February 6, 2013
By Michael Reuter
In his book, “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” John Maxwell shares his Law of Curiosity. He writes: “Curious people possess a thirst for knowledge. They are interested in life, people, ideas, experiences, and events, and they live in a constant state of wanting to learn more.
They continually ask why?” This is a gift that great leaders nurture and grow. It add luster and shine to their creativity, enabling them to imagine the unimaginable. He provides ten suggestions for developing a strong sense of curiosity.
1. Believe you can be curious – “You cannot be what you believe you aren’t.”
2. Have a beginner’s mind-set – “…wondering why and asking a lot of questions.”
3. Make why your favorite word – “Never forget, anyone who knows all the answers in not asking the right questions.”
4. Spend time with other curious people – “…seek out other curious people” – they serve as stimulants to you.
5. Learn something new every day – “Begin each day with a determination to learn something new, experience something different, or meet someone you don’t already know.”
6. Partake in the fruit of failure – “People who grow and develop see failure as a sign of progress.”
7. Stop looking for the right answer – “Single solution people are not putting themselves in the best situation to learn and grow. Why? Because this is always more than one solution to a problem.”
8. Get over yourself – Don’t be afraid of looking foolish. “If we never tried anything that might make us look ridiculous, we’d still be in caves.” Roger van Oech, author
9. Get out of the box – Have an abundance mindset – “There ain’t no rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something!” Thomas Edison, inventor
10. Enjoy your life – ‘The race will go to the curious, the slightly mad, and those with an unsatiated passion for learning and daredeviltry.” Tom Peters, In Search of Excellence
Walt Disney said: "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." This is the insatiable excitement and joy of life and the lives of great leaders – to find new opportunities, to see behind the mountain, imagine the unimaginable. Never stop asking why, for the answer to your question may be what could be. Remember the words of Plutarch, Greek historian and writer: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” Let your fire burn brightly and change the world. Life is so very good.
Michael M. Reuter
Director, Center for Leadership Development
Stillman School of Business
Seton Hall University