Michael Baer's Stratecution Stories

"Strategy is overrated. We have a strategic plan. It's called doing things". – Herb Kelleher

Curiosity Kills No Cats – A case for the importance of being curious

For some reason, “curiosity” has developed a bad name. To call something curious is to call it an oddity. It’s something peculiar, that can’t, or shouldn’t be, explained. Curiosity kills cats, for god sakes!

But, in actuality, curiosity is a very good thing. It’s the special sauce that sparks innovation and turns good into great. It drives learning, creativity and a full life.  It’s anything but a killer.

A child is naturally curious. Who hasn’t been with a 3-year old who says “why?” every 2 seconds? Or who opens and closes the car window, on-and-off, endlessly, for an entire hour-long drive? Sure, it’s annoying, but it’s how they learn about the world. But for some reason, the world trains us to stop asking “why?”.  Well, as Einstein said, you should “never lose a holy curiosity”.  Here’s why you should never stop being curious.

You’ll find the “why?” behind the “what?”
Curious people don’t take things as a given. And neither should you.  If you accepted everything people said without digging deeper, you’d never find the truth or uncover any insights. And just because something seems obvious doesn’t mean it’s true. So, never take a brief that’s handed to you for granted.  Ask “why?” like a 3-year-old. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.

You’ll always be learning
Being curious causes exploration and learning. You will be continuously steering yourself into unknown and uncharted waters, providing yourself new experiences and discoveries – resulting in a ton more knowledge. Think of yourself as a modern-day Magellan – and constantly be seeking new worlds and new experiences. And, once in a while, you’ll find some.

You’ll uncover new
Being curious, you’ll be open to new ideas, new thoughts, new experiences. In fact, when you’re curious about something, your mind actually expects new ideas to come from it. This open-ness to the “new” is critical in order to uncover it, recognize it, and take advantage of it. Which is much better than not being prepared for it and letting it slip by, unnoticed.

Your mind will stay active and exercised
Curious peoples’ minds are always active. They are constantly thinking, asking questions, and digging deeper. Scientists say the mind is like a muscle – thus, it must be made stronger through this continual mental exercise of curiosity. So, as I’ve stated in prior posts, ask  a lot questions.  Wonder “what if?”.  And remain restlessly, steadfastly curious.

Your life will be more full
Being curious makes you open to new possibilities, new experiences, new connections and relationships. You’ll follow new paths, bump into new obstacles, and connect with new people. Your life will be less routine, less monotonous, less normal. Can you handle a curiously strong life? Get out there and be more curious – read more, try more things, play more, network more, and don’t label things as “boring”. But, most importantly, become jazzed by what’s new and different.  As Stephen Hawking said, “Remember to look up at the stars, not down at your feet. Be curious.”

One final note – some organizations have a culture that is adverse to curiosity. There’s a culture of fear, disapproval and a power of “knowing” that puts curiosity on the run. Do your best to maintain your curiosity, even in these situations. Or, better yet, make your way to the exits as fast as you can!

Comments and thoughts, please!

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3 responses to “Curiosity Kills No Cats – A case for the importance of being curious

  1. Pingback: Case 14: Which matters more? How one teaches or how one learns? « Sheila's Blog

  2. Pingback: Why, Oh Why – In praise of the question “why?” « Michael Baer's Stratecution Stories

  3. Pingback: A curious mix of leadership topics - LeadBIG | LeadBIG

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