Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why. (Bernard Baruch)
As I watch my two-year old grandson use the laundry basket for a car or try to climb his parents’ stone fireplace, I smile at his curiosity. Curiosity is innate in children. They naturally investigate. As we get older, we somehow lose that natural curiosity. We settle for what we see rather than search for what we don’t see.
The best leaders are curious leaders.
Embracing curiosity and allowing it to flourish will open your eyes and your life to new experiences. As leaders, curiosity builds into our organizations by giving permission to dream of what could be. When leaders create a culture of exploration, they allow natural curiosity to drive discovery.
Curiosity can be cultivated. There are steps we can take to intentionally recognize and develop a character of curiosity within our daily lives. The following steps will help develop the curiosity already within you.
Ask Questions: I have been always a natural questioner. It’s the way I process what the world brings to me. Asking the right questions – the powerful questions –builds curiosity. Never settle for what you see before asking is that all there is. One word of warning – be careful not to become cynical. Curiosity isn’t questioning the motive, it’s looking for added value. Curiosity seeks to understand if there is more to be discovered. If so, let’s go wherever it takes us.
Dare to Dream: Too often, curiosity takes us to a place we might be afraid to go. The unknown seems too big or too great, so we dial it back to a safer place. We stifle the curiosity of what could be. If Steve Jobs had stifled his curiosity, I wouldn’t be writing this blog while sitting in my backyard enjoying the morning. Curiosity fuels the dream. We need to allow that dream to create the vision within us, without limiting its boundaries.
Expand Your Mindset: In her book Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck explains that the difference between high achievers and low achievers lies in mindset. Those with a growth mindset believe that answers can be found and growth achieved through continued development. Embracing growth and as a natural part of our intellectual development creates room for curiosity. Growth minded people are curious people. They keep searching until they find the answer the question being asked.
Curiosity feeds creativity. Creativity fuels innovation. We can only discover if we become curious about the “what if”. Don’t be afraid to climb to the top of the hill – even if it’s just to see what’s at the top.