Growing up, I had always associated snoopy and nosy with the word ‘curious’. About 7 years ago, I was going through some life-changing events and adjusting to the new reality. A lot of people reached out to ask what was happening and how I was handling things and offered help. I had my answers memorized and rattled them out like a robot. One day a friend asked, “How are you feeling?” I realized that I had not stopped to ask that to myself till that moment. I was making checklists of everything that needed to be done and when and how etc. This question got me in touch with my overwhelm and address it.
Due to the negative connotations attached to curiosity, one needs the courage to be curious. However, heart-felt curiosity can indicate compassion, kindness, a desire to understand, and help. It goes beyond the transactional interaction and establishes connections between people. I believe we need curiosity in this polarized world, which is getting smaller by the day. Every day, we interact with people from all over the world, whose ways of life, patterns of thinking and behaving are different from ours. If we knew them more as people, our interactions would be engaging, energetic, and empathetic. Being curious leads us to understand other people’s world view and makes us more open-minded and inclusive.
Curious team members are interested in each other’s ideas and share information more openly. If things go wrong, they do not remain attached to their own perspective. They are less defensive, less aggressive, and more willing to explore alternatives to get the best possible result for the project.
If we could be genuinely interested in others and listen with an open mind, each one of us would contribute to lesser conflict, higher productivity, and more inclusion.