Curiosity is Power! Sitting on our dock one day last week, a colleague/friend came up with this as the title for the book we are currently writing. We discussed it and realized how true this is in our world as we transition to a society that values relationships, seeks to understand the perspectives of others so we can build collaboration. In our words, so we can see, hear and understand each other.
For the past week I have been reflecting on ‘Curiosity is Power’ and really like it. How do we cultivate curiosity for ourselves and others? To us, it seems curiosity is about asking questions, *open questions that invite others to share their perspectives on any and every topic. Open questions help us test assumptions, which in many ways are the antithesis of curiosity. So often we listen to others, assume what we think they mean is in fact what they mean and move along with our complete picture of what they have said. They assume we understand what they have said because we agree with them and we assume we understand what has been said because we have a clear picture of what we think has been said, from which we have created our perspective on the issue.
How often do you think our assumptions and their assumptions have helped us all move towards clarity, a place where we are all ‘on the same page’? How often do we even check to make sure this has happened? In our fast paced lives, we move on, assuming we all understand each other.
Now that we test assumptions, we have learned this is typically not the case. What we assume someone has meant by their comments is in fact not the reality and typically we are not on ‘the same page’. By asking open questions, we are able to test assumptions, gain clarity, and better understand the perspectives of others. Curiosity helps us to get to a place where we truly are on ‘the same page’. Through open questions, we are able to better understand each other and with this understanding, we all gain power. We see, hear and understand each other which enables us to foster more effective relationships and collaborate effectively.
There used to be an expression ‘knowledge is power’ and we would invite you to think of ‘curiosity is power’ as the new expression, one which reflects the value of truly seeking to understand each other.
Over the next week we encourage you to think about being curious in your next conversation. As you listen, what can you be curious about? What open question can you ask that supports curiosity, maybe even tests an assumption?
What have you learned from this exercise? How can you build, and sustain, curiosity in your life?
*Open questions begin with who, what, where, when, and how. Tell me more is also a great way to gain understanding, learn more and remain curious in a conversation.