In Praise of the Incurably Curious

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

The Leadership Café is back! My colleague and co-author Mike Couch and I are now taping Season II of our quest to find great leaders and hear more about their leadership wisdom.

In Season I, we asked our favorite pandemic question to our guests, “Hoping that nothing tragic happened to you or your family during the Pandemic, instead of discussing what the Pandemic did to you, can you share what the Pandemic has done for you?” Most of our guests never considered that side of the question but changing their mindset led to insightful responses that often brought a smile to their face. They become curious of their own life experiences and quickly realize that the last 2 years transformed lives irrevocably. We heard things like:

“We discovered we can work effectively away from home”
“I cherish that time I had with my kids in the middle of the day”
“My team didn’t need me nearly as much as I thought they did.”
“I never knew our organization could adapt so quickly and effectively.”

We’re all over what is not working and while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Changing our mindset is the catholicon of resilience and curiosity is the elixir to better thinking.

We’re continuing that question in Season II with some minor modifications concerning post pandemic challenges and it is all about provoking curiosity.

Fostering curiosity in ourselves is easy to do as it is hardwired into us. We can try out some of these ideas to change that worry into excitement.

  1. Ask ourselves to “be more curious”: Remember as kids we would try something out that literally we never did before. I once tried to leap a creek in a single bound, only to find myself soaked from not making it across. I became more determined, but when I realized, I wasn’t going to make the distance, I discovered the gift of steppingstones. I’ve been using that lesson forever, including in writing of my blogs.
  2. Ask more questions before reaching conclusions” Questions allow us to continue to wonder and ensure we get all the information we need. We can rely on other’s good thoughts to prompt our own.
  3. Expand horizons: Whether it is reading a book, visiting an art museum or hiking in a nearby woods, new experiences expand our thinking and get us wondering about the wonders around us.
  4. Don’t be so fast to turn to Google: Google has stunted our curiosity. Have a question…I’ll “google it.” Consider spending a little time thinking about it first. I like to take a walk before I write or play with Cody for a bit, (he usually prompts a few good ideas for me while I am trying to avoid his licking my face.)
  5. Engage a “Curiosity Buddy”: Having a friend or colleague with whom you can let down your hair (hard to do in my case) and sharing  uncertainties provides the opportunity for a new perspective. At work, reach out to a trusted colleague and state that you want to have him or her as someone you can bounce weird ideas around with in discussions.  

And please remember that famous biblical verse,
“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”

© Richard Citrin 2022

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