Curiosity killed the cat”. How often have we heard that? We probably first heard it as children when adults couldn’t take the continuous WHYs. It conveyed the notion that curiosity was not a good thing – that somehow that were dire consequences arising from curiosity. But what are the true consequences of a curious mind?
How many of you have watched an infant lying in their crib? Its eyes move around its space looking at this and that until something catches its eyes. Then it stares wide-eyed at the object of its curiosity, then its hands reach out to grasp the object. It grabs hold tight and looks at it again, then it shakes it – this usually involves moving all four limbs at the same time – it stops and listens, looks some more and then it does what all infants are famous for – it puts it in its mouth. It may repeat the procedure a couple of times until having explored all the possibilities, it loses interest and moves on to the next object of interest. Curiosity is as natural to a child as breathing.
Curiosity fulfils a vital function in learning to deal with the environment we live in.
Curiosity allows the infant, the toddler, the child and the adult to explore the world around them, to expand their horizons, to learn how to function in their environment.
What would the world be without curiosity? It certainly would be much different from the world we know today. We owe so much to those curious people who asked – What if we were to do this? Or What would happen if we did things this way instead? Or Is it possible to do this? Or Is there a better way?
What we don’t know intrigues us more than what we do know. It is our nature.
If no one were curious enough to wonder whether or not man could fly, the aviation industry would not exist. Trying to build a better mousetrap has resulted in a wealth of labour saving devices and processes – like my favourites, the dishwasher and online banking!
And where does it stop? Supposedly it stops when we die – but haven’t all of us wondered about what really happens after?
I had a very dear friend, Lil, who at 92 moved into an assisted living facility (okay, it was a nursing home). Lil was still alert and vital. Her biggest complaint about the home was that it was filled with dull people. Looking around I saw that there were basically two types of people. One group like Lil. These were the residents whose eyes roamed about, first here and then there; the ones whose hands reached out to touch new items, to explore what was going on around them. They were the ones whose faces lit up when something new happened. The ones who were curious.
The others, they focused inward. They noticed nothing around them; they dwelled within their minds with an aura of completion, of a life that was done. They were the ones awaiting an end and had no interest in exploring their surroundings or expanding their horizons. I knew which group I wanted to join when my turn came.
Curiosity is the stuff from which we create our world. Curiosity is what sets the limits of that world. Curiosity is what defines the quality of the life we lead. It urges us forward, over and around obstacles. It pushes our limits and expands our mind. It is what gives our lives zip and vitality.
As a business owner, if you don’t have the curiosity to ask “how can I work smarter?”, “what processes can I improve to make my business run more efficiently”, “what changes do I need to make to keep up with technology?” If you don’t have the curiosity to ask how to make your business run better, more efficient and more competitive, you could be looking at needing to work harder and longer for less return.
A key factor in getting people interested in your product and services is curiosity as well. When you first meet someone for the first time it is curiosity that sparks the conversation -“What is your name?” – “What do you do?” – “Who do you think will win the championship?” – “Do you know where I can get . . . ?
The next time you hear someone say, “Curiosity killed the cat”, be sure to add that all-important rejoiner – “Satisfaction brought it back!”