The Difference Between Distractions and Reflector Curiosity

human design inconsistency open centers reflector type May 26, 2024

When someone says that Reflectors are inconsistent, it's usually not coming as a compliment. Despite this, it's a Reflector's nature to be "inconsistent" for a really good reason, and you'll often hear us discuss this attribute using the word "curious".


In my everyday conversations with Reflectors, there seems to be an added layer of confusion (or maybe distaste) around curiosity, especially when it shows up looking like a common distraction. Being a Reflector is nuanced enough without the extra confusion, so this blog post is diving into the differences between plain ol' distraction and magical Reflector curiosity.


Why is a distinction even important?
The short answer is this: language matters. The more nuanced explanation is that being distracted and being curious are two entirely separate states. One of them takes you away from what's important, while the other weaves your experience in alignment with your life's purpose, even if you don't see it as such right away. One uses your time, the other makes use of your time.


The role of curiosity for Reflectors
One look at your Human Design chart and you'll see all nine centres are undefined. This means you experience the abilities of each one in a fluid way, rather than having a fixed expression. For example, someone with a defined Solar Plexus centre will have a pretty consistent way of feeling their emotions, whereas a Reflector will not. Your openness in all these centres is actually really important for supporting you as you morph into various versions of yourself. It's what allows you to feel excited about a new vacation spot that a coworker mentioned, even though you've never even heard of the place.


At first glance, being interested in something trivial like this might seem frivolous but you never know when or where that knowledge will come in handy. It's in unsuspecting times that Reflectors are able to make intense connections with others, building trust and rapport, so we can reflect back to those people in a way that resonates with them. Your curiosity makes you multi-faceted. Have you ever been to a party and been trapped talking to someone who had nothing interesting to chat about? Reflectors are never boring to other people because we've picked up these random insights along the way, almost like we're collecting clues to solve a puzzle we haven't yet been given.


Of course the direction your curiosity takes you will almost never make sense in the moment, but that's exactly why you need to see the value in encouraging your own curiosity to take the lead. Some day you'll be able to look back and say "Aha! That's why I was so interested in lucid dreaming!".


How to tell a distraction from curiosity
If you've ever found yourself at the end of the day with nothing to show for it and wondering how the hours slipped through your fingers, chances are you've been distracted. On the other hand, if you've bounced around to a few different things and are left feeling satisfied, then it's most likely curiosity.

Here are a few ways to help identify true curiosity and its imposter, distraction.

Look for patterns: Curiosity doesn't follow any particular pattern. You may get an idea in the shower or on your morning walk when your mind is at ease and free to wander. Distractions show up in response to an intended action or behaviour. If you look closely, you'll find that you're only really interested in your phone or cleaning the kitchen (that's a big one for me!) when you intend to do something else. The distraction is a response that tries to keep you in your comfort zone by pulling you away from progress.


Timing: Distractions are instant and often come with a sense of urgency, whereas curiosity is way more mellow. That's because your curiosity builds and plays with the feelings in your body. At some point it'll be too compelling to ignore but curiosity doesn't operate in a use-it-or-lose-it way. Distractions have urgency because they're trying to overshadow a more important task or undertaking, all in an effort to keep you stuck and out of alignment.


Intensity: Distractions are more habitual, like checking your phone when you're bored. It's an automatic and fleeting reaction to soothe an unpleasant (or anticipated unpleasant) feeling. They pull you away from focus and cut your attention span way down. If you've ever sat at your computer wanting to concentrate on a task, only to check your email, scroll social media, log into your banking, or go to the kitchen for a glass of water, it's a distraction. You can do without all of those things for a short while, so do yourself a favour and commit to staying put when a focus session is needed.


Curiosity however, will push you towards something on an ongoing basis, even if it only lasts a day or a week. The feeling of curiosity usually aligns with the Reflector theme of surprise, and you may find yourself thinking something like "Oh, I wonder how that works" or "I need to know more about this". There is much less urgency to curiosity than there is for a distraction.

Result: After you've been distracted you may find yourself upset or disappointed because you didn't accomplish what you set out to do. This isn't about being attached to "doing" behaviours or trying to keep up with the pace of a Generator. Even relaxation can be ruined by distractions! Distractions keep you from living in alignment with your design and your purpose. Of course you'll feel disappointed, since it's your notification that the activity isn't serving you.


When you allow yourself to follow curiosity though, it almost always feels deeply satisfying, even if you have no idea why that particular thing caught your interest. The child-like wonder that compels you to keep playing with whatever's interesting to you is your sign that it's actually in alignment with your purpose, so keep at it.


Want a fun way to capture your curiosity and distractions?

Keep a piece of paper and a pen beside your computer, and as you execute some focused activity, jot down anything that pops into your mind along the way. Pen and paper are really important here. If you try this with your phone, you'll end up looking at other stuff on there, which defeats the whole purpose. Writing your distractions and curiosities as you go will let you see what's really coming up, without you needing to take action on anything. As you get used to doing this, you'll notice how often you feel the urgent need to pick up your phone, or whatever your distraction of choice is.


Bringing awareness to these patterns puts you in the driver's seat and gives you the power to then do something about it. If I'm intending to write a blog post, my phone is out of reach because if it's nearby I will feel pulled out of my focused state. A small piece of paper and pen are on my desk ready to capture whatever my curiosity brings but I won't take any action until I've finished what I started. Give it a try and see how this changes your "inconsistency".



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