Curiosity is the lust of the mind

A quick note about the title of this post, it is a quote by Thomas Hobbes a 17th century philosopher best known for his book Leviathan which is a foundational work on political and social thought and structure. Curiosity as a notion is often thought of as a dangerous state- after all it killed the cat. It seems that as adults we often lose this ability to question, take risks and explore whereas children are absolutely full of curiosity; it is a lynchpin of how they learn

Childlike Curiosity

Fairly standard stuff it appears but I remember sticking my fingers in a plug socket as a child and getting thrown across the room (I know – I can hear health & safety screams).  It taught me a very valuable lesson though.

CURIOUS TODDLERI’ve had to watch friends’ children do all sorts of mad things, luckily with little damage, but I love the fact that their curiosity drove them to investigate. They’ve put all sorts of detritus into their mouths to work out what was ‘yuk’ and what was ‘yum’ though some of the yum stuff was undesirable.  It is a shame that the sort of curiosity to explore, investigate and find out is somehow knocked out of us.  Maybe we hear the word “NO” too often as children and maybe as adults we should limit our use of the negative with our own children? I am not advocating a reckless approach to child rearing, simply a less knee jerk reaction to childlike interest in the world around us.

Curiosity is the capacity to question

When we are curious we want to know why and why not? But it is more than that, we also are willing to experiment and explore, sometimes with unforeseen results and a lesson is learned. The spirit of curiosity was behind man’s desire to fly to the moon, find cures for disease and the invention of the Internet to name just a handful of breakthroughs.

Curiosity Quotient as a Business Skill

It is possible to learn just about anything nowadays with a few clicks. This volume of information can, in itself, be overwhelming. In business we tend to value IQ and to an extent EQ (emotional quotient) but there is also value in CQ – the curiosity quotient.

CQ leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art

Curiosity1People who are curious want to learn, find out and acquire knowledge and skills which they then implement and this is valuable for business. Rather than be overwhelmed by the availability of information, it excites them. We traditionally think of school and work as being separate yet clear evidence shows that to properly handle the 21st century we need to be lifelong learners. Children and young teens are constantly learning, much of this learning is outside of formal school education.

Business adults would do well to cultivate this curiosity about the world as it keeps the mind agile, working, exercising. Curiosity literally opens the mind to possibilities which you miss with closed and narrow thinking. It is also rather exciting as there is an element of risk involved as you step outside of your comfort zone and ask why? If knowledge is power, then it makes sense to acquire that knowledge and that is best done through questioning.

How to cultivate your Curiosity quotient

What you know is not fixed and more importantly what you discover for yourself is always more profound than what somebody else tells you. Being curious, exploring and finding out is very satisfying as it is a totally personal experience.

Step 1- Don’t take things for granted…the death knell of many a business is the phrase, “we’ve always done it this way” – WHY?

Step 2- Question – yes become that child asking Why? Who? What? When? How? When faced with a challenge rather than run and hide start questioning and dig into it before you decide you are not up to the task

Step 3 – Avoid superficiality – dig deeper. It is all too easy to skate across life without looking any deeper. We do it in relationships and at work; settling for the what of the situation and never asking the why?

Step 4 – Revisit your dreams. When you were a child what was it that fascinated you? Maybe you still have a secret desire to be able to play the guitar, understand astronomy, visit a new country. Tap into that innate childlike curiosity and go find out more; explore, take a chance. At the very least it will rejuvenate you and enrich your life.

I am a curious person; I see possibilities in many situations and have greatly benefitted from pursuing my curiosity. This is why I always investigate opportunities. My curiosity gets me to investigate and look into them further. I work out whether it is a yuk or a yum for me and then taken actions accordingly.

My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities,

and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities

Mario Testino, Photographer (

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