- Curiosity and Results: What’s the Connection?
- Practice Cultivating Curiosity
Curiosity and Results: What’s the Connection?
Curiosity has been given a bad rap. Perhaps we grew up hearing that asking questions was rude or conveyed ignorance, or that we’d get into trouble if we were like Curious George. We might even have been warned that “Curiosity killed the cat!”
The truth is that curiosity is one of the most vital and life-affirming qualities you can bring to your life and your relationships. Curiosity and asking powerful questions can help you discover important information about your work, yourself, your associates, your customers—and create insights that otherwise might have remained hidden.
Curiosity in Business
It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Consider being curious about your experience rather than critical. For example, instead of beating yourself up for not reaching sales goals—again—try asking yourself what was going on for you that you kept performing below your expectations? With an attitude of “how fascinating that I’ve created this” you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals.
Curiosity in Life
Helen Keller said, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all!” When you cultivate an attitude of curiosity, doors open and adventures begin; questions lead to new possibilities. For example, asking yourself, “What do I want to learn now and where might that lead me?” can set you on a journey of exciting exploration that moves you forward. If, instead, you come from the place of “I already know what I need to know,” you shut off the possibility of discovering something new that could rock your world.
Curiosity in Relationships
How often we assume we know what someone else is thinking or experiencing. What if we came from a place of not knowing and offered others an invitation to speak? According to Sharon Ellison, creator of Powerful NonDefensive Communication, “A non-defensive question is innocently curious, reflecting the purity of the child who asks how a flower grows or what makes an airplane fly.” We invite others to share their true experience when we ask questions without hidden agendas and to clarify understanding.
Practice Cultivating Curiosity
Here are some ways to cultivate a more curious life.
Inquiries. An inquiry is an open-ended question designed to broaden your perspective. For example: “What would make life a daring adventure for me?” “Where in my life do I assume I already know?”
Assumptions. These impact how we treat strangers as well as loved ones. Challenge your assumptions by asking, “What if that’s not true?” What other choices might you make then?
Questions. Solid strategic plans, strong work relationships, high morale and improved performance are all byproducts of good questions. Practice asking questions with openness and neutrality. Practice with strangers in stores and with people close to you. Stop thinking you know all the answers…be open to being surprised!
Below are just a few questions that can have powerful effects on your work and life. Ask your questions without leading, prompting or interrupting, and suspend any assumptions. And then be sure to LISTEN to the answers.
1. What is it that you’d like to see accomplished and how do you see it happening?
2. What are your thoughts? Your concerns?
3. What’s the most important priority to you with this and why?
4. What would you like to see improved?
5. Can you help me understand that a little better?
6. What’s in the way of improved performance? How can you change that?
7. If I/you could change one thing in my/your life/business that would have the greatest impact, what would it be?
8. What prevents me/you from being able to place more focus on this?
9. What self-limiting fears, thoughts or actions do I/you want to leave behind?
10. Are my/your actions today compatible with what I/you wish to leave behind as a legacy?
If you truly want to expand your excitement, joy and fulfillment in life and relationship, sprinkle liberal doses of curiosity and watch your life become the fabulous adventure it can be!