Here’s something that is worth knowing and repeating, because people don’t seem to get it…when all you do is talk, especially talk ‘at’ people, they become demotivated because they feel that they have zero autonomy. In addition to this, you take away their purpose. Read that again.
Now, here’s the quandary…if most of us were given two ears and one mouth, why don’t we use it in proportion? Here are some examples as to why we don’t:
- We are social beings, and if isolated, may want that chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter with others
- We are driven by our ego and want people to know what we know – after all, isn’t that what we are paid for?
- We don’t respect other people; think about it…do you read body language – that subtle hint that people give, to beg you to stop talking?
- We lack humility…and that, dear readers, is a tough thing to say because we all want to feel that we have the 21st century leadership skill…humility
So, how does humility link to the sin of incuriosity? Well, if you don’t listen and don’t enquire, and you come from a standpoint of knowing everything…you aren’t curious. Did curiosity kill the cat? Um…yes…because when you are curious about the wrong things, such as gossip or any irrelevant information, you are not focusing on self-development. We need to be curious about the bigger things…the things that impact people and strengthens companies.
Let’s unpack some examples of when incuriosity was evident:
Blockbuster – need I say more?
Kodak – hello?
Motorola – if you understand their playbook, you will note many missed opportunities…
The Beatles – yes, that’s right…the famous 4 (or 5 – depending on how you look at it) made EMI very happy when Decca passed them over because, according to Decca, guitars were outdated…and the talented gents were scruffy looking…who could pass on John Lennon’s voice when he sang ‘Twist and Shout’?
Being curious requires bravery because if we dig deep, we either:
- Get insight and change – are we willing to?
- Be proved wrong…and this is exactly where intellectual humility should kick in yet, this is another topic for another day…
- Get pushed out of our comfort zone and could possibly become unconventional – how could anyone not want to be unconventional – it is freedom!
To get to genuine curiosity, we need to practice rule 9 of Jordan P. Peterson’s book, ’12 Rules for Life’. It is one of the most fantastic rules to use and it is guaranteed to show you a different perspective – ’assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t’. Isn’t that incredibly genius!? And easy to practice? Well, not so easy if we think that true listening requires a judicious ear that can modify…again, another topic for another day.
So, here’s the challenge – make a commitment to yourself today that you are worthy of learning and try one of these two recommendations to ignite curiosity:
- Pick a random fact/subject that you heard about and Wikipedia it. Wikipedia the s&*t out of it. Wikipedia it to the point that you have clicked on every link Wikipedia has in the article and then wonder how you got to a totally irrelevant, unrelated fact/subject on a completely different page of the internet.
- Have a genuinely, deep conversation…leave your mobile phone locked away (at this point, you have either stopped reading and asked yourself ‘how’ you can you part with this machine for an hour or be more accepting of the challenge) and have a conversation – with your kids, a server, a security guard, a spouse, a colleague…and ask, ‘do you mind telling me more?’ or, ‘and what else can you say about this?’ Warning…read the body language of those who don’t want to engage, or end up disengaging.
If people were curious and allowed people to speak, anxiety would be reduced. We shouldn’t suppress others, and our own, thoughts and ideas. Here’s the thing though, it starts with you…and if you can let one person be curious with you, you will most likely thrive. Make the pledge of curiosity today – even if it is only for one day.