Einstein once said, and I quote loosely, “what I lack in intelligence I make up for in curiosity.”
Too true. Being intellectually curious, about all things, is the highest form of intelligence. It suggests you’re open to new ideas, embrace new perspectives, and constantly drill down one level deeper to understand not simply the what, but the why.
Being curious means you also embrace the notion that you don’t, and more importantly can’t, know everything. It implies a humility that by definition allows you to incorporate new ideas into your own thinking. Someone who is intellectually curious never, ever puts ego first and refuses an idea because it “wasn’t invented here.”
When you’re intellectually curious, you’re also more interesting to others. Why? For the simple fact that you will have lots to say — you will be open to possibility. And you’ll be the best listener anyone ever met.
And, to be clear, being intellectually curious isn’t necessarily a high-brow academic pursuit only. Far from it.
I, for one, want to know where the best burger is in every city I visit. I ask and ask, and search, and search, and make lists, and update my lists, and cross-reference my lists with others…all in pursuit of the best burger. Is that a highly academic pursuit? At Hamburger U, perhaps. But generally, no.
It is, instead, a pure pursuit of intellectual curiosity, and my passion to know something about something.
So, be curious, and stay curious. About how planes fly. About how to engage your customers better. About what makes people, and clocks, tick.
It will serve you in more ways than you can possibly imagine.