Curiosity: Don’t Leave Home Without It
“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.”~Samuel Johnson
When you pack your bags for your next adventure—be it your brief case as you head out for work or your travel bag as you leave for your next trip—make sure you pack your curiosity. It could be more important than your smart phone or your tooth brush, and, I know you won’t go without them!
In the recently released interviews about her husband, John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy revealed that, “He thought his best quality was curiosity. I think he was right.”
Steve Jobs, as described by Wired magazine, also was a champion of curiosity: “I’m a big believer in boredom. Boredom allows one to indulge in curiosity. And out of curiosity comes everything.”
According to Michael J. Gelb, author of How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci, it is no coincidence that JFK and Jobs both credit their curiosity as being their most important personal success factor.
I recently attended the International Coach Federation annual conference in Las Vegas where Michael J Gelb spoke. He described Leonardo da Vinci as the “universal archetype of all our human potential.” Gelb believes that we can all unlock our hidden geniuses if we follow da Vinci’s lead. He delineates 5 ways to do that, but the first and most important principle is what he calls, “Curiosità. The insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.”
Gelb says da Vinci was curious about everything. His curiosity took him to the skies; he designed helicopters, flying machines and parachutes before anyone could fly. Curiosity led him to design ideal cities, study anatomy, and create beautiful art. He dreamed about the depths of the ocean and designed scuba gear.
Here are 5 tips to develop your Curiosity via Gelb:
- Develop a child’s mind–the quality of being appreciatively inquisitive that is so evident in children. I wrote about that in another blog post, Develop a Child’s Mind: Pathway to Creativity.
- Keep a journal or notebook to record insights and questions. I like to carry a notebook in my purse so that I have it with me at all times. Other people like to carry a digital recorder in their pocket to record strokes of insight.
- Allow time for contemplation and reflection. I coach clients to schedule in this time on their calendar. It is that important.
- Cultivate a love of learning. One of the best ways to do that is to put yourself in new situations and environments. No time for that? Try taking a walk around your own town as if you were a visitor. You will notice and appreciate things that you never saw before—a new plant, an interesting architectural element—and then find out about it.
- Be willing to make mistakes. Some of the greatest discoveries were the result of a mistake. Wilson Greatbatch discovered the Pacemaker when he grabbed the wrong resistor from a box and plugged it in.
What ways have you found to develop your curiosity? Do you use any of these tips or are you going to try any? Let us know!
If you would like other management coaching support, please call me for a free complimentary session at 805.448.7681 or schedule a session using my on-line calendar.
p.s. I always am interested in what you think about these discussions. Please post your thoughts on the blog…your constructive criticism and support is appreciated!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Your MOJO Maven
Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. An MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment.
Agreed about curiosity. Eugene Delacroix, Schopenhauer, RFK, and a number of others have said that imagination is a necessary element of genius, and they’re absolutely right. How else do you explain the audacity of inventiveness. The opera composer Richard Wagner composed his Ring of the Niebelung operas at a time when he had absolutely NO hope of it ever being performed, and since you talk about Leonardo da Vinci, he died thinking he had accomplished absolutely nothing. Delacroix claimed Leonardo had discovered EVERYTHING.
I always enjoy your posts!
Thanks for sharing such fascinating examples! It is so interesting how our own mindsets influence our perceptions. That da Vinci would die thinking he had accomplished nothing boggles the mind. His idea of accomplishment must have been a very different one from ours! Glad you enjoy my posts, Paul. Thanks for adding your comments!
The world thrives on curiosity. When we look deeper, ask why or why not, we grow. So many things would never have been discovered if someone hadn’t been curious, if someone hadn’t wanted to know more. The greatest innovators, men and women whose names will be remembered forever, were incredibly curious people.
And I love that you talk about developing a child’s mind, because most of us start asking “Why?” as soon as we can talk, but we often lose that quality as we age.
So true, Renee. I like to invoke that image of the child who keeps asking the question, “Why?” As adults, we sometimes find that annoying, and have suppressed the inclination in ourselves. We need to get back in touch with that! Thanks for highlighting the importance of that!
“Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not.”
Robert F. Kennedy
Such a beautiful way of capturing the essence of Appreciative Inquiry, Paul. Asking “why” is working from the problem solving model, dreaming about “why not” is working from the Appreciative Model. I had never thought about that quote in that context before, so thank you! it is lovely.
I’m feeling inspired to be more inquiring!
Can see wait to see what jewels and gems are the beautiful outcome of your curiosity! 🙂
Love this post and the creative comments. I guess I am a duck out of water here as I never get bored! I have curiosity tattooed to my psyche and piles of post-it notes of stuff I want to look up, a kindle full of boks waiting to read, too many LnkedIn groups to enjoy ;), and a blessed pile of friends with whom to correspond and love.
Who was it who said their was no such thing as boredom, only boring people? I am not saying I would always agree with that statement, but to me life is so full of stuff to get out there and grab.
It just hit me there would be a great lead in for a coaching niche promo: “Are you bored?” Oh, my humor wants to pipe in here, but I shall restrain myself!
Todd Kashdan is my curiosity hero, thank about living an exciting suck it all in life…And if you haven’t read is book, “Curious” you are in for a real treat.
Judy, You are my kind of girl! I am the same way–down to the post it notes! I don’t know about “Curious”–I new book for me to download on my Kindle! 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting!