Writer, broadcaster, and "man of the arts" Arnold Edinborough once wrote, “Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly.”
Personally, I don’t believe curiosity killed the cat. I believe curiosity is good for us, whether we’re feline, simian, or human. It’s an important trait of all who are successful, separating the wannabes from the achievers.
Without curiosity, would our cave dwelling ancestors have discovered fire, sowed the first seeds, domesticated the first animals? Would Da Vinci have painted the Mona Lisa, Edison invented the light bulb, or Bell invented the telephone?
Without curiosity, chances are we’d still be just a bunch of monkeys swinging from the branches (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Curiosity is what keeps us engaged in the process of living, growing, improving. Curiosity is what drives us to be better today than we were yesterday, and to be even better tomorrow.
Curious people ask:
- How does that mechanism work?
- What will happen if I do this (or that)?
- I wonder what happens if . . . ?
- If I build it, will they come?
Curiosity is a trait of lifelong learners, serial entrepreneurs, great leaders, and successful business owners.
It’s also a trait I see in my children. As I watch my 1-year old (McKinley, who just celebrated her first birthday!) and my 2-year old (Leland), I am reminded about how we learn. I see how curious each is and how they use their senses—touch, feel, taste, smell, sounds. Yes, this means Mom Sara and I often have quite a mess to clean up, and yes it can get frustrating, but they are young explorers and their curiosity for the world around them is amazing!
Are you curious? Do you want to know more than just what’s on the surface? Do you instill in your children, your friends, or your employees a sense of wonder, a need to ask why or why not?
- Curious business people want to know why their organization performs at a certain level and what they can do to improve results.
- Curious marketing executives want to know how and why their customers respond to certain messages, and what they need to do to get more prospects in the pipeline.
- Curious hiring managers seek to understand how they can attract and retain top talent. They’re curious about what about their business sets it apart from other employers.
- Curious managers want to know how to maximize the performance of their teams—how to motivate them, enhance collaboration, and boost productivity.
- Curious parents raise inquisitive kids, and curious kids strive to learn, excel, and achieve.
We could all use a little more curiosity. So how can instill more curiosity in ourselves, our children, and those around us?
- Ask questions. Don’t take anything for granted. If a “thing” is a certain way, ask why is it that way. Seek to learn and understand.
- Expose yourself to new knowledge. Learning something new feeds our minds and makes us even more curious about things yet-to-be-discovered. Don’t ever stop learning.
- Share what you learn and discover. Impart your knowledge to others. Doing so makes them (and you) more curious about what other information there is to share.
Cute curious animals video (yup, I went there) . . . but aren’t you now curious?
As you consider what can you do at home, at school, or at work to boost your curiosity quotient and the curiosity of those around you, I leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his (or her) back on life.”
Be alive. Be curious. Be an achiever.
Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O'MONKEYZ, a San Diego-based strategic marketing agency specializing in Sports and Active Lifestyle markets. We serve as a seasoned, outsourced marketing team for companies looking to ramp up sales and launch new products. Our barrel is full of talent and creative arms ready to prove we don’t just monkey around!