Great Minds Ask Great Questions

Tom Peters – Seth Godin – Leonardo da  Vinci: a unique trio?

All of us come into the world curious.

I saw it in the birth and development of each of my four children. In different but equally valid ways, I see it in my 5 1/2-year-old grandson, my 3-year-old granddaughter, my 1 year-old granddaughter, and my 5 month-old granddaughter.

We’ve all got it; the challenge is using and developing it for our own benefit. I think our curiosity is at its highest from birth through our first few years. A baby’s every sense is attuned to exploring and learning – everything is an experiment. They don’t know it yet; to them it’s just survival. Then in a few months, or years, their curiosity becomes vocal:

• Daddy, how do birds fly?

• Mommy, what does a worm eat?

• Why? How? When? What?

It’s easy to lose our curiosity as we grow into adulthood – after all, we think we know it all (or at least everything we need to know.)

Not really.

Great, growing, learning minds go on asking confounding questions with the same intensity as your curious three-year old. A childlike sense of wonder and insatiable curiosity will compel you to always be a learner.

From Seth Godin:

I’ve noticed that people who read a lot of blogs and a lot of books also tend to be intellectually curious, thirsty for knowledge, quicker to adopt new ideas and more likely to do important work. I wonder which comes first, the curiosity or the success?

From Tom Peters:

Swallow your pride, especially if you are a “top” boss. Ask until you understand. The “dumber” the question, the better! Ask! Ask! Ask! (Then ask again!). Above all, sweat the details – the weird, incomprehensible “little” thing that appears in Footnote #7 to Appendix C that doesn’t make sense to you. Probe until you find out what it means.

From Leonardo da Vinci:

Do you not see how many and varied are the actions which are performed by men alone? Do you not see how many different kinds of plants and animals there are? What variety of hilly and level places, and streams and rivers, exist? I roam the countryside searching for answers to things I do not understand. These questions engage my thought throughout my life.

A few questions for you:

• How curious are you?

• When was the last time you sought knowledge simply for the pursuit of truth?

• Do you know curious (really curious) people?

• Do you want to be a lifelong learner?

Without “why?” there can be no “here’s how to make it better.”


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