist has been such a help to me throughout this process because she has created that safe space for me. She is so receptive to my state and will even encourage me to move when I need to and will sometimes do the movement with me. She gives me so many safe and social cues like the eye crinkles, the head tilts and the soft Eye contact from time to time. I have listened to most of your podcasts and I agree the bad therapy stories make me so frustrated but I wanted you to know that there are good therapists and those who are applying and teaching the polyvagal theory! It's beautiful! I have used this in my other relationships, at work and for myself and I'm spreading the message to so many people who needed to hear about this! You're amazing and I'm so grateful to you for all of the work you have done and continue to do in bringing this information to the world and to me. You are helping me to grow and heal. ❤ One of your superfans/trauma nerds, Avery.

Intro/Outro music & Transition Sounds by Benjo Beats -

Articles about curiosity:

Six Surprising Benefits of Curiosity - Emily Campbell

7 Reasons To Be Extremely Curious - Francisco Saez

Using Curiosity To Find Your Best Self - Farrah Campbell

The Power of Curiosity - Todd Kashdan

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