Misconceptions about curiosity

Misconceptions about curiosity

As people, we’re naturally curious. From the time we are babies to our first words and time spent imagining, the human mind is naturally curious and eager to explore. Curiosity is not a behaviour that we need to learn but rather one that must be nurtured and embodied as we grow but due to many misconceptions around it, our curiosity can be brushed off and stifled.

Myth #1: There’s no point in being curious

There is a misconception that curiosity is just an idea forming or an ideation stage or it’s just simply daydreaming. Or perhaps in a corporate space, people might not see it as something that produces tangible results. But when applied correctly, curiosity will always be accompanied by action. There is a big part of curiosity that is about ideation and asking questions. But then you need to take those questions, ideas and innovative discussions and you need to go and do something. Then after your action, you come back to the drawing board and you ideate again. It’s a very iterative process. For me, it’s a perfect match between thinking and action and thinking and results. It’s not purely a thinking process.

The more we do this, the more we break away from it being just a daydreaming activity that doesn’t produce anything valuable in the end. Perhaps if we start to look at it again in this way, then you’d find companies, as an example, buying into and being intentional about spaces where curiosity can flourish.

Myth #2: You’re wasting time

Research shows that while curious people may take longer to think through some things, they are more likely to think deeper than those who are less curious. They take more time to think because they can look at a problem and ask more questions while figuring out different ways to close the gap. So instead of rushing people, we need to create the time, space and value the slowing down process.

While it’s true that we will not always have the opportunity to allow for a longer thinking time, we have to challenge this culture where everything is fast-paced and done quickly. Some tasks need urgency but in other cases, it benefits us to slow down. As Nancy Kline says, “slow down in order to go far”, take your time so you know you are working on the right thing, towards the right goal, with the right people.

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