Curiosity is an important professional trait to embrace. Look at any successful entrepreneur or industry leader and you will not find any one of them who wasn’t curious. Albert Einstein himself once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
But why is curiosity so important to fuel your success? To begin with, curiosity makes your mind open of new ideas. When you are curious, your mind expects and anticipates new ideas, helping you improve your problem-solving skills. Besides, the life of curious professionals is neither dull nor routine. There are always new things that attract your attention; there are always new ‘toys’ you can play with.
To discuss how -young IT professionals can remain curious and grow, I invited Simarpreet Singh, Co-Founder of SockSoho, for this week’s career conversation. Simarpreet shared some invaluable lessons that have personally helped him keep up his entrepreneurial spirit and run a successful fashion tech company.
Become aware of your knowledge gaps
Being aware of our own knowledge gap can sometimes act as an incentive to learn more, because by definition, curiosity arises when you experience a gap between what you know and what you want to know.
So, be willing to learn, unlearn, and re-learn. This means being proactive at every stage of your life and remaining open to new learnings. Once you get good at one aspect of your job, resist the temptation to build solely on that. Rather shift your curiosity and attention to your professional weaknesses. Not only will it prevent you from burning out at what you’re good at, but it’ll also make you more proficient in the long run.
Avoid routine and take up challenges
A set routine is considered an active enemy of curiosity. To stimulate curiosity, change things up a little. Start with finding a different way to do things at your daily job. Doing something as simple as writing a fresh response (not a scripted one) to your client after addressing a tech issue can get your brain thinking differently.
In other words, make the effort to step out of your comfort zone at work. If there’s a crazy new assignment up for grabs that will take you out of your normal routine, take the initiative and sign up for it. Not only will it introduce you to new territory, but you get to meet new people, learn new skills, and maybe even surprise yourself.
Learn to ask questions till your curiosity is satisfied
As we spend most of our time focusing on finding a solution, we often forget to acknowledge the importance of the question. Questions foster curiosity and keep us open to learning. The more questions you ask, the more things you will find to be curious about.
Once you have a good question, figure out how to further break down the question. Take time to thoroughly consider and reflect on the questions. Each question can lead to another. Begin with a broad question, and then ask gradually more specific follow-up questions. Or, do the opposite; begin with a narrow scope and gradually widen your focus.
Develop a “getting-things-done” mindset
It is also important to see learning at work as something fun. If you see learning as a not fun, there’s no way you will want to dig deeper into anything. That will just make you not want to learn. Also, whenever you label your job as boring, you close one more door of possibilities.
Try to dig deeper beneath the surface with a “getting-things-done” mindset. Getting things done does not mean meeting deadlines. It is about having clear goals and being focused on using all resources – time and energy – in a purposeful way.
To create and maintain daily motivation to get things done — write your goals down. Even if they are big, lofty tasks — it helps to see them on paper broken out into smaller steps that can be taken to help steer you in the right direction. Staying organized and having a task list will help you see what’s coming up, evaluate your priorities, and tackle your to-do list as efficiently as possible.
Record your ideas in a journal
Become more conscious of curiosity. Make an effort to remind yourself to find something to spark your curiosity each day. Every time something sparks your interest or raises a question, note it down. So, the next time you read a book for example on cybersecurity, challenge yourself to find something to investigate.
More important than the learning itself is the process of learning. At the end of a “curiosity project,” write down everything you have learned about the topic and the experience.
Final Thoughts: Curiosity is the key quality that allows for innovation – something all employers look for to make the workplace more dynamic. So, start channeling your curiosity towards professional growth by acknowledging your knowledge gaps. It will make you hungry to learn new things, to grow, to adapt through any professional challenge.