“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas
as in escaping from the old ones.”
Economist Maynard Keynes
One definition of curiosity is ‘A strong desire to know or learn something.’ Sounds good right, and sounds like something that most educational institutions and organizations would support. That is unfortunately not always the case, on the contrary! Yet leaving the discussion of the how and why of this unfortunate situation for some other time, I will say that curiosity is stifled in many ways. It is stifled in subtle and brash ways, directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally, and in many other ways. If only they and we would live according to Voltaire’s wisdom:
“Judge a man by his questions, rather than his answers.”
French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire
If you wish to sign up for more curiosity, please do realize what you ask for. My coaching and workshop clients can be quick to say ‘Yes, of course I value curiosity.’ Yet curiosity has it’s challenges. So here’s my view on what it takes to cultivate and leverage your own and other people’s curiosity.
If you want to cultivate curiosity, you have to be willing and ready
to be inquisitive.
to postpone judgment.
to shut up a little longer.
to ask and listen a little more.
to appreciate different perspectives.
to embrace ambiguity and the unknown.
to admit you don’t know it all or know it best.
to not see someone else’s curiosity as test or criticism.
to let others be heard, take the spotlight, and get credit.
to distance yourself from some of your long-held assumptions.
to let others explore, discover, experiment, and make mistakes.
Are you willing? Are you ready?
I’d like to remind you of Albert Einstein’s wise words: “The important thing is to not stop questioning.”