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Making Work More Human

How important is curiosity in today’s workplace?

Hong Kong’s fragrant harbour. Image captured and designed by Trish Meecham.

Very and in fact we would suggest, a ‘must have’ mindset for today’s learner worker. We hear it all the time – job security is becoming increasingly elusive, and the antidote to redundancy appears to be, amongst other character strengths and competencies, creativity, perseverance and curiosity.

This is not a new phenomenon. Curiosity is an innately human trait.

Throughout history those we know to have invented, created or designed solutions to important human issues (think Da Vinci, Hedy Lammar, Jack Ma, this list goes on) indulged themselves the time, space and mental freedom to take explore, test alternatives and wonder. 

“I have no special talents. I am passionately curious.’ Albert Einstein.

Whilst today it seems we’re so busy producing – meeting ridiculously tight deadlines, delivering on important projects, and navigating endless organisational changes – that we don’t have the luxury of time or the openness to curiosity. 

Yet, according to Dr Todd Kashan, professor at George Mason University, ‘Curiosity is the antidote to boredom. It’s the engine of growth, it leads to exploration, which leads to discovery and is the missing ingredient to a fulfilling life.”
Essential in the world of work today.
The World Economic Forum highlights 10 critical competencies to be successful in the future of work, several of which relate to curiosity.  Why? Because the world has changed and continues to change dramatically. The digital era renders many of us powerless and fearful, reacting to organisational change, uncertain and stressed about the future, instead of questioning the possibilities. 
So how can you become more open to change and build your curiosity muscle?
1. Question. Yourself, your reactions, others. Is there a more productive mindset, a different way to view this situation?
2. Read. Spend more time learning, imagining, gaining a different perspective. As the saying goes, readers are leaders.
3. Spend time in nature. As simple as this sounds, nature restores harmony, inspires creativity and allows time for reflection. Take a walk, head to the beach, ‘smell the roses.’
4. Try something new. Stretching outside the comfort zone can be scary. But the alternative is doing what you’ve always done…. Curiosity did not kill the cat!
5. Replace fearful self talk with an attitude of curiosity. A tough one, we all have that ‘inner critic’ sitting on our shoulder casting doubt and negativity. Using phrases like ‘ I wonder..’ and ‘ What if…’ could open your mind to creative options, previously not considered.

‘The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out. ’ – Anonymous

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