Sunday, January 10, 2016

Curiosity In Business And Life

March 10, 2015

I was blessed meeting friends, attending workshops, and worshipping in the general session with Don Moen and Dr. Paul Nyquist.
I can't believe that I have been leading workshops at BASS since 2006! When the late Jeanne Stenfort, the beloved Director of CEF Silicon Valley, asked me to present "Learning Style" and "EQ" for the children's track, I told her I could also speak on those same topics and "Parenting ABC" at the Asian track. That first year, I led five workshops in English and Cantonese on Friday and Saturday!

One of the organizers asked, "How can you keep track of which language to use? Won't you be confused?" That led to some interesting discussions (e.g. how children can learn to speak different languages to different people, at different places, and/or on different days.)

As parents, we all want our kids to learn. How about you? Are you interested and curious of what you might not know? Do you know there is a connection between curiosity and result in work, life and relationships?

Curiosity has been given a bad rap. Perhaps we grew up hearing that asking questions was rude or conveyed ignorance, or that we'd get into trouble if we were like Curious George. We might even have been warned that "Curiosity killed the cat!"

The truth is that curiosity is one of the most vital and life-affirming qualities you can bring to your life and your relationships.

Curiosity in Business
It is so easy to blame others when things go wrong. Consider being curious about your experience rather than critical. For example, instead of beating yourself up, or blaming someone else, for not reaching sales goals—again—try asking yourself what is going on for you that you keep performing below your expectations? With an attitude of "how fascinating that I've created this!" you are much more likely to help yourself find new solutions to attaining your goals.

Curiosity in Life
Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all!" When you cultivate an attitude of curiosity, doors open and adventures begin; questions lead to new possibilities. For example, asking yourself, "What do I want to learn now and where might that lead me?" can set you on a journey of exciting exploration that moves you forward. If, instead, you come from the place of "I already know what I need to know," you shut off the possibility of discovering something new that could rock your world.

Curiosity in Relationships
How often we assume we know what someone else is thinking or experiencing. What if we came from a place of not knowing and offered others an invitation to speak? According to Sharon Ellison, creator of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, "A non-defensive question is innocently curious, reflecting the purity of the child who asks how a flower grows or what makes an airplane fly." We invite others to share their true experience when we ask questions without hidden agendas and to clarify understanding.

Practice Cultivating Curiosity
Here are some ways to cultivate a more curious life.

Discover. Pay attention to things happening around you. Take a walk around your neighborhood, go to the museum, observe and gain awareness.

Ask Questions. Instead of asking "Why...? Why...? Why...?" in a persecuting and judgmental tone, practice asking questions that convene interest, curiosity, openness and neutrality. Practice with strangers in stores and with people close to you. Stop thinking you know all the answers... be open to being surprised!

Listen with C.A.R.E. To a great extent, nobody will care about what you say unless they feel your genuine care about them. When someone is speaking, remember to:
  • C = Concentrate (with Compassion)
  • A = Acknowledge (with Acceptance)
  • R = Respond (with Respect)
  • E = Empathize (with Empathy)
Inquire. An inquiry is an open-ended question designed to broaden your perspective. For example: "What would make life a daring adventure for me?" "Where in my life do I assume I already know?"

Challenge Your Assumptions. These impact how we treat strangers as well as loved ones. Many relationships are broken when we too easily assume we understand the other person's thoughts, feelings and needs. Challenge your assumptions by asking, "What if that's not true?" What other choices might you make then?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

If you truly want to expand your excitement, joy and fulfillment in life and relationship, sprinkle healthy doses of curiosity and watch your life become the fabulous adventure it can be!

Author's content used with permission, © Claire Communications

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