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Is This the Key to an Interesting Life?

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“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous intellect.”

~ Samuel Johnson

If there were a “magic bullet” trait for living an interesting (and interested) life, I would have to echo Dr. Johnson’s sentiments and go with curiosity.

I’ve found that the most intelligent, the most interesting, and the most creative people that I know tend to also be the most curious.

[You: “Curious about what?”]

[Me: “Good! You’re curious about that! Way to go!”]

Curious about, well, everything. These people have minds that live for the exploration. They want to know why, when, how. And they want to know just for the sake of knowing.

To put it another way, they want to learn just for the sake of learning.

And that, to me, is a trait that the greatest leaders—the most intelligent, the most interesting, and the most creative leaders—share. They love learning new things—often just for the sake of learning.

The best leaders are curious about things. #leadership Click To Tweet

Leaders who are curious tend to read more, and more widely. They talk to people outside of their normal circles. They travel. They are open to new and different ideas. All of these things make them better leaders.

We all have this trait within us, to some degree or another. Haven’t you ever gone to bed far too late because you got hooked watching some movie on TV—even a crappy movie—and you couldn’t go to sleep until you found out how it ended? That’s curiosity! And it’s a good thing—even if it occasionally costs you an hour or two of sleep.

Now, before you say it—yes, I know what curiosity does to the cat. But I’d like to point out something that you may already know: you are not a cat. [Note: If you ARE a cat, and you’ve managed to read this far—congratulations! You may be the most remarkable cat in history.]

I like knowing a little bit about many different things. I don’t need to be an expert on all of them (which is good, since it wouldn’t be possible anyway). But my goal is this: I like to know enough about a given subject that I can ask a question to an expert that he or she would find interesting. In other words, not just the typical question that they hear all the time; something, instead, that will cause them to brighten up and think, “Oh, now this is going to be a fun conversation!”

So if you would like to be more intelligent, more interesting, and more creative—as a leader and as a human being—indulge your natural sense of curiosity. Read something new, talk to someone different. Ask questions. Be curious. And learn.


Just for the sake of learning.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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