An essential ingredient for success at anything – beyond the most mundane of rote tasks – is curiosity.
Curiosity is about exploration and discovery; it creates energy, possibilities, and movement. It also allows us to create relationships, and to grow more deeply and delightfully connected with one another. It allows us to play – and excellence in work can be like play for adults.
In my work as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Life Coach, and Business Consultant, I would be utterly useless without curiosity as a central deliberate practice. I need to get to know, before I do anything else, who this other person is – or who these people are if it’s a couple or a work team. I need to be keenly interested in knowing and understanding them, their circumstances, and what their goals and challenges and strengths are. That’s all about curiosity.
You might think, “Well, that sounds like you start with empathy…” But empathy, in my experience, follows from curiosity. If we’re curious about the other person, that’s the portal through which our empathy and care for other people enters.
Think of your own work, your own family, your own friendships. With those with whom you enjoy a good relationship, I would bet that you also are curious about who they are as people. On the other hand, if there are people from whom you feel more distant or critical, you might find that bringing more curiosity about their internal worlds can bring fresh energy and interest – and perhaps greater compassion as well.
In our work, our success and prospects grow with curiosity. The antithesis of curiosity is a sense of or desire for certainty. Read More