My daughter Ally was evaluated last week for pre-Kindegarten. One of the things noted is that she’s curious. “Isn’t every child curious?,” I asked. “No, your child is very curious for age. Keep encouraging that.” I’ve been reflecting on this. Indeed, curiosity gets me more curious! It gets me thinking. That’s not a bad thing, since I’m naturally more expressive.
So I thought … How has curiosity shaped man? our world?
- Neil Armstrong landed on the moon because of curiosity. It took a whole nation of people and leadership to build a spacecraft and a program that led to decades of space exploration. Our curiosity as mankind is what drove that forward.
- Milton Hershey was curious. He failed numerous times before perfecting his gift of chocolate and became the largest manufacturer of candy in the world.
- Steve Jobs was ridiculously curious and obsessed with the customer. His numerous contributions the digital revolution drove massive change in how we work, connect and live.
What has my curiosity journey been like?
- I’ve always been an energetic curious being, however struggled expressing those ideas into things that others could easily understand, especially as a kid and early in my career. The other night I was re-reading some of my early performance reviews. “Intelligent. Motivated. Very energetic and needs to manage her energy. Sometimes doesn’t seem focused. Needs to pay attention to the task at hand.”
What have I learned?
- It’s human nature for us to make assumptions when things happen. We react. We make judgements. Curiosity is a powerful way to diffuse emotion and understand where people are coming from on a deeper level.
- Life events shape your curiosity and put you to the test. When I became a wife, a mother and began to lead large diverse teams, my curiosity skill stepped up to a whole new level. “What do you mean by that, honey?” “Ally, can you show me?” “I’m not sure I understand…can you show me what success looks like?”. Asking questions alone brought me to a whole new level.
- I learned that you have to know when and how and with whom you can express your curiosity. People can misunderstand you when you openly put your ideas on the table without any context. You also have to make sure you are “in the room” with people and bring them along. Curiosity and ideas without bridges are useless.
The future belongs to the curious. What are you doing to develop your curiosity? and others?