Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.
– William Arthur Ward
Everyone possesses curiosity to some degree, although people will differ according to the depth and strength of their curiosity and their willingness to act on it.
The urge to explore can help you to remain vigilant and gather knowledge about the constantly changing environment you live in. It can also help you to survive, which is perhaps why your brain has evolved to release dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when you encounter new things.
Curious people rarely find life boring because there is always something new to explore and discover. Any event can be turned into something fascinating by sharpening your observation and giving your attention to something you would normally miss.
In any business context it is important that you keep exploring new ways of doing things so that you can keep ahead of the game and innovate when necessary. Refreshing the way you do things will help you to be more agile and ultimately work smarter by letting go of irrelevant habits.
So what are the key benefits of having a curious mind?
Build better brain health
Curiosity helps your mind to be more active instead of passive. The mind is a muscle and the more exercise it gets the stronger it will become. Various studies have shown that keeping your brain active and alert can be very helpful as well in later life.
Improve your overall intelligence
Curiosity is the engine of intellectual achievement and those who are more interested in a topic will learn faster and prime the brain better for learning. Curiosity is associated with high performance in both academic and work settings. There is evidence to suggest that the more you learn, the more you want to learn.
Cultivate better relationships
Curiosity can help you to be more empathetic in your relationships because you are making an effort to really find out about someone else by questioning rather than just taking everything at face value. In turn this helps you to listen, understand and care more deeply about how others feel and behave which will have a positive impact on your relationships with other people.
Curious minds are active minds, and active minds become smart minds. Curiosity is associated with intelligence, creativity and problem-solving ability. Curiosity will help you to seek out interesting and creative environments and be open to exploring new ideas and possibilities.
How can you be more curious?
You can always learn to be more curious and here are a three top tips to help you:
1. Cultivate a growth mind-set
Throughout your life you will collect a range of information and build a set of values and beliefs, which are important to you. You can however; if you are not careful, end up with a fixed mind-set. It is important to challenge yourself and be open to new experiences and to always remember that you are a person in progress and that you never stop learning and growing which is the most exciting part of being alive.
2. Ask questions
Questions are the keys to unlocking a whole trove of exciting treasures. Great open questions to ask are: How, who, what, when, where and the best one of all…why? It is also important to question the answers. It can be amazing what you can unearth when you probe a little deeper than the superficial first layer of small talk.
3. Feel the fear and be curious anyway
Sometimes you may avoid being curious because you fear what you could discover. However there are so many missed opportunities that can go by the wayside because you fail to explore further. This in turn can lead you to getting stuck in a rut and then life can become mundane and boring. Being optimistic and approaching every situation with the intention of discovering something useful can help you to live a more fulfilling, interesting and rewarding life.
Adopting a curious mind-set can indeed bring about a multitude of personal benefits. Also, in a world where agility and innovation is key to gaining a competitive edge, curiosity is fast becoming a business imperative.
Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.
– Samuel Johnson
Liggy Webb will be at The World of Learning on 16/17th October 2018.
Please do visit The Agilty Zone on Stand 170 to collect a complimentary copy of the bite sized book of Behavioral Agility – How to thrive in a sea of change or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Liggy is also the founding director of The Learning Architect, an international consortium of behavioural skills specialists. She is recognised as a thought leader on resilience and is regularly asked to be a keynote speaker across private and public sector.