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14.8.19

The anatomy of being curious

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What’s the difference between curious people and the rest of the world? We are all experts at being curious as kids, but we finish schooling with our curiosity damn near dead.

What can we learn from those of us who retain or regain their curiosity to use as authors, leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches.

The research provides some fascinating insights.

We all feel pretty nervous about being curious because we have been warned: curiosity killed the cat. We sense the danger of going into unchartered waters. Even curious people feel more anxious when they are being curious.

On the upside, curiosity has some great impacts, which is why we are all drawn to it. “The psychological urge evoked by curiosity is accompanied by increased engagement with the world, including exploratory behaviour, meaning-making, and learning,” researcher and author, Todd Kashdan wrote in 2013 study of curious people.

The American rock climber, Tommy Caldwell, spent seven years studying the Dawn Wall, the hardest assent on one of the world’s most difficult rock-climbing challenges, El Capitan in the Yosemite National Park. He had to scour the rock face for hand- and foot-holds no thicker than a credit card. Seven years! And then he climbed the 3000-foot sheer rock face in 15 days.

Caldwell believed that his intense curiosity about the Dawn Wall, while leading him into intense danger, would also keep him safe.

The difference, then, is not the impulse to be curious, but the ability to deal with the consequences. Curious people believe they can cope with whatever their curiosity throws at them.

Nearly every expert I have worked with, who has let their curiosity lead them to write a book, has had a moment of extreme fear on the rock face. Halfway through the journey, they wonder if they can cope. That is the moment of truth when they must deepen their curiosity and search for the tiny hand-hold that takes them to the top.

Curiosity takes us on scary, exciting adventures. The more you let it do so, the more you will believe in your ability to cope. A virtuous cycle begins.

I offer coaching and training programs that help you master the art of confidently asking questions.

I also help experts to write a book about their expertise in 90 days (using my powerful system of questions).

Why not join my tribe of curious people and see where it takes you?

 

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