I am a curious person. I like to learn new things, understand, synthesize. Not just certain kinds of things, all kinds of things. Things that involve nature; geology; the climate; people – past and present; tornados, by which I am both fascinated and terrified given my 40-year residency as a mid-westerner; hybrid cars; what people are thinking and feeling; motivation; systems; human behavior; music. You know, the small stuff. I am especially curious about the way things work, interconnect, and have impact. Of course, this naturally leads to how to create better solutions that interconnect more effectively and produce more desirable outcomes. I cannot be helpful or useful or innovative without first understanding. And, for me, this understanding begins with curiosity. Curiosity is the catalyst.
A few years ago, I read a Fast Company article about curiosity. It was titled, The 8 Habits of Curious People. As a curious person, this title naturally piqued my interest. The article starts out by saying we are born curious. I know I certainly was. I know many others who were, too. The unfortunate part, as the writer points out, is that we lose this curiosity as we get older, starting as early as school-age, where answers start becoming valued over questions. This is unfortunate, because curiosity is such a necessary ingredient for success in our current technological era and is integral to our ability to innovate. Curiosity is the spark from which our ideas, creativity, and ingenuity originate.
I would even submit that a lack of curiosity doesn’t just limit our ability to successfully navigate our current economic and historical era, but restricts how effectively we understand and communicate with one another – even interfering with our capacity to develop authentic connections with people. And, empathy. Let’s not forget empathy. Honestly, for me, curiosity without empathy is one-dimensional, hollow, and can be objectifying. But I digress, we can save these topics for another post. The bottom line – curiosity is the key.
If we are to reverse this looming scarcity of curiosity, we must teach ourselves how to be curious again. The article goes on to share a listicle of habits in which curious people engage and that readers can use to help regenerate an inquisitive spirit. I found these to be both interesting and helpful. They include: listening without judgement, asking lots of questions, seeking surprise, being fully present, a willingness to be wrong, making time to be curious, an ability to say they don’t know, and not letting past hurts and experiences dictate the future. These are all good practices even beyond restoring our curiosity vibe.
I am relatively proficient at some of these practices, but others need work – serious work. Feeling inspired, I am going to recommit myself to creating intentional space for practicing some of these habits in the weeks and months to come as a means for tapping into a more imaginative and inventive aspect of myself; increasing my understanding of the system challenges I am trying to tackle in my work; producing more meaningful solutions; and, being more present, perceptive, and open to my environment and what people are doing and saying around me.
There are a lot of materials available on the topic of curiosity but here is a link to the Fast Company article I refer to in this blog post.
Thanks for reading!