Did you see the curious kid on the playground?
Do you ask yourself why kids are so curious while most adults are not?
Can you assess your curiosity level and be honest to yourself about how curious you are?
Were you more curious when you were younger?
These are only part of the questions asked from the authors of international research about curiosity in adults, conducted in eleven countries back in 2019. According to the study, fifty-eight percent of adults start losing their curiosity after the age of twenty-two. The same research also points that thirty-six percent of people after the age of forty-five years are not curious to try any new things in their life and stick to what is familiar to them.
In a world where things change so rapidly, lacking curiosity to try new things can lead every person from the top of success to a complete failure. But, evolving technologies, emerging conflicts, and challenges, a fast-paced environment demand constant change for everyone to stay competitive and be a successful contributor to its team and company.
But with so many people losing their curiosity in life growth, companies are struggling with innovations and creating competitive advantage.
Between 2015 and 2020, the number of suppliers offering training to develop creativity had doubled. While senior leaders see creativity to stay competitive on the market, HR people have included the requirement for creativity in the job ads, all the messages that are communicated within the communities companies work in, etc.
While trying to re-build creativity, people from different industries replaced it with copying things from the past. This is most obvious in the fashion and music industries and happens in the movie industry, the high-tech industry, etc. The new copying is known as an upgrade.
Personally, people are trying to copy successful behaviors. For example, many leaders have published books about how they have succeeded. And ordinary people have started copying their style, actions, and even external look and manners.
But copying something new is by default not a good choice if you want to develop your creativity.
There is a famous say about this situation “Fake it till you make it.” And this renowned say is only here to show us that no matter the time we need to invest, our end goal should not be to continue copying things but to learn how to be creative.
“Creativity starts after you develop a curiosity for everything around you” – the famous words of Bill Gates – Founder of Microsoft – that resonate to everyone in every different situation. No matter what you start, if you do not start it with curiosity in mind for something new, you will need to stay with the copy option for a long time. Here are three things everyone can do to help develop curiosity toward the path of developing creativity:
ASK WHY? for the simple things
When people grow older, they start showing one very annoying defense mechanism – not admitting that they want to know why something happens. If you look at a five-year-old kid, you will see the complete opposite behavior. If you say that something is happing in a particular way, the kid always asks WHY, and after the subsequent explanation, you get the same question. In some cases, kids ask so many WHY questions that you become unable to answer them at one moment. While this looks annoying when someone grows adult, it is the key to open the door to your curiosity. No matter how simple the thing looks or how stupid you think you will look, try to implement a WHY question in different situations. At first, you will feel uncomfortable with that – after all, the defense mechanism of shame is one of the strongest within adult people. Still, you will start to understand how important it is to ask WHY, to enable you and others around you to learn and develop through finding new things and having new insights. We do not know all the answers. There is nothing to shame to ask for anything we do not understand why it is happening.
NEVER STOP ASKING “STUPID” QUESTIONS
Kids are so annoying sometimes. They never stop asking questions. You have already explained something that they come back in just a few hours or days and ask again. For a detail that looks obvious, even for them, they go and ask. Compared to the kids, grown people do not ask so many questions. Instead, they try to “figure out” the answers to “obvious questions.” So many of them stop themselves from being accepted as “stupid or annoying.” And his is where the big mistake happens, and curiosity dies. Trying not to look stupid, we stop ourselves from learning new things.
It is more critical now than ever before to become curious. We need to invest time in learning new things and trying to implement what we have learned in the organization, the team, or the environment, we work. Unfortunately, according to a Gallup report from 2019, which included the answers of more than sixty thousand people, there is a decrease in curiosity within the adults’ population with thirty-four percent than the lids and teenagers around the USA. When growing up, people lose their will to be curious and replace it with easy-to-use search engines, ready to read information from social networks, TV shows and news, etc.
If there is a chance for everyone to return to their roots and begin being curious again, then that person has to move away from the mindset that grown-ups do not ask questions for everything. Instead, asking questions should be turned into culture and value specifically in every company. By encouraging asking questions, the company and the leader can ensure that people learn new things every day. There is no stupid question, and what looks on the surface like a “stupid question with obvious answer” can quickly become an entirely new area for exploration and a business opportunity missed by many people before you.
With the words of Mahama Gandhi – “There are no stupid or clever questions. You will need to ask them all to find what opportunities the world can offer you..”
FIGHT FEELING OF STAGNATION
“I will look so stupid if I ask this question in front of everyone.”
“It is not good to show everyone that does not know this thing.”
Have you heard or had one of these thoughts. Well, you are not alone.
Let me tell you a short story that happened to me in 2017. I have then joined a promising company. My role was right under the country business Procurator. One day we met the company owner who insisted on getting a short report about personnel from us. I wanted to ask for details, but the Procurator and a colleague from my department stopped me with the words that they know what the owner wants. So we prepared the report and sent it to him. One week later, the three of us – me, my colleague, and the Procurator, received a short e-mail from the owner that it was not what he expected, but we can discuss it the next time we see each other. The day came, and we met the owner again. HE explained what he wanted and received the usual answer from both – my colleague and the Procurator. But this time, my reaction was different. While thinking that the explanation is over, the owner asked if we could move ahead with our meeting agenda. I stood up and said “NO” because I need to ask several more questions about what he needed as a report on the personnel. So we invested another twenty minutes in discussing what he needs. I asked another fourteen questions, and he answered patiently to all of them. After that, we moved to the point in our agenda for the meeting. The following week we presented to him the report he wanted. And it was what he wanted to see, with no compromises.
This story is an excellent example of how we lose time and put enormous effort into things that do not lead to anything positive. And WHY – because we do not feel comfortable to be curious and ask. Many people are struggling with that bias in their work and personal lives. But the change is just around the corner. If you want to deliver better results, do not feel frightened to show curiosity about other side needs, feelings, etc. Pushing yourself to overcome the feeling of stagnation is optimistic and will bring everyone to higher results quickly.
There is always something that comes our way while putting efforts to deliver this next milestone or the report someone needs, or just trying to understand what someone else is saying or doing. The art of being curious is somehow lost for the adults. But if we turn back to it and re-create our curiosity, we will deliver better results and feel more comfortable in our work and personal life. So,… how curious are you, and Are you ready to boost your creativity?