A sense of curiosity.

If there is one quality I wouldn’t trade for anything in return, it is my sense of curiosity. Curiosity could lead to good things, as well as it can to bad things. For instance, stalkers, in several cases have been found to be curious to the extent of becoming obsessed with their victims. But curiosity has also lead to the discovery of Newton’s Law’s of motion, which in turn lead to the discovery of almost everything from parlor tricks to space ships.

If you think about the one common quality that successful leaders from any industry, across the world have possessed, it’s curiosity. Every other attribute from knowledge to experience and skill follows through. In my case, curiosity helped me to drop out of grad school, explore music as a career, pilot experiment my wife’s (then fiancee) mum’s snack recipe as a food processing business, learn how to write code and build SearchTrack with my team. If I were not as curious, I would have most certainly followed through the footsteps of a regular 20 something from an Indian middle class family.[1] As an early 20 yo, I remember being curious about music, space, the world history, the future of humanity, economics and what not. All of this lead to something or the other that’s got me well informed about most of those subjects.[2]

I have come across numerous smart people who are not curious enough to explore their own potential. As a sad fact, many of them are the opposite of curious — indifferent. Curious people, irrespective of how high their I.Q is, automatically become excited about unknown topics following which they seek resources to get an understanding of that subject. This way, they eventually become more knowledgeable than their peers and are able to identify better opportunities.[3] This is why it’s easy to find several entrepreneurs and skillful people who were never college toppers or even A graders.

Curiosity also leads to better networking. It gets you genuinely interested in what another person does and identify closely, how you could benefit by building a relationship with them.Becoming curious makes you genuinely interested in learning about people, their professions and the problems they face. And being able to see all of this is the very DNA of an entrepreneur.

Imagine if every parent and teacher fosters curiosity among children.[4] It would not only get them excited to learn better, it would also help them become better opportunists. It would sharpen their ability of reasoning and critical thinking. Just the curiosity to understand our place in this universe and our purpose on this planet could get them interested in learning history, aspects of astrophysics and evolution science. This form of learning could disrupt our current, mundane education systems to help build more practical and sustainable ones.

Provided, that it may take only a couple of lazy generations to drastically slow down our progress and even lead humanity to extinction, being curious ourselves and fostering this quality among our children may just be critical, if not vital for our progress.[5]


Footnotes -

[1] Indian middle class families mostly encourage their kids to get good grades through college and get a job as soon as possible. So much so that they strongly discourage their kids from starting a business. In fact, as a kid, I mostly used to hear from my folks about how being a businessman makes you crooked and that money coming through a day job (mostly government job) is much more respectable as an income than that coming from your own business.

[2] It also lead me to drop out of college because it was nearly impossible for me to expand my learning horizon if I had continued my college degree course.

[3] Spotting opportunity in any field is directly proportional to your knowledge about that field. The more you learn about a field, the better you become at identifying problems in it. And solving any problem is an entrepreneurial opportunity.

[4] Learn about how we can foster curiosity among kids — https://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-pathways-curiosity-hungry-mind-marilyn-price-mitchell

About me

I’m a co-founder of Searchtrack : a place to find guides that help you learn new topics, get a more informed world view and become smarter.