Most people have heard of A.B.C or Always Be Closing – the iconic mantra made famous from David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross – which describes a sales strategy where the focus is always on looking for new prospects or on closing existing prospects, and infers that ‘closing the deal’ is the only thing that matters.
I’d like to suggest that a better approach – for life and work – is ‘Always Be Curious’.
Curiosity, or the strong desire to learn or know something, originates from the Latin word ‘curiosus’ – eager to know, inquisitive.
As children, we are born with an almost insatiable curiosity which, according to famous psychologist Jean Piaget, is critical for our cognitive development – for as children almost everything we encounter is a new experience. It is children’s need to make sense of the world that results in their incessant questioning – “why is the sky blue?”, “what makes it rain?”, – and it’s their lack of self-consciousness that enables them to admit to their lack of knowledge or understanding.
Unfortunately, as we get older we become more rigid, more self-conscious, and increasingly bound by developing egos. As we become adults, we become less willing to acknowledge the limits of our own knowledge – which often manifests itself in a resistance to experiences that challenge our current assumptions. As adults, we become less curious about the world and less willing to experiment. New experiences are reduced to trying different restaurants. As adults, we stop asking ‘why’.
I believe that becoming more ‘child-like’ as adults can be extremely beneficial. Nurturing a deep curiosity about our world, and other people, supports our continued growth and self-development in addition to:
Enhanced Awareness. By re-learning how to be more curious and receptive to the world around us we enhance our awareness – both of our world, and of ourselves. Enhancing our self-awareness allows us to better connect with our authentic self – and enables us to see both opportunities and risks much clearer.
Increased Empathy. Curiosity also results in us being more interested in understanding the world, and those that we encounter regularly. A greater effort to understand others supports the development of greater empathy, and becoming more accepting of our differences.
Improved Communication. Being authentically curious we become ‘active’ listeners and take more time to listen to others, and to their suggestions and concerns – which reduces the opportunity for misunderstandings. By listening and being respectful we in turn earn the respect and trust of others.
Trusted Relationships. Trusted relationships are important both personally and professionally. Expressing a sincere interest in others – and being vulnerable – allows us to engender greater trust, and to develop deeper connections and relationships with others that we meet.
Increased Knowledge. Re-developing our natural curiosity re-ignites our desire to learn more – supporting greater imagination, creativity, and innovation. It provides us with opportunities to understand the unique perspectives of others – and in turn adjust our own.
Thank you for being ‘curious’ and reading.
Embrace your inner child and ‘Always Be Curious’.