“We are raising a generation that has a woefully small stock of ideas and interests and emotions. It must be amused at all costs, but it has little skill in amusing itself. It pays some of its members to do what the majority can no longer do for themselves. It is this inner poverty that makes for the worst kind of boredom” (Robert J. McCracken).
WHICH CONCEPT IS MORE APPEALING TO YOU: BEING “INTERESTING” OR BEING “INTERESTED”? Would you rather people find you interesting or you find life interesting? Most people, it seems, prefer the former: they want to be interesting to other people. But today, let’s consider the value of being interested. Let’s look at interest in the world around us as a good character trait.
As Robert J. McCracken points out, the trend today is toward hiring others to interest us. We call them “entertainers.” There have always been entertainers, obviously, but think how many more there are today than ever before. Is this not an indication that we are less capable of entertaining ourselves? Has it come to the point where we have so little personal interest in the world around us that we have to employ professionals to interest, amuse, and entertain us?
There is much to be said for becoming an interested person, one who takes the initiative to be interested in what is around him. This is true even with respect to our work. As George C. Hubbs said, “You may know for a certainty that if your work is becoming uninteresting, so are you; for work is an inanimate thing and can be made lively and interesting only by injecting yourself into it. Your job is only as big as you are.” And as it is with our work, so it is with life in general — interested people find the world to be a fascinating place.
So here is some old-fashioned advice: “To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life” (William Louden). In the end, how interesting we find the world is determined by a fundamental choice that we make — the choice to go out and engage life inquisitively!
“[I] ask myself what God is saying through that star that I am looking at, through this friend who is speaking to me, through this difficulty that is holding me up, or through this trouble that befalls me. Once awake to this way of thinking, one discovers the true savor of life. Everything becomes throbbing with interest” (Paul Tournier).