I get a kick out of etymology; you know, the meaning behind words. When you break down the word “curiosity”, there are two root words: cura: Latin; to care, and osity: Latin; the quality of something. So, basically, the word “curiosity” means the quality of caring. When you demonstrate curiosity, you’re showing someone you care; specifically, when it’s genuine curiosity. At September’s Mastermind St. Louis event, we talked about the power of curiosity.

Think about it. The first ingredient of every relationship is curiosity. Need proof? Go back to grade school when you’re passing a note: “Will you go out with me? YES or NO?” The interest in the other person creates a great sense of openness and connection. Demonstrating curiosity helps you understand how things work, takes the guesswork out of a situation, and eliminates stress.

In fact, researchers have found that when you are curious about something two chemicals are released by the brain: dopamine and oxytocin. Sound familiar? It should; those are the two “feel good” hormones. By removing stress, curiosity also makes you feel good; it eliminates boredom and supports creativity. Curiosity opens your mind to the context of possibility.

So, how do you cultivate curiosity?

  1. First, start asking questions like, “How do things work?”, “Why do certain things happen?”
  2. Then, seek to understand before being understood. This is one of questions addressed in Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  3. Finally, spend time with others who demonstrate curiosity. You will influence them and they will influence you.

Once you’ve cultivated curiosity, develop a portfolio of good, quality questions (Yes! It’s coming; a blog about quality questions!). Having a portfolio of focused questions gives you the confidence to be curious and conduct effective one-on-one meetings. And, choose to meet with people who make you a bit uncomfortable. Chances are, these are your influencers. Then, block off your schedule so you can be prepared for the conversation and present for the discussion. Listen in a dedicated way to their responses to your curiosity-induced questions. Practicing these concepts demonstrates to that you care in a quality way. Stay curious!