Strengths and Wonder


October 28, 2015

Does wonder have a place in our day and age in our society?

If it does have a place, what is its purpose?  And, is it only reserved for some—that is, are only certain among us supposed to wonder?  Do we live in a culture where we are supposed to have an answer for everything?

While that might be interesting to ponder, for the sake of discussion, let’s say that, one, wonder does have its place in today’s world and that, two, anyone and everyone is allowed to wonder.

Which leaves us with this: What is the purpose of wonder, then?  And, has its purpose changed over time?

It seems reasonable that feelings of amazement and awe might serve a biological purpose.  After all, isn’t wonder a type of curiosity and doesn’t curiosity prompt exploration and experimentation—and aren’t those the two main drivers behind evolution?

We didn’t advance as a species by staying put and doing things the way they’ve always been done.  Could wonder be behind it all?

Imagine a time before technology, a time when nature may have relied on our sense of admiration to ensure that we—and all beings—intermingle and interact and evolve.  Without stopping to admire the flowers, would we really have remembered where the fruit trees were—seeing as they bloom just before the ripe season?  Without wonder would we have any ability to question, prepare, and adapt in new landscapes, inner and outer?

More than that, if necessity is the other of invention, isn’t wonderment the mother of innovation?  That is, aren’t new methodologies born out of a single question, “I wonder if…”

But, back to the main idea, what is its purpose today—and has it shifted over time?

We have smart devices now that can answer almost any question, it’s true.  Which might mean that we do, indeed, still wonder…but just not for very long.


Maybe technology actually allows for us to wonder more.  Maybe our phones encourage us to ask questions about our world and all that is contained in the cosmos.  Maybe the fact that we have answers readily available actually makes it convenient to wonder—who hasn’t gone down a rabbithole online, one where we start out researching a definition and (three hours later) find ourselves watching penguin videos on YouTube.

Like linking from one website to another, when it comes to that which engages our unique sense of wonder, one impulse leads to the next.  And, there is not right way or wrong way to do it.  We are each curious about different things for different reasons and we express that awe in different ways.

This is especially easy to observe from a strengths perspective.  The strengths remind us that there are, at minimum, 34 approaches to any situation.  Because we each have a specific profile of what we do best, we each have a particular style for interacting with the world.  What is a obstacle to one person is an opportunity to another.  Because of that fact, very rarely is there only one solution to any challenge or only one way to thrive.

If we can keep this perspective in mind, we can likely grow in our understanding of how dynamic the world around us is and see that it is literally abuzz with potential and growth.

What do we wonder about?  Has our sense of wonder changed over time?  What makes us stop and stare in awe and admiration?  How do we encourage new types of thinking and problem solving in our lives and in the world around us?  Do we have a situation in our lives that could use some outside perspective?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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