Thursday, October 15, 2009

Curious Times

In a 5-year study of more than 7,000 growth companies, author and former CEO Keith McFarland found that a common characteristic of the best performing companies was that they employed people who were curious.

Curious people are generally interesting people. They’re problem solvers, idea generators, innovators and experimenters. They draw others to them because they help us to see our world through fresh eyes.

Jim Canterucci, author of “Personal Brilliance” says curiosity is “actively exploring your environment, asking questions, investigating possibilities, and possessing a sense of both wonder and doubt.”

Curiosity includes a love of learning, growing and self-improvement, a willingness to break routines and try new things, a fascination with alternative points of view, the ability to recognize things that are worthy of further consideration and thinking about things from an unconventional perspective.

Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

I’ve always considered curiosity to be an important trait of a great talent (and an equally important trait for leaders in radio or any industry).

Curiosity is not inborn. While it may take an initial conscious effort, you can cultivate your curiosity in the same way you can develop a new habit.

Here are a few ways to increase your level of curiosity:

• Don’t take things for granted or at face value. Ask “What if…” The better the quality of your questions, the more interesting the answers will be.
• Try connecting things that aren’t normally connected.
• Think about something from three different points of view.
• Break a routine and note your experiences.
• Deliberately study your (and your listeners’) world each day; as you go through your day, look for life’s oddities and trivialities that would make for an interesting conversation. Practice turning these into stories.
• List things you feel you ought to know about and make a commitment to improve your knowledge.
• Spend time with other curious people.

Positive Psychologist Chris Peterson has found that along with gratitude, zest, hope, and the capacity to love, curiosity is one of the strengths most closely related to greatest life satisfaction. It has also been found in at least one study to be associated with a long life.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Sounds like an exciting way to live on AND off the air, don’t you think?

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