This post was written by Deb Brown Maher of Deb Brown Sales. To connect with Deb, see the information in the bio at the end of this post.
Everyone’s heard the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” A similarly disparaging saying dates back to AD 397 when St. Augustine wrote “… In the eons before creating heaven and earth, God fashioned hell for the inquisitive.” Both expressions paint a bleak picture of the outcomes when someone dares to be curious.
But There is Another Side to Curiosity That Shouldn’t be Ignored.
Merriam-Webster defines curiosity as “an inquisitive interest in others’ concerns” and an “interest leading to inquiry.” Curiosity is what arises when something grabs our attention, causing us to pause, observe, and wonder. Lack of curiosity leads only to presumptions which are limited by the hearer’s knowledge and experience. On the other hand, curiosity expressed leads to asking questions that go beneath the surface, revealing a deeper understanding, an enlarged perspective of the person and the subject at hand.
Curiosity is a “Must-Have” in Every Conversation.
Here’s why I state this as an absolute: Connections are made where needs and supply intersect. Curiosity helps us discover not just the surface need, but the deeper, often hidden reasons driving a person’s feelings. Surface statements rarely give insight into the experience or beliefs that cause someone to think and behave the way they do.
Curiosity prompts us to understand the other person at the level of their greatest needs, wants, and desires — because it sets the table for people to share those deeper emotions with us. Asking invites the expression of truth, which many people won’t share unless they are asked. In my experience, most people don’t take the time to go deep enough. Let’s face it, it takes a willingness to explore feelings, which many people find uncomfortable discussing. Caring deeply for others can get uncomfortable, but with the Lord’s guidance you’ll be able to navigate this in workplace-appropriate ways.
Assumptions Are the Enemy of Curiosity.
As we interact with others, we are constantly drawing conclusions at a subconscious level. Without facts we will fill in the gaps with assumptions based purely on our own perspective. It’s all too easy to project how we think and how we feel onto someone else, thereby drawing inaccurate conclusions which we assume are “reality”. The problem is that they aren’t reality. They are fabrications of our imagination that can be relationship killers in the end.
Here is a Challenge to You.
Be aware of the power of curiosity as you interact with people in the marketplace. Train your mind to pause, listen, and ask to gain a deeper understanding of colleagues, customers, and vendors alike. Ask the Lord’s help with what to say that will help you connect more quickly and effectively with others. The more you practice, the more you learn about others, and ultimately you’ll be better positioned to share the love of Jesus. I guarantee that you’ll be amazed at how much you learn about what’s important to others when you pause, listen, and ask the person you’re with to share more. Being curious can be a very “God/Good” thing.
Featured photo by Ludovic Migneault on Unsplash; In-text photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Pexels
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Well said! I remain dissatisfied at the amount of assuming I consistently do. Thanks for the challenge in the post. I need to be more curious and stop jumping to conclusions (which is my go-to exercise)!
Thanks for a great challenge Deb!
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