Curiosity is Queen to Establishing a Growth Mindset
Inspired by this week’s journey through the Moms Making Six Figures Podcast archives where we revisit one of our earlier and most popular episodes to date featuring successful Real Estate Consultant and Business Coach, Wendy Alexandre, a mother of seven who also happens to be the creator behind the scenes of the My WHIM Life Show and WendysWisdoms. Wendy believes in the power of possibility achieved through curiosity. She advises that in order to develop our own belief in the power of what is possible, we must first approach life and the opportunities it presents us with curiosity. Sometimes those opportunities present themselves as trials and change, and on rare occasion those opportunities can be recognized as the gifts they are in the moment, not just when reflect upon them after the fact. For those opportunities that are a bit harder to accept, Wendy encourages us to ask, “What is this trying to teach me?” By remaining curious, we remain open. Open to possibility and open to growth.
Curiosity is Essential
According to Forbes, whether or not an individual possesses curiosity, has a direct correlation to whether or not they will experience career growth. But why is that? “When you’re curious, you’re open. Open to exploring new ideas, experiences and possibilities. Open to meeting new people and learning new things. Open to leaving behind outdated mindsets and limiting beliefs to make room for your highest and best self.” Curiosity changes your perspective to one of viewing the world through the lens of what’s possible, and when you believe in possibility the world possesses as many opportunities as it does obstacles.
Curiosity is Creativity
Where others see a dead end, those who are curious see a detour and begin working to create new and improved solutions while others are retracing their steps and repeating the same patterns that led to the dead end in the first place. Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” When your brain is trained to approach the day-to-day with curiosity, you begin to learn new things everyday. In turn, your curiosity is rewarded with knowledge, and your growth mindset is further fostered. According to Evan Dwan, life coach and mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher, “When we practice curiosity, we are more likely to grow and develop our competence. The use of curiosity leads us to want to improve ourselves…we believe our skills, abilities and knowledge are not fixed, but can be developed.”
Curiosity is Composure
In the Harvard Business Review’s article, “Why Curiosity Matters”, the case is made for curiosity in the workplace as more than shifting perspectives and enhancing creativity and innovation—curiosity has also been proven to cause individuals to “think more deeply and rationally about decisions and come up with more creative solutions,” and, perhaps even more compelling, “Studies have found that curiosity is associated with less defensive reactions to stress and less aggressive reactions to provocation.” If curiosity causes us to become more open-minded and enhances our ability to think critically rather than reactively, it would stand to reason that our improved composure would also contribute to our growth mindset as our relationships with others also improve.
Curiosity is Dimensional
Furthering their research on the impact of curiosity in the professional world, the Harvard Business Review asserts that there are five different ‘dimensions’ of curiosity, and that these dimensions have a significant impact on how we conduct our work and whether or not we’re successful.
- Deprivation sensitivity—recognizing a gap in knowledge, the filling of which offers relief.
- Joyous exploration—being consumed with wonder about the fascinating features of the world.
- Social curiosity—talking, listening, and observing others to learn what they are thinking and doing.
- Stress tolerance—a willingness to accept and even harness the anxiety associated with novelty.
- Thrill seeking—being willing to take physical, social, and financial risks to acquire varied, complex, and intense experiences.
The study showed that the two dimensions –stress tolerance and socially curious—were most critical. “When someone doesn’t have the ability to tolerate stress they don’t actively seek out challenges, have an inquiry based approach, look for resources and share an opposing view so they are more likely to be resigned, exhausted and disengage. If someone is more socially curious they are better at solving issues with colleagues, seeking out and receiving support and they are more impactful at building trust, connection, respect and safety. People who are more stress tolerant and socially curious are also more innovative and creative.”
Curiosity is Positive Growth
The next time you’re challenged by an obstacle, facing a difficult interaction with a colleague, or hitting the burnout wall of your work week before Tuesday morning, try slowing down and asking yourself, “What is this teaching me?” “What can I learn from this?” “How can I improve this situation?” So much of our daily life is out of our control, whether at home or at work. Rather than staying stuck in a fixed mindset of fear, what if we began to approach those same anxiety triggers with curiosity instead? Amy Blashschka with Forbes reminds us that, “Curiosity is the antidote for a dull, passive, and mediocre life where you feel like you’re merely going through the motions. It’s hard to be negative, unkind, unhappy, bored, or stagnant when you’re learning new things, meeting new people, and [you remain] open to life’s possibilities.”