The exceptionally smart people I know are also exceptionally curious. They are always hunting for and exploring new ideas.
One of the first questions the curious will ask you is what you are reading. See my friend Jack Malcolm, and I dare you try to keep up with his voracious inhaling of books. The curious ask about what’s on your nightstand because they want to find out if you’ve discovered something they might also want to explore. They’re looking for new paths and new ideas.
When you run into the curious after a conference, they’ll ask you what you learned, what it meant, and how you plan to use your newfound ideas. See my friend Gerhard Gschwandtner, he just asked me about the conference where I just spoke and traded me two stories about what he learned at Dreamforce. Both of us ended up discovering more about what it means to be human.
Curious people also try to make sense of what they discover. Because they are always exploring new ideas, they have the ability to connect the dots, following one idea as it intersects or collides with another. They try to make sense of the world around them, and by doing so, they help other people make sense of things too.
Being curious will benefit you and your clients. Being well read and exposing yourself to new ideas makes you more interesting. It also helps to make you more resourceful by giving you reference points, stories, and examples of how other people solved problems. Your curiosity also helps to improve your business acumen, if you step onto the trail and explore business ideas—no matter how weird or how different they are from your business or your client’s businesses.
Satisfaction Brings You Back
Pick up a book about something outside of what you might normally read, but make sure it’s interesting. Find one reference within that book to something that sounds interesting and jump on that trail.
Watch a documentary about anything at all (except something that you would normally watch). Write down three observations or three lessons that struck you. What are the implications of what you learned?
Go to an event that you normally wouldn’t attend. (I just saw the band McFly at a conference, something I wouldn’t have done under any circumstances. They were great and I learned something about performing).
I’m curious to know what’s got your attention right now?