They say “curiosity killed the cat” implying that it wouldn’t be good for you to be curious. Well now, there is a thought in urgent need of updating! If you think about it, throughout the history of mankind, curiosity always led to an advancement of some sort. Without curiosity we might still be living in trees. Who knows?
In a very simplified, black and white way we can divide people into two categories: On one end of the continuum are the close-minded who hold on to their beliefs and opinions, think usually that they are right, they like routine, and resist new ideas and the ‘unknown’. On the other end are the curious, those open to new experiences, the inquisitive, those who are excited by novelty and are bubbling with new ideas.
It’s not hard to see that I am biased towards the curious, isn’t it? So what are the advantages of being curious?
1. In jobs that require innovative approaches, out of the square thinking, a person with a high level of curiosity is just the right person to bring new ideas to the table.
2. Curios people also seem to look into matter deeper than others. They like learning, finding things out, or taking things apart to see how they work. Their passion in learning drives them to get to the bottom of things until their understanding is of exceptional depth.
3. Because curious people have the tendency to dig deeper into issues, they are good at solving puzzles and problem solving. Although getting easily bored with routine, they will stick with a problem until they have satisfied their thirst for discovery.
4. Another advantage of curious people is the ease with which they deal with uncertainty. They don’t have things to be clear-cut and sorted. They can easily tolerate ambiguity and have little problems seeing things from a different perspective. In fact, they might even know clearly that there always is another perspective. They could have coined the phrase “This is one way of looking at it!”
5. Most importantly, however, is curiosity in relationships. Yes, I now, it’s a particular bias and interest of mine. But bear with me here. Often couples, groups, or even nations have very distinct ideas and beliefs that may not be shared by ‘the other’ partner, groups, or nations. The close-minded, rigid, righteous might ‘dig’ in and start enforcing their opinion, trying to convince the other that they are wrong, might even judge them for their ‘errant’ way.
For a successful relationship however it is much more helpful to stay curious. Rather than judging and insisting on one’s own point of view, the curious stance is inquiring how the other person came to his/her point of view, what made them think the way they do, what is so important for them about their stance. With an attitude of curiosity we avoid the rigid demarcation line of ‘war fare’, be that in an intimate relationship or among larger groups. We learn about each other and open up the possibility of a more understanding, compassionate relationship and tolerance.
If you are interested to read more about how to have relationships built on the above values, you will find ample ideas and inspirations in my new book “Delicious Love Forever: Recipes for Lasting, Loving Relationships” available on Amazon.com.
Photo by Fazen