“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
When do you think it is that curiosity starts to fade away? I love watching children play, particularly outside. Their unbridled fascination for the world is infectious. I think one of the surprising things for me in having children was rediscovering the world through their eyes. It is curiosity that leads to a child taking apart your favourite clock or gadget to see what makes it work. Unfortunately, they may not be able to put it back together again!
It is a little while since I was at school. One thing that does come to mind as I write this is what my Economics teacher said about getting a job in your mid-40s. The view at the time seemed to be that you were harder to retrain after the age of 45. If I was in that class now, I would take issue with that, as it is my experience that learning continues for as long as you are curious to find out more.
How curious are you? I think you can learn at any stage of your life, but sometimes our enthusiasm for learning fades along the way. Ironically, we have more information at our finger-tips than ever before. If we don’t know how to do something the answer is to “google it.” I want to encourage you to develop your curiosity. If you knew you could not fail what would you attempt to learn? The truth is that whatever we feed, expands. As we feed our mind our world expands, and we become aware of new possibilities.
Curiosity does require a certain way of viewing the world. I can recall at around the age of 16 thinking that I knew everything and that my parents did not. Since then, I have become very aware of how much I don’t know. There is so much out there. To remain curious, to be about continuous learning throughout my whole life, requires me to acknowledge that I don’t know it all. In leadership this drives me to continue reading, and to keep up with new thinking so I can continue to be the best leader I can be.
Beyond all of this, curiosity helps us to develop relationships and connections with people faster. If we accept the axiom that together everyone achieves more (TEAM) then we must develop skills in forming relationships. We often make the mistake of thinking that a new connection is an opportunity for us to tell the other person all about ourselves. As Dale Carnegie said:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Taking a genuine interest in another is a great way to build a relationship. It does require you to counter-intuitively suppress your desire to tell others about yourself. Just be curious about them. When people see that you are interested in them, then it changes the dynamic. In terms of team, it means that we understand who has the strengths and skills needed to take the lead in the various projects that the team is engaged in.
Being curious builds on the character trait I looked at last time, humility. Often, we equate great leadership with being all knowing. The best leaders I know are those who are wise enough to acknowledge that the best leader they can be is to create an environment, where those they lead can bring their best. Being curious means the leader has invested the time to understand what motivates those they lead, what passions, dreams and strengths they have. The result Together Everyone Achieves More.
Photo by Gary Butterfield on Unsplash