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Be Curious. Be Alive.

What would be the topic of my “last lecture”?

As I once considered what final advice I would choose to pass along, one thing immediately came to mind: Always Be Curious. 

Curious people are…

Problem solvers. Curious people realize that while they may not be the answer or have the answer, they can help find the answer. They are observers of what is or isn’t working and don’t assume the first potential answer is the one and only solution. They stand out because they want the right answer and are driven by finding truth–not merely the illusion of truth.

Open. People who are curious are open to new ideas, people and views that may not align with their own. They are not challenged by differences, but are encouraged by diversity of thought and new perspectives. They master the art of remaining confident in what they know to be true (based on experience and intuition), but realize there are many ways to accomplish a task. Willing to observe people, conversations and ideas as merely information, they allow themselves to be open to change. Openness to change promotes agility, an important characteristic in a continually changing and complex world.

Relational. Curious people are relational and look both inside and outside of themselves for answers. They ask more questions and listen more than talk. Those with curiosity realize there is valuable information to gather from the people, resources and world around them. As individuals mature and advance in their roles, they often forget relationships are built through inquiry: the skill of asking for opinions and thoughts of those around them. Curiosity about others is an important skill for maintaining and building collaborative relationships.

Learners. Curious people understand answers don’t always come easy. They trust the process of investigation and exploration will be valuable–even if it doesn’t lead them to the place they thought it would. They are hungry for knowledge and opportunity. Most importantly, they are not intimidated by failure. They continue to learn because they are open to fail, but in failing they change and grow. Curious people frequently view failure and setbacks as part of the process for discovering the truth about problems, people and themselves.

I once heard it said, “to be curious is to be alive.”

The best advice I can offer is to live fully–to attempt to be alive in every aspect of your existence by being curious about your work, about other people, and most importantly…about yourself.

Written by: Stacie Burley, Former Milestone Leadership Associate

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