Never be done with things as life is a perpetual prototype. As children, we’re naturally curious—its how we grow and learn—but by the time we start school that sense of wonder starts to escape us. Perhaps the first shocking thing we learned about being creative and curious people.
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We are all born with boundless curiosity, but as we grow older, a battle springs up between what is known as the anxious mind and the curious spirit. Our instinct to explore is tempered by our desire to conform. We stop asking questions because we learn that it makes us look stupid. We stop putting ourselves in positions where we are open to uncertainty — and therefore vulnerable.
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With the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing options available to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs has become staggering.
But in our pursuit of a secure and comfortable life, we lose sight of what really drives us. It begins in our education system. We train people to follow rules and we stop them listening to their own instincts. We stop asking, what am I excited by, what am I motivated to pursue?
While we’re born curious, experts say we can relearn the trait.
Related post: Lessons Learned in Life … Class Continues Daily
Here are sixteen traits to rekindle and relearn to be a more curious person :
Being creative … live to solve problems
Every potential customer has a need. When they begin to research a product or service, they’re doing it because they want to improve on something. If you’re curious, you love this: You want to know their goals, how they plan to get there, and how you can help.
It’s a sign you’re curious if you think about a customer’s success as if it was your own. How do you get them to where they want to be? What resources can you create to make their lives easier?
Believe it or not, curious people tend to be more positive than their less-curious counterparts. While others can be set back by rejection, they take it in stride. They aim to discover what went wrong or what they could improve on, and then take action.
Curious people seek surprise
Many of us have a love/hate relationship with surprise, says Tania Luna, coauthor of Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected. “When we have too much surprise, we experience anxiety, but when we don’t have enough, we get bored and disengaged,” she says. “We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel alive when they’re not.”
We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel alive when they’re not.
Curious people welcome surprise in their lives. They try new foods, talk to a stranger, or ask a question they’ve never asked before.
Nothing bores them
Curious people are always investigating something new and as a result, are constantly building knowledge. No matter the situation, they can find something interesting to explore.
Curious people tend to maintain high activity levels and discover interesting facts about their industry. While others are procrastinating or pumping out the same old content, these people are reading books, and learning new methodologies.
Don’t avoid questions
Curious people embrace questions. When approaching someone new, they aren’t afraid to ask questions and solicit feedback that they think will make them better. If you can learn from it, you’ll embrace that initial awkward moment and take in the information.
After some practice, these people become familiar with the unfamiliar. And this is a huge advantage for anyone in any business setting, as unfamiliar moments are the rule, not the exception.
Willing to be wrong
The ability to shelve a sense of being right in favor of being open to the insights and opinions of others is a trait of curious people, says Sue Heilbronner, co-founder, and CEO of MergeLane, an accelerator program that focuses on female-run companies.
Curiosity often must be instilled intentionally, it comes from intentional pauses.
“There are tremendous benefits to a culture of curiosity in companies, particularly among leaders,” she says. “Curious teams always look at a broader array of options for product innovations, marketing angles, and solutions to problems. A team lodged in ‘rightness’ does the opposite.”
Love to dialog
Studies have proven time and time again that maintaining a healthy level of curiosity about different viewpoints enables people to more easily form and maintain social relationships. According to Ben Dean, Ph.D., curious folks are often above-average listeners and conversationalists.
Being a great listener and conversationalist goes a long way. Curious people focus on the person they’re connecting with, and talk about what they’re interested in, struggling with and aspiring to.
Why should we settle? In this HBR article, Warren Berger encourages company leaders to create a culture where every practice is questioned. He emphasizes the importance of questions in order for a company to “innovate, adapt to change, and maintain an edge in fast-moving, competitive markets.”
Curious folks aren’t afraid to question old tactics, and this helps them continuously optimize their practices, messaging, and habits.
Aren’t afraid to say: “I don’t know”
Curious people are always seeking new knowledge by engaging in conversations. When asked a question, they aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t have an answer, says LeeAnn Renninger, coauthor of Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected.
“It’s more important for them to learn than to look smart,” she says.
Put in the time
Curious people want to figure stuff out. When something piques their interest, they stick around until they discover more about the issue, or get to the bottom of the problem. And if the resolution won’t be uncovered for an hour or two after 5 p.m. rolls around, curious people settle in for the long haul.
Being consistently interested in new things means you’re self-motivated to put in the time and effort to learn. You don’t need anyone to tell you that you have to do something; instead, you’re focused on doing it because you want to. Being curious and self-motivated also means you don’t get down when something goes wrong — instead, you’re all the more motivated to solve the problem.
Love to learn
Curious people tend to be avid learners. In the professional world, learning from what worked and what didn’t in a variety of scenarios is important to continuously refining your process. Whether it’s the blog title they choose, the email subject line they employ, or the time in which they publish your social media posts, curious people want to experiment, learn, and optimize.
Being curious means having an active mind. You’re not satisfied until you learn all you can about your process, and have the requisite data to start doubling down on what works and forgetting about what doesn’t.
As Greater Good points out, empathy and curiosity are linked. The more empathetic you are, the more curious you’re likely to be.
In a business setting, empathy helps you connect with you audience in a real and authentic way. An empathetic person can instantly step into anyone’s shoes and identify with their pain points.
Love to succeed
While most folks are afraid of what lies ahead, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer found that curious people anxiously await their opportunity to move forward. When others become satisfied with their position, curious people continue to boldly move forward and take the next step. It goes without saying that an achievement attitude is essential in the professional world, where reps are held to quotas as well as other concrete metrics.
Love to think creatively
Creativity and curiosity have been linked in several studies. The Huffington Post noted that creative people are “insatiably curious.” Instead of zoning out, curious people observe and look at things differently. In business, they are the ones who experiment with new techniques and think of different ways to cater to their audience, often winning the attention of potential customers as a result.
Stay in the now
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, curious people are present and stay in the moment. As studies have shown, thinking about several things at once can negatively affect your learning. Multitasking creates an inability to be fully present and take in everything that is happening in front of you. On the other hand, because curious people are so interested in what they’re doing, they find it easier to be present and focused.
The bottom line
One of the most reliable and overlooked keys to happiness is cultivating and exercising our innate sense of curiosity. That’s because curiosity — a state of active interest or genuinely wanting to know more about something — creates an openness to unfamiliar experiences, laying the groundwork for greater opportunities to experience discovery, joy, and delight.
Curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. With practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable experiences. We can also use curiosity to intentionally create wonder, intrigue and play out of almost any situation or interaction we encounter.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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