The Superpower of Curiosity

Debilyn Molineaux, Coffee Party USA President

Remember asking questions when you were a child? Or perhaps you remember your own children asking question after question? This curiosity becomes a superpower when we allow ourselves to learn from others and perhaps, even influence our beliefs.  

Here’s what I’ve learned with my superpower of curiosity:

  1. A young woman I met on a plane was avidly pro-life. I’m pro-choice. When we shared our life experiences, I learned she had been born blind and as a result, abandoned on the streets of New Delhi. She was grateful for her life and the opportunities her adoptive family had given her. She wanted everyone to have the opportunities she felt blessed to receive. Had I not asked questions, I would have missed connecting with a phenomenal woman who was a double-major in college and wanted to be a lawyer.

  2. A family member asked me to refrain from talking about politics...which as a political advocate is a large part of my life. My feelings were hurt! When I asked for more information, I learned that my family had two concerns. They believed we would disagree AND they felt ill-prepared to talk with me about my work or politics in general because my depth of knowledge was greater than theirs. So basically,  they thought it would be an unfair fight to talk about politics. Who would want that? I offered instead to be a resource for them...someone they could call to get information. No discomfort or fighting!  (Now we tease each other about shopping--or not--at Walmart!)

  3. During a Living Room Conversation on criminal justice, I learned about the “criminal lifestyle.” A formerly incarcerated man shared his experience of choosing different life than the criminal lifestyle...and how that meant leaving behind his entire life…all family and friends, to start over. A single person, his pastor, believed in him and supported his new life. My compassion for the incredible challenges people face coming out of prison increased dramatically.


Engage your superpowers and share your stories with us.  (The Superpower of Respect was featured in March 2015.)

Showing 6 reactions

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  • commented 2015-10-08 08:44:15 -0400
    What a gentle, thoughtful comment, Wendy Gough. I so appreciated it.
  • commented 2015-10-08 03:07:46 -0400
    I am presently working on a one act of kindness mission. And it is simply that…doing one act or more of kindness a day. To enrich my life and others. Nothing forced…just simple nice things. And I am trying to share more information about my views with out arguing. That’s what brought me here. All the unrest and sadness and people being so afraid of every thing. I love America and I want it to be Strong and Vibrant with people that care about this country and the people of all colors in it. I’m still struggling to find my way but one thing I know….The politics on Facebook was killing me slowly. I am learning to share my thoughts and ask questions. I am learning how to agree to disagree…baby steps. And I am learning how to not be afraid of every thing. We all need to come together…wishful thinking I know…but maybe, just maybe we all might stand together one day and love America together no matter who we are, and what our politics are.
  • commented 2015-10-06 20:05:07 -0400
    John Backman… thanks!
  • commented 2015-10-06 20:04:22 -0400
    Hi Tom,
    Mostly, my point is that I LISTENED to people to understand what made them tick. We are in agreement that the defunding of mental institutions had a huge unintended consequence on our criminal justice system… and it’s 66% of our incarcerated populations that have some sort of mental illness and need treatment. In talking with probation officers and counselors, ALL inmates had some sort of childhood trauma. What are we doing about that? I learned this new information and widened my worldview through meeting people with my Superpower of Curiosity, instead of my soapbox.

    I think approaching people with curiosity instead of my own viewpoint is a philosophical principle. :)
  • commented 2015-10-06 19:38:30 -0400
    I am confused about what you learned with your, “superpower of curiosity”
    —-been born blind and (“AS A RESULT’), was abandoned on the streets of New Delhi. She was grateful for her life and the opportunities her adoptive family had given her. She wanted everyone to have the opportunities she felt blessed to receive. Had you not asked questions, you would have missed connecting with a phenomenal woman who was a double-major in college and wanted to be a lawyer. I am glad you enjoyed the conversation but I feel there are many examples of situations like hers.
    My question is what philosophical principal did you learn with your superpower of curiosity or there none?
    Maybe you didn’t realize that there are many such phenomenal people experiencing comparable scenarios and even more astounding. You don’t need to look to the Syrian doctor and lawyer refugees. Just look at the homeless mentally ill or even college mentally ill in our own United States. Now that the copy-cat syndrome of mass murder has started, how long will it take for our government to reverse the 1980’s federal defunding of state mental intuitions
    (”State Hospitals"/ “Insane Asylums”) Ken Kesey’s book, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) did a terrible disservice to our country by only showing the worst and most hideous examples of what was not typical of those institutions. I worked in those institutions for eight years, four years in NM + four years in NH. They had, “phenomenal”, people that gave good quality and productive lives to well over 90% of the intuition’s residents. Those state institutions had thousands of patients in self supporting facilities that were as big as many cities. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest became a movie. The novel was first adapted into a Broadway play in 1963, then the novel became the 1975 movie which won five Academy Awards. Time Magazine rated it, “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005”. Such popularity made it easier for our government to balance the budget in the 1980’s by federally defunding state mental intuitions. Now the privatized county jails are making money by incrassating more than 50% of their inmates who are mentally ill. They medicate them so they are easy to manage. Then when their time has been served, one minute after midnight, they are released into the dark. Sometimes with no medication; sometimes with three days worth that they can do what they want with, unsupervised. People are killed, not surprisingly, but it is good business. They are returned to the privatized jails where business continues on as usual. Someone like Ken Kesey should write about that but with documented facts. Nobody would believe it though.
    During your Living Room Conversation on criminal justice, you learned about the “criminal lifestyle.” A formerly incarcerated man who shared his experience of choosing different life than the criminal lifestyle.
    If your compassion for the incredible challenges people face coming out of prison – truly did increase dramatically, please ask him if what I have relayed to you is true or not.
    Sorry, only so much time to shoot in the dark to hope for hitting the target.
    Respectfully yours,
    T.O.M.
    (Tough Old Man)
  • commented 2015-10-06 08:26:26 -0400
    An old adman taught me the incredible value of curiosity, and I’ve been banging on about it ever since. I love the way it practically drags you across divides, because you just can’t resist finding out about the other person, opinion, or what have you. Great stuff, Debilyn.

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