Stay Curious? The REAL Secret to Success
By Ronnie in Good To Know
Everyone wants to be successful. There are so many ideas, action plans, steps and examples. The list goes on and on of ways you can achieve that success but there is an easy way to make it happen. Are you ready for it?
Ha! You thought it was going to be something long and drawn out but it isn’t. Now, it might sound so simple that you are willing to overlook it. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m curious, next.” But don’t be so quick. Slow your roll a bit!
Let’s take Albert Einstein for example. He must agree he was a brilliant guy. I mean The Theory of Relativity and so much more (full disclosure: I looked up all his accomplishments and they were all so beyond, The Theory of Relativity was the most relatable and honestly, not all that relatable). Regardless, here is what is relatable about Albert Einstein, he said,
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Now, if this genius realized that being curious is what gave him his successful edge then maybe it is something we should consider.
When you want to understand how to make success happen there are lots of really important tips like, make a plan, prioritize your goals, define your strategies, take smart risks, learn from experts, optimize productivity, etc. All of these things are important but also all of these things are huge endeavors and let’s be real, seem overwhelming.
You know what makes it all not only doable but more fun? Curiosity!
Being curious only means that you are eager to know something. How do you do it though? How do you act curious? Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
Become observant of new ideas
Lots of times we get stuck in our own pattern of thinking. It’s just easier to go with what we know. But even just being aware of that rut you get stuck in might get you noticing different ideas that you normally overlook. When you do notice, take a second to review what you see and then give yourself credit for doing it. That small pat on the back will get you noticing more and more.
Increase your empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s not sympathy, which is feeling pity or sorrow for someone else. It may seem like a minor trick of words but it’s so much more. When you truly understand and share the feelings of another, you really feel them, to your core. And when you have those feelings, you want to understand them more. You’re curious as to what caused them and what should be done about them. This curiosity makes a big impact on your life. It allows you to connect with others more deeply and increases your chances for more meaningful relationships even in business.
Try to problem solve
When you encounter a problem try to solve it. Try to think of a solution. You may do nothing with it but it gets your brain in the habit of looking for solutions. This can be something you do even when it is not your problem. Like when you see cars parked on the street taking up more than one spot. Why is that happening? Now, maybe people are just jerks and that’s why it happens but let’s get out of that thinking. Well, maybe people don’t realize how much space their car takes up and are just guessing poorly. What if we painted the lines more clearly for people and brought it up on the curb. What if we put a small sensor on the curb that made a noise when people parked outside the line.
Now, would these solutions work? We don’t know and to be honest, we don’t care. The point is to get your brain thinking of ways to solve problems so that when you have a problem your brain goes right to brainstorming solutions.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable
This one is difficult because nobody likes to be uncomfortable. The primary job of everyone is to get to the most comfortable place ever. But, it’s not always the best place to be all the time. Sometimes it is helpful to be in an uncomfortable spot. And it’s better to be a little comfortable being uncomfortable. If you find yourself in an disagreeable position, you tend to take the first thing that gets you out of the discomfort. If you could allow yourself to remain uncomfortable (start small) then you give yourself more opportunity to find not the first solution but the best solution.
Look to increase knowledge
Here’s another Albert Einstein quote for you, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Success is a tricky thing. It is ever-moving because if you seek success and you reach the first goal, you’ll want the next and the next and the next. One way to help in that endeavor is to constantly increase your knowledge base. This can come from even seemingly unrelated areas. In fact, some of the most successful initiatives are transposed from unrelated verticals. Learning new skills or sharpening old ones help keep your success path smooth.
Many of these ideas boil down to this key piece. By asking questions you increase your empathy, problem solving, “new things learned” vault, etc. Asking questions is the fundamental principle of being curious. The good news about asking questions is it boils down the information to the level you need, whether it’s at a high level or lower level and depending on the topic anyone and everyone can be at the top or bottom of that scale. Put your fear aside when asking too. Many people aren’t clear in the message because they don’t understand it themselves. Maxime LaGracé said, “Curiosity and questions will get you further than confidence and answers.” By rooting around, you can uncover many surprising things. Hopefully, the most important is a fondness for being curious.
Make it fun
If you take only one thing from this article take #6 – start to ask more questions. But please take two things from this piece and make #7 the second priority. If you are not having fun being curious, you’ll resent it and won’t want to continue. See if you can approach these tactics like a game. See if you can approach them with the awe and wonder of a five year-old. They are excited and proud when they learn something new and you should be too.
So when you are trying to figure out all the ways to be successful and things seem overwhelming, remind yourself to get curious. Start seeking out an understanding of the material or research or just the topic in general. Ask a lot of questions. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel cozy, it’s not supposed to, but put it in context and see the joy and fun in it.