When considering what advice I would pass along as a “Last Lecture,” I had one thing immediately come to mind: Always Be Curious. Here’s why it’s advice worth remembering-
Curious people are:
Curious people realize that, while they may not be the answer or have the answer, they can help find the answer. They are observers in what is working/not working, and they become problem solvers because they don’t assume the first potential answer is the one and only solution. In fact, the curious people I know stand out because they want the right answer and are driven by finding Truth-not merely the illusion of truth.
Curious people are open to new ideas, people, and views that may not align with their own. They are not challenged by differences, but rather encouraged by diversity of thought and new perspectives. Curious people master the art of remaining confident in what they know to be true (based off of experience and intuition), but continually realize that there are many ways to accomplish a task. In being willing to observe people, conversations, and ideas as merely information, they allow themselves to be open to change. Remaining open to change promotes agility, which is a characteristic everyone is searching for in a continually changing and complex world.
Curious people are relational and look both inside and outside of themselves for answers. They ask more questions and take more time listening than they do talking. Those who are curious realize that there is valuable information to gather in the people, resources, and world around them. Often, as individuals mature and advance in their role, they forget that relationships are built through inquiry- the skill of asking opinions, thoughts, and questions of those around them. Curiosity in others and about others is an important skill in maintaining and building collaborative relationships in both the business world, and the world at large.
Curious people understand that answers don’t always come easy. They trust that the process of investigation and exploration will be valuable; even if it doesn’t lead them to the place they thought it would. They are hungry for knowledge and opportunity. Most importantly, they are not intimidated by failure. In fact, they continue to learn because they continually fail- but in failing they change and grow. Curious people tend to view failure and setbacks as a part of the process in discovering the truth about problems, people, and themselves.
I’ll leave you with this last thought. I once heard it said that “to be curious is to be alive.” The best advice I can give to others at this point in my life is to live– attempt to be alive in every area of your life by being curious about your work, about other people, and most importantly, about yourself.
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