My five year old daughter is obsessed with the idea of make-up. She thinks it’s cool to dab lipstick, rouge and eye shadow. And she has a mom who has very very limited stock of such things.
I wonder if I had such a fascination for make up – my mom was a non-user and it’s quite possible there would have been curiosity.
I have noticed curiosity in most people is when they have some exposure to the topic or subject and they feel an urge to be more knowledgeable about it. There will be 100 other topics which will be in front of their eyes or being which they will not bother about. This selection of what to be curious about has its advantages and disadvantages.
At the workplace it sometimes helps to be not curious – you don’t want to be branded as a nosey person. At the same time care and concern regarding other human beings come naturally to us, especially women. The other disadvantage of being overtly curious at workplace is that you may get to know something you really don’t want to know about because it will conflict with your values and motivation.
The advantages however far exceed the flip side, isn’t it? Being curious at work helps you to learn and improve better – whether it be your skills, process, business impact or influence.
During coaching skills training, I learnt an important skill that will help individuals navigate in the political word of being in a corporate – detached curiosity. All it means is being curious without being affected by the information you receive. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Sometimes it does feel that to be able to practise detached curiosity requires a Buddhist approach to life. However I have noticed mindfulness is sufficient to help with this. You don’t need to give up worldly pleasures – but you do need to be conscious of them. Mindfulness should help one realise when one is getting attached to the information being received and slowly untangle the feelings from the thought.
I can’t claim I have mastered this but I am on the journey. Next time you catch me being emotional, do remind me of detached curiosity! 🙂