How to stay curious: the desire to know

Inspired by a recent WEDF talk, I want to share some of my learnings and explore the human need and desire to learn.

Everyone is born curious, but only some continue their exploration, discovery and learning. This is not a quality that just stays with you, but one that needs nurturing. But what feeds our curiosity and what starves it?

Children have a limitless appetite for information, and an unapologetic curiosity for all things new and misunderstood. When they don’t know the answer they actively seek the truth. Despite living in a world with instant access to knowledge, why is it all too easy to lose your appetite for wonder, and lull in to a sense of complacency?

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s this passionate quest for knowledge that propels us as humans forward. Yes, pursuing curiosity may bring you into conflict, after all it’s disruptive and deviant, but having this desire to obtain new information holds unlimited bounds of pleasure.

So why is it that we’d rather be right, than uncertain? Or worse yet… wrong?

In adult life, we’re taught to specialise, narrow our focus and knowledge in only a few areas. Being curious means being inquisitive, so perhaps it’s the fear of failing and unknown that brings in the feeling of self-doubt? Uncertainty, to us implies a lack of realisation and herein lies our challenge.

“A society that values order above all else will seek to suppress curiosity. But a society that believes in progress, innovation, and creativity will cultivate it, recognising that the inquiring minds of its people constitute its most valuable asset.”

– Ian Leslie

Stay hungry. Be humble. Lose your ego and learn your lessons. It’ll make you smarter and more creative at the end of the day.

Try stepping outside of your comfort zone. Take Steve Jobs, he didn’t start out as the CEO of Apple. He just started out curious. He was obsessed with perfection — but didn’t let fear dictate his decisions.

‘Stay hungry, stay foolish”

– Steve Jobs

It’s down to you to keep yourself updated and on top of what’s happening. The digital world means there is so much competition to gain peoples attention, so remember that great communications start with people wanting to discuss and share.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

– Albert Einstein

Remember not everything must have a reason. The beauty of curiosity is you never know where it’s going to take you. Take pleasure in your willingness to learn. Draw upon the experiences of everyone that you work with.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

– Roald Dahl

Be the best that you can possibly be. Nurture a culture of problem-finders as well as problem-solvers. Embracing this approach as an adult helps you see things that you’d otherwise be closed to and keeps us moving forward.

Tips for staying curious

Learn and be inspired. Take inspiration from outside of your industry or immediate environment, get away from thinking about what your competitors are doing, and give yourself the best opportunity to innovate.

There is a tendency to feel overwhelmed and overloaded with all the ‘noise’ out there. Keep track of great ideas; I always keep a notebook and pen nearby, and also make use of apps If by IFTTT, Trello and Pocket for quickly saving and organising information.

Sign up to inspiring websites, add them to your Feedly, or Pocket them for later.

Make time for play and cultivate creative interests outside of work — turn your ideas into action. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

And finally… Be bold.

“Question. Challenge. Experiment. Learn. Improve.”

– Terry Stephens

And now I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Tweet @StudioSixteam

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