Curiosity is integral to a creative mindset. It propels us forward to explore, to seek, to find out, to experiment, to ask questions.
How healthy is your curiosity? A lack of curiosity can lead to apathy, boredom, conformity, low empathy and a sense of being stuck. Pay attention to your thinking over the next couple of days and notice: Are you interested in finding out why someone who angers you behaves that way? Do you wonder how everyday technology and systems work? Do you wrestle with problems until you can solve them? Are you interested in finding out about your colleagues’ upbringings? Do you question beliefs or points of view you’ve held since your youth?
If your curiosity has waned, fear not! Curiosity can be nurtured and grown with deliberate intention and a bit of effort. Einstein said: “I have no special talent, I’m only passionately curious.”
Did you know…?
Sustaining high levels of curiosity is the starting point of creativity.
Sometimes clever people can become too secure in their high intelligence or expertise, that they lose the curiosity essential to achieving anything new. If learning facts and understanding the existing rules of domains, comes too easily to a high-IQ person, there may be no incentive to question, doubt, and improve on existing knowledge.
Curiosity creates grit. Without a burning curiosity, we are unlikely to persevere long to make significant new contributions.
Curiosity and drive are in many ways the yin and the yang that need to be combined for becoming creative. Curiosity requires openness to outside stimuli. It is playful and deals with objects and ideas for their own sake. Drive needs inner focus, seriousness, competitive spirit and achievement orientation
*This content comes from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book: CREATIVITY: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian-American psychologist who first recognised the notion of productive mental‘ flow.’ He a notable management scholar whose writing on creativity is used as set work books in universities.
Curiosity is good for you! “Psychologists have compiled a large body of research on the many benefits of curiosity. It enhances intelligence: In one study, highly curious children aged three to 11 improved their intelligence test scores by 12 points more than their least-curious counterparts did. It increases perseverance, or grit: Merely describing a day when you felt curious has been shown to boost mental and physical energy by 20% more than recounting a time of profound happiness.
And curiosity propels us toward deeper engagement, superior performance, and more-meaningful goals: Psychology students who felt more curious than others during their first class enjoyed lectures more, got higher final grades, and subsequently enrolled in more courses in the discipline.” Christina Gandolfo, The Five Dimensions of Curiosity, Harvard Business Review.
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"If you wait until you are ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life." Lemony Snicket