“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious “
– Albert Einstein
Have you ever felt like you are doing the same job over and over, that you have the same tasks, the same meetings with the same people? Maybe you have also felt like you know your job so well you don’t even have to think about it, then suddenly you look around only to find all your energy has disappeared?
Through the years, I have had the chance to work in different fields and in different companies, from very small to really big. But one thing remained constant: I was always curious. That curiosity kept me motivated, and had a massive impact on my career – I think curiosity is what helps me learn things that I don’t have to learn, to improve my performance, to establish good work relationships and to constantly experience progress in my career.
Specialization or generalization?
Some of the most successful people I have met have totally diverse backgrounds. During the Renaissance period, the most successful people were those who knew how to speak well, sing, paint, draw and generally have many other skills. One of them was Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor, physicist, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, biologist… or how about Elon Musk, a pioneer of the 21st century. These people are called polymaths and they believe that different backgrounds and interests gave them the possibility to have innovative approaches and solve problems they would not be able to solve with just one specialization.
During the last two centuries, people began to believe that deep specialization gives better results (even humans are natural polymaths). But, really, do we need to specialize or generalize? In the last few years there are more and more people thinking that the more deeply you specialize, you tend to get stuck in your own points of view, and experience a loss of creativity. I think that modern workspaces really need people with the ability to see the bigger picture, people who are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Working in the IT industry, I see people need to learn new things and skills every day, they have to stay up to date. Specialization in one certain skill just isn’t enough for this industry and this century, you have to keep your mind active, and active minds are curious.
So, if you feel like your job has become too routine for you, you have probably lost the curiosity, and you have to bring it back.
Here are 4 things you have to think about in order to improve curiosity:
1. Turn confusing things into a learning opportunity
People easily fall into habits, doing the same thing every day because that way they feel safe. But if you want to jump-start productivity, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Curious people are eager to discover and solve complex problems, they see this as an opportunity.
2. Ask questions, even dumb questions
Questions are the best way to learn, as proven when you were a kid. Asking questions will improve your relationships with co-workers and collaboration on a project, but also make you more curious about the things they do. Even little obvious questions can lead to bigger ones.
Some studies have showed that people who ask questions, are better at retaining information, so if you are curious you will learn more quickly.
3. Take time for curiosity
Everyone has boring tasks, or tasks they just can’t wait to finish. But avoid routine, take a break, give yourself time for curiosity, change things up a bit.
Try to find a different way to do some of your daily tasks (every 2 hours take a break and think of some ideas in your head – don’t just google it). Try to diversify your interests and reallocate your more interesting tasks throughout the day.
4. Ask yourself what keeps you passionate
You have probably been in a situation where you could not solve a problem for days, and then one moment of inspiration – one breakthrough, helped you solve a really tough problem. But… to find that moment you need curiosity. You have to find something that keeps you passionate about the things that you do, because that passion will help you to stay creative and to reach that breakthrough more rapidly.
At a time where you can find everything on Google, where you are able to learn things without formal education, and especially if you are working in the tech sector, it seems that 21st-century polymaths are needed.
Some of us have one true interest, and some of us feel bored working on just one project. No matter how you feel, you have to encourage yourself to think outside of the box and to try to shake things up a little bit. Curiosity will help you to connect the dots in a way that no one expects, to learn and grow faster.
So while curiosity may have killed the cat, it does wonders for the human mind. It help you become the scientist, the engineer, the great thinker. So do yourself a favour, be curious.
About the Author
Sabina Grcić is working in the Talent and Marketing department at Atlantbh. Her years of experience in different fields contributes to her understanding of people. Sabina began her career as a Marketing Manager, and today is involved in all marketing and talent management processes.
All information in this specific blog represents the personal opinion of Sabina Grcic and does not necessarily reflect that of Atlantbh.