Timing, patience and personal interests: Reflections on my personal curiosity practice
The benefits of being more curious are well documented, curiosity is one of The Customer Closeness Company’s most strongly held values and, as a business, we train marketers on how to be more customer curious. For me, incentive to be curious is clearly not a problem. That said, how do I find a way of ‘being curious’ when my inbox feels a bit like the magic porridge pot – bottomless, and at times overflowing? It’s a question I often get asked when working with client teams. The reality is that the answer is different for everyone but these are my reflections on my personal curiosity practice:
1. Timing matters: when it comes to forming a curiosity habit, finding the time of day that works is crucial. It works best for me when I’m in ‘work’ mode (or transitioning to/from work mode), when I’m open to a bit of slow thinking and when I feel confident that 30 mins away from the inbox won’t result in an apocalypse. For me, it’s 8am on a Monday morning, over a cup of coffee, before I open my laptop. For others, that is absolutely the worst time of the week – so finding the time that works for you is vital.
2. Be patient: I’ve found that some of my curiosity activities take me out of my comfort zone - they’re not what I’d choose to do e.g scroll through Twitter, or feature sources that don’t guarantee relevance, but I’ve found that by casting the net wide and just ‘sitting’ with the content, connections and themes start to show themselves that otherwise would have been invisible. With patience, gems do emerge. For instance, Epictetus, James Clear and Joe Wicks (a broad set of sources I’m sure most would agree) all emphasise the importance of action (doing) over motion (prepping….the illusion of action). It’s influenced how I work.
3. Follow your interests: an unexpected outcome of my curiosity practice has been discovering a school of thinking that I’ve found personally relevant in the most unlikely of sources. I’ve mentioned Epictetus who popped up as a reference (he has a rather ‘direct’ style of motivation which was a sharp contrast to modern day authors) and I’ve gone on to explore the Stoics – Seneca, Marcus Aurelius – as a direct result of my curiosity habit. A fresh perspective on the world that I find rather liberating.
My curiosity practice now has an established time and place in my life. Having found the timing sweet spot during my week; worked through the ‘what’s the point of this?’ phase; and accidentally stumbled upon Hellenistic philosophy that’s right up my street, my curiosity habit is here to stay.