I recall one of my clients saying that the single thing he looks for in an employee who aspires to a senior role is that they are curious. That they show a curiosity for the world and for how they respond to it. I’ve always been struck by this and can see the benefits and importance of wanting to curious – of using the six most important words:
“Who, What, Where, When, Why and How”
So, I’m curious about curiosity and, as always when curious, thought it might be interesting to look the definition of curiosity and at some of the sayings from people that illustrate their views. Here goes:
What is the Definition of Curiosity?
Here are some definitions of curiosity;
- the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness.
- a desire to know about something.
- a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals. Curiosity is heavily associated with all aspects of human development, in which derives the process of learning and desire to acquire knowledge and skill.
As is so often the case, the Wikipedia entry is more helpful, in real life, giving a bit of context and pointing to the outcome i.e. that curiosity can lead to learning, knowledge and skill. Although – see here (Morbid curiosity exemplifies an aspect of curiosity that can be seen as focused on objects of death, violence, or any other event that may cause harm physically or emotionally.) I’d no idea there was such a thing as morbid curiosity, until I read the Wikipedia entry.
Another important aspect of curiosity is how you apply it to your inner world. Are you curious about how you respond to events, why you respond the way you do and to what extent your responses are helpful or unhelpful. To what extent do you engage in reflective practice?
Some Quotes about Curiosity
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” Albert Einstein
“Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.”
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.”
“It is simply this: do not tire, never lose interest, never grow indifferent—lose your invaluable curiosity and you let yourself die. It’s as simple as that.”
And my favourite…
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
In Summary – Being Curious about Curiosity
…its a good thing to be curious…especially about the world and how you respond to it.