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I’ve been thinking lately about the power of curiosity. It began with a reflection on Tiger Woods’ recent accident and a curiosity about whether or not he will be able to make a comeback. Nobody knows what the outcome of his recovery will be at this moment. However, I do know one thing; the most fundamental attribute of what empowers someone to make a comeback. It’s not what you may think.

While a fighting spirit, positive outlook, emotional support, belief, and purpose for living are all important ingredients, there is an even more underlying trait that makes the seeming impossible become possible. In my opinion, it is the power of curiosity.

I remember listening to Tiger talk about his recovery from his most serious back surgery. No one, not even he, knew if he could swing a golf club again

“I had to see what I could do,” he said.

The power of curiosity was what enabled him to push through the pain to find his potential.

That’s the nature of a true champion. According to Dr. Michael Gervais, who is a performance coach, a champion is someone who isn’t afraid to push to the edge of his or her emotional-mental instability.

It’s at the edge, even if that edge is trying one swing of a club—just to see what you could do. As such, his stunning comeback with a 2019 Masters win at the most fundamental level, started with a curiosity.

Many years ago, I attended a geriatrics conference at Duke University. A workshop speaker addressed the most essential traits of longevity. The expert stated that the No. 1 factor for longevity was curiosity, the ability to hold a wonder about life, a continuous openness to learning and discovery.

I went to the conference in search of some answers for my mother who was in the final leg of her life. Thinking that I only had a few months left with her, she continued to surprise me. After one of her numerous stints in the hospital, I thought, “This is it.” Within a month’s time, she was walking again on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. I was stunned at her comeback.

A few minutes after she finished her walk, we noticed a dead whale that had washed up on the shore. She mustered up enough strength to walk on the sand to go check it out. The beach authorities had been called to remove the whale. It was so big that it had to cut the whale into pieces to remove it from the shoreline.

They were using big knives to do the job. Mom stood back, examined the situation for a few minutes, and then strutted over to the head whale-chopper.

“Ma’am, it would be a whole lot easier to use an electric chain-saw to get the job done,” Mom said, pleased with her more efficient assessment of the job.

“Ma’am,” the lady in charge replied, “If we did that, we’d all be electrocuted!”

Walking away from the scene, Mom exclaimed in a moment of total wonder. She was mesmerized at her discovery.

Walking away from the scene, Mom exclaimed in a moment of total wonder, “Wow! I’ve never seen a whale in my entire life!” She was mesmerized at her discovery.

“That’s it,” I remarked to myself. “Even at 90 years old, Mom still has a wonder about life. You go girl!”

It’s the power of curiosity to test solutions that made Netflix co-founder, Marc Randolf, a success. In an Ed Mylett interview, he shared some fascinating insights on entrepreneurship:

“I don’t fall in love with the idea. I fall in love with the problem because the problem is always there. Each time an idea fails, who cares? It’s just an idea and I’ve learned something from the idea. Each failure is a jumping off point to more exploration. Even if something goes totally wrong, at least now I can cross those things off the list and I’ve narrowed down the possible approaches I have that actually might work. This is fundamentally why I’m so excited I got to spend my entire life as an entrepreneur.”

What about you? Have you stopped being curious about life? Has COVID shrunk the curiosity out of you? Have you wondered what is on the other side of your life squeezed-narrow? Wherever you are in the development of your potential as an athlete making a comeback, a senior citizen seeking longevity, or a budding entrepreneur wanting to make it, invoke the power of curiosity in your life. It worked for Tiger, Mom, and Marc Randolf.

Just curious. I wonder how well it will work for you!

Join me at the Pine Crest Inn Tuesday, March 9th, anytime from 8 to 9 a.m. for a cup of coffee and conversation. I’ll be in town for the week and would love to meet and greet my readers. I’ll have a few books on hand, too, if you’d like to learn more about The Champion’s Way.

To RSVP for coffee at the Pine Crest, email Veronica at veronicakaraman@gmail.com.

Veronica Karaman is a performance coach, speaker, author, and professional golfer. Contact her at truechampionacademy.com. The Champion’s Way: Core Foundations for Achieving Peak Performance in Sports and Life book is available on Amazon.com.

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