The Curiosity Quotient: Insights from the Sydney Writers’ Festival

Curiosity Quotient The Curiosity Quotient: Insights from the Sydney Writers’ Festival

Last week I attended the Sydney Writers’ Festival and was fortunate enough to hear Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer prize-winning author and New York Times columnist about the age of acceleration in his new book, Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. He made a very compelling argument that in order to equip ourselves well for future work, we need to adopt five mindsets;

  • First: think like an immigrant, because we are all immigrants to the age of acceleration.
  • Second: think like an artisan. Don’t settle for being a cog in the machine. Instead take such pride in the outcome that you want to carve your initials into it.
  • Third: think like an innovator. Don’t consider yourself a “finished product rather a product in. “permanent beta”, like a software release. Be a lifelong learner and be ready to reinvent, re-engineer or reimagine your job before someone does it to you.”
  • Fourth: think like an entrepreneur.
  • Fifth: Friedman uses an equation to describe his fifth point: PQ + CQ = >IQ. In today’s world, he argues, it is more important to be passionate and curious than to be merely smart….. “individuals with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) are able leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime.”

The importance of curiosity has been written about lots in recent years including this HBR article, “Curiosity is as Important as Intelligence.” From our work at CFCD we believe, the best part about one’s curiosity quotient is that it can be developed and honed.

How can you develop curiosity?   

Curiosity starts with questions. At work and play ask more open-ended questions. People have rich and interesting stories which we can tap into if we take the time to ask more questions.

Try tapping into content you know little about. George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested in a journal article The psychology of curiosity: A review and reinterpretation that the more we start to learn, the more we want to know.

Listen to understand and without judgement – next time you have a conversation, listen with an open mind to truly absorb what is being said.

Go to people not social media. While social media has its benefits, the most dynamic learning occurs when we interact face to face with people as they help trigger thoughts and actions that in turn inspire curiosity

Read widely and deeply, and explore content outside your comfort zone.

Written by Gabrielle Droulers, Director at CFCD

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