Curiosity, we are told, killed the cat. Well, I’m not so sure that it did. It seems to me that even if it did get Kitty into a spot of bother, she probably had a much more interesting time than she might otherwise have had. Here are five reasons why:
- The curious mind doesn’t settle for less.
A curious mind will wonder. It will wonder about almost anything. This doesn’t often start as an attempt to challenge the status-quo but is, invariably, where it can end up. Asking ‘why’ something is the way it is or ‘why’ something has always been done a particular way helps us not just to understand a situation. It also opens us to the possibility that things could be done differently. Curiosity helps us reject the ‘but it’s always been done that way’ excuse. It doesn’t allow us to settle for the way things are, the same-old-same-old.
2. It turns us out into the world
Being curious changes our frame of reference. Curiosity demands that we question a situation, it demands that we approach it. This means that we have to ‘come out of our shell’ and travel towards the situation or the question under review. We have to explore the reason that something is the way it is, or why someone feels the way that they do. This relieves us from the burden of having to be the one with all the answers and lets us be an interested enquirer. Relieved of the pressure of having to be the ‘holder of all knowledge’ we can turn outwards, from ourselves, and be open to all kinds of possibilities.
3. It may lead to great discoveries
Of course, being open to all kinds of possibilities can lead to great discoveries. After all, Einstein himself declared that he had no special talents but rather was “passionately curious” and look at what he found out! Being curious lets you dig deeply into things, we can look for reasons but we can also look for reasons-for-reasons. Asking questions can get us to the nub of a problem and it can help us find the root cause of a situation that desperately needs fixing.
4. It gives us permission to try something new
The question ‘why’ is most often associated with curiosity. However curiosity also lets us ask the question ‘what if.’ What if we tried something a little differently: like asked the stakeholder to the planning session, trialled a new program with a focus group or pitched a new idea to the executive? Curiously, the ‘what if’ helps us to innovate but it can also make learning from our mistakes much easier. It is true that if we try and something doesn’t work out then we can take it apart ask ‘why’ things didn’t go to plan. But then, we can also ask ‘what if’ questions to tailor another, probably more successful attempt.
5. It makes the day much brighter
Studies have found curiosity is not only good for business, but that being curious adds colour to your day. Curiosity can make you more engaged at work and in life more general, which has the added benefit of facilitating higher rates of achievement and efficiency. Curiosity has also been shown to give your relationships a boost and to foster a sense of empathy. Add to that a focus on positivity and you can’t help but wonder why anyone would be anything other than curious!