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What is Your State of Wonder in 2013?

In 2005, where was wonder, this emotional state at the core of creativity, story, innovation, and wisdom?

Newly divorced and fresh off a book tour, I hovered that year in a precarious in-between state. So what did I do? I started quietly but deliberately tracking wonder. I thought I would find it chiefly among poets and mystics, cave art and Chinese shamanism, Kashmir Shaivism and the past.

At the time, wonder was hard to find in the present. 

After all, personal circumstances aside, in 2005, few people had heard of Martin Seligman and positive psychology as well as Tim Johnson and cognitive science as intelligent antidotes to “positive thinking” or Freudian neuroses.

In 2005, few people had heard of TED Talks because they weren’t yet offered for free online, and no one had heard of Salman Khan and his disruptive academy.

In 2005, neuroscientists were still making fairly recent advances not only in their findings in neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and brain imagining but also in their community’s own admissions of what the human brain was capable of.

In 2005, amidst political turmoil and seeming economic stability, people were still borrowing on a bright future.

In 2005, talk of creativity’s preeminent importance in our world had been sidelined.

300-400 years ago, scientists and philosophers and religious thinkers debated and wrote volumes on the role wonder should or should not play in human and scientific endeavors.

But in 2005, the only thinkers writing directly about wonder seemed to bemoan its absence in science, religion, and higher education.

In other words, in 2005 the state of wonder seemed, well, fairly endangered.

Yet, I kept my eye and ear on the poets and musicians and artists, and I also turned an eye and ear toward entrepreneurseducators, and CEOs. And in so doing eventually founded Tracking Wonder Consulting & Programs.

Thousands of people have since tracked it with me and have downloaded our two Tracking Wonder handbooks (see sidebar on the right).

In the past year alone, I have tracked wonder amidst and with scientists and installation artists as well as among teachers and coaches, authors and thought leaders, NPO presidents and administrators, designers and publication teams.

And I have tracked it in my own business and creative endeavors, and, yes, as well as in being a husband, papa, son, and friend.


I’m curious what this comparison of 2005 to 2013 brings up for you. Where have you found wonder in your journey – the personal and the professional one? Where and in whom have you seen wonder alive and kicking in the world?

Thanks as always for running with me,


Stay tuned for the State of Wonder Annual Dispatch.
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