This is a guest blog post by Pamela A. Scott
Isn’t she adorable? Take a moment to ponder what this little lady is up to. Do you suppose she wonders what things look like upside-down—even if she’s never heard the term? Or maybe she’s thinking about trying a headstand she saw in a yoga class? Unlikely. Or maybe she’s just curious about her world.
Have you ever just sat and watched what a baby does, apart from the eat-sleep-poop routine? We have a new little person in our family, and it amazes me how much she is teaching us through her curiosity about this new world she came into.
She stares at things that are new to her. She is a sponge, soaking up every tidbit of information that is now being stored in her baby brain. She grabs hold of a rattle and explores every inch of it with her eyes, her fingers, and her mouth, of course.
Are you curious about the world you live in? Or have you had curiosity drummed out of your head, as one client of mine opined. He said, “We take these very bright college grads who are curious and eager to learn, then we beat them down, so they conform to our ways.” Curiosity goes out the window.
Curiosity is critical to success.
“I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.” ~ Albert Einstein
If it worked for Einstein, it will probably work for you. Here are some great articles that will help your curiosity grow and make you more interesting to others.
Andrew Barry, head of CuriousLionLearning.com, has spent quite a bit of time studying what curiosity is, why we use it or don’t, and how we can use curiosity to grow ourselves and understand others.
I chose this headline from his blog because it gets right to the reason for being curious. Curiosity helps you grow. But before you can grow, you need to get rid of some of the barriers to you being curious. Barry’s list includes:
- Fear of Chaos
- The Blame Game
- Efficiency Over Exploration
- Disconnect Between Learning and Working
If any of those sound familiar to you, check out his blog. Pick one topic to work on. Make some progress. Then turn to his section on how to cultivate curiosity at work.
Ways to Develop Curiosity
Author Daniel Wallen offers his ideas about how to work on creativity. See if this one resonates for you.
Here we are in the summer, and invariably a child of whining-age will moan and utter “I’m bored.” “Mom/Dad/anyone who is within hearing distance—I’m bored.”
What a great time to turn boredom into something fun and interesting. As a kid, my brother and I always tried to catch fireflies in the summer. We were fascinated that we could look at this strange insect up close in our pickle jar. We pummeled our parents with, “Why do fireflies light up? How do they do that? Do the lights burn?” and so much more. That is curiosity at its best. And it’s definitely not boring.
And, of course, we always let the fireflies go. I like to think they traveled on to create curiosity in other kids.
Dr. Diane Hamilton has studied and written about curiosity for decades. In this article, she shares questions you can ask yourself to overcome your fear of speaking out. For example:
- Do you fear you might look underprepared when you’re going into a meeting?
- Do you avoid asking questions that you think will make you look stupid?
Then she provides tips to help you pique your curiosity. The very best tip is one I’ve been preaching for years with my clients:
- Ask questions! That is one of the smartest things you can do to get smarter.
For more ideas, check out MentorLoft’s (my website) tips for asking questions.
To wrap up, let’s turn back to Einstein for guidance: “Don’t think about why you question. Simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Try to comprehend a little more each day.” Like the little lady in the picture. Get curious!
About the Author
Pamela A. Scott is an executive coach and founder of MentorLoft, a coaching firm that works with CEOs and execs to prepare their Next Gen leaders to run their company. Pamela specializes in coaching engineers and CEOs of professional service firms. For more information, visit www.mentorloft.com.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on the power of curiosity and how you develop a curious mind to achieve success.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP