It's no secret that in today's world of incessantly pinging smartphones, bosses calling during vacations, and the constant flood of email to our inboxes, it seems like we never stop working. American workers are the most overworked in the industrial world, and this isn't surprising. We're just trying to keep up with a working world that is going a million miles an hour--so much so that we've come to value speed, efficiency, and productivity in our work.
There just isn't enough time to ask seemingly unnecessary questions, to stop and have a real conversation with a co-worker, to deliberate just a bit longer on a project decision. The old working values instilled in us encourage us to do a quick Google search for the "right" answer, to take control and bark orders, to stick to the routine for fear of blowing things up.
But what about curiosity? Believe it or not, insatiable curiosity could be the secret weapon to propel yourself, your team, and your career into a whole new level of success.
Here are three reasons you need to be more curious right now:
1. Curiosity will help you become a true leader of the future.
Leaders of the future put their people first. They know that truly great results and progress come when their team members are happy, heard and actively involved. These leaders engage others around them and don't worry about being center stage all the time, for the good of the company.
But how does curiosity tie into all this? Being curious helps you innately think outside yourself. You will learn to think about others and others' perspectives. Your curiosity will push you to get to know your co-workers, and the more you know your team members, the better you'll be able to motivate them and leverage their talents. This greater connection between you and your employees will help build trust. This leads to a more open and positive working environment where people are not afraid to speak up about their ideas and be innovative in their work.
2. Curiosity will help you build mental flexibility.
Leading expert on curiosity Todd Kashdan says curiosity helps promote mental agility in many ways. When you are truly curious, your mind expects to be surprised. You don't assume any one particular answer or response, and you are mentally prepared to fully take in diverse encounters and opinions. A curious mind is more likely to discover new theories, envision new ideas, and test them out. Imagine all the brilliant ideas that are just waiting to be discovered with a little curious probing.
Curiosity also builds mental flexibility in terms of a high tolerance for uncertainty. So when a stressful situation comes up at work, you'll be able to handle it with less anxiety and more creativity. You'll approach these trying circumstances with a more positive attitude and even playfulness. You may not have heard this before, but curiosity is key for crisis management.
3. Curiosity will bring you new energy and joy.
When you are curious, you are an explorer. You are in a constant state of discovery, and this keeps the gears in your mind turning. By definition, curiosity is a "strong desire to know or learn something," and once you quench that curiosity you are elevated to a higher state of happiness and fulfillment.
The curiosity you bring to your work (and other areas of your life) will yield an even greater amount of happiness and inspiration. It will bring joy to your work.
In all, while we may think curiosity is a frivolous and naive thing, it's just not true. Be curious! Your career, and your ability to be flexible in an ever-changing career landscape, could depend on it.