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How Curious Are You?

How Curious Are You?

“Be curious. Not judgmental.” — Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman shows great wisdom in this quote — the opposite of being curious isn’t just indifference — it’s being judgmental. Being curious means you are inquisitive and you have an insatiable appetite for learning; being judgmental means you have not only made up your mind, you see it as the only “right” way. Curiosity is closely knit with creativity and inspiration in the resilience quadrant because it is the mindset that is open to new information, new ways of looking at situations. So how can we be more curious?

One way is to approach situations with a child-like “beginner’s mind” — even if it’s an area where you have a lot of knowledge already. What else can be learned? Try to look at the situation with a fresh perspective. Another approach is to replace your exclamation points (and periods) with question marks. Then — “This is the way it should be done!” becomes “This is the way it should be done?” — and you may find some surprising, creative approaches that were not initially apparent.

This week’s Challenge: This week, when I catch myself being too certain, I will look at the situation with a beginner’s mind and replace my exclamation points with question marks.

Avoiding being Scattered (overuse): Looking at challenging and complex situations with an open mind can be helpful… until you are spending so much time exploring new ideas that you never land on a way to move forward. At some point, we must evaluate the ideas that we have and choose one to focus on to implement. Often, there is no one “right” way — only the best way given what we know now. If you are able to remain curious even after choosing a path to move forward, then you can be in tune with changing circumstances that will help you pivot as needed. But spending too much time gathering input, flitting from idea to idea to idea, can be just as detrimental as cutting off idea generation in the beginning in the name of efficiency. Character means you have the capacity for both curiosity and action.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein

Commendable Trait: Curious
Underused: Complacent
Overused: Scattered
Strength: Openness
Quadrant: Resilience