Ever have a conversation with a 4-year old that quickly turned into a barrage of “Why” questions? You know…Why do birds have feathers? Why do they build nests? Why are they different colors? Why do birds have different songs? Why do some birds sing at night when I have to go to bed? And so on and so on…
So why do so many of us lose that sense of wonder – that sense of curiosity as we grow up? Based on the vast research conducted by behaviorists, we know curiosity is a learned behavior that grows with careful nurturing. When we neglect to nurture and encourage what is basically intrinsic to human development – it languishes.
I believe curiosity is at the heart of resilience, adaptability, and our ability to manage conflict, sadness and even shame. Curiosity feeds empathy. Curiosity is the soul of innovation and problem solving. Curiosity belongs to someone who seeks experience and knowledge. Someone open to the uncertainties of change because it’s a chance to learn.
So why is curiosity important to our personal and professional lives? Curiosity…
Ensures we don’t limit ourselves by looking for answers that simply confirm our assumptions. It challenges and tests limits. It drives better decision-making.
Avoids judgement because the learning process is all about exploration and openness.
Builds stronger cultures – whether at work or within family units – because the very act of inquiry allows us to stand in each other’s shoes and seek to understand diverse ideas.
Opens up conversations in search of the best solutions.
Increases employee satisfaction and improves productivity.
Is results-oriented and collaborative.
Develops personal and organizational capacity to understand and lead change.
Encourages meaningful engagement.
Through our curiosity we gain the capacity to embrace the constant unpredictability of change AND prepare ourselves to deeply lead and engage as a participant in the future.
Over the next week, ask yourself,
“What can I be curious about?”
And then boldly follow the path it shows you.
Be that 4-year old again and again. Learn. Seek to understand. Keep asking “why” until you get to the true root of the issue. Be bold. Be courageous. Become the explorer you were always meant to be.