Probably my favourite quote is this from Albert Einstein:
‘I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.’
Einstein’s passionate curiosity led him to imagine what it might be like to ride on a beam of light – a thought experiment which he later referred to as ‘the germ of the theory of special relativity.’ Curiosity served him well.
Passionate curiosity is, I believe, a key component of my work as a coach. I see my curiosity as a kind of radar, continuously sweeping the conversations I have with my clients, picking up on the ‘blips’ of their words or their body language or their silences. My curiosity causes me to wonder, helps me formulate effective questions and keeps my attention in the present moment. Curiosity opens my mind and helps me to see things from another’s perspective: an important skill to have in life as well as business.
From personal experience and conversations with my clients, it would seem that the enemy of curiosity is living life on autopilot. I think I can safely say that we all do this from time to time: it’s the tried and tested way, it’s the easy way, it’s the comfortable way.
I’d like to suggest that sometimes it’s good to be curious and to find out what would happen if we do things differently, if we try something new, if we risk a little discomfort in order to find out more about ourselves, others and the world around us. Why?
Studies have shown that curiosity enhances personal development and helps us to learn: it makes sense really that we take on more knowledge, whether that’s academic learning or personal growth, when we are interested and engaged.
How do we engage our curiosity? I think these words from Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘Sometimes’, can help:
For example, what would your walk to work be like if you were to allow your curiosity to take hold for a few minutes? What would it be like to pay attention to your surroundings? Is it possible that you might notice something you’ve never seen before? A path you’ve never taken? A little café that’s just opened up? The fact that that guy just ahead of your works in the same building? Who could you tell about what you’ve just seen? What conversations might that open up? What new opportunities might present themselves?
Today’s pebble for your thoughts: how could curiosity help you learn more about yourself and others?
What do you think?
ps my curiosity is taking me off on an adventure: I’ll be back on the blog on 14 July.
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’re ready to transform your work and life, email me and let’s have a conversation about how we can work together.