I find myself talking to strangers a lot. When I go out to anyplace there is bound to be a conversation I start about all sorts of random stuff. I was at the grocery store last week and I asked an old woman “why she had so much sparkling water in her cart?” She was very surprised by this question but soon responded in a quite bubbly way that it helps her stay away from pop. What a great idea! I always end up getting into conversations with customer service on the phone. These strangers are trained to be robots but I like to get to know where they are actually from and what they like to do. Curiosity is quite powerful and because I see myself as a curious guy I picked up the book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer. Grazer is a big-shot Hollywood producer with a crap ton of movies and awards under his belt: A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Splash, Arrested Development, 24, 8 Mile, Empire, and J. Edgar to list a few. He credits his success to his curiosity because he is always asking questions and exploring ideas. A main component of him practicing curiosity is that he regularly conducts “Curiosity Conversations.” These one-on-one talks are with really interesting people who are highly acclaimed in their particular field: Margaret Thatcher, Ted Turner, Kanye West, Serena Williams, Jim Lovell, Isaac Asimov, Muhammad Ali, Jeff Bezos, among many others. Grazer is constantly asking questions and is always trying to expand his understanding of what makes people unique, accomplished, and creative.
Curiosity is driven by persistence and determination. Persistence drives you towards a certain goal with curiosity being the compass that leads you throughout the process. Questions steer curiosity in the correct course and can be a spark for creativity and inspiration. Furthermore, curiosity can be a tool for motivation, independence, confidence, storytelling, and courage. Most importantly, curiosity can be used for increasing human connection through sincerity, trust, and compassion. Curiosity is what drives us to call up a old friend to see how they are doing. Curiosity helps us dig deeply into the feelings of our partner and connect with them on another level. Curiosity leads us to making new relationships with a diverse array of people. We need to ask questions in our relationships that foster curiosity and project an aura of true caring. Don’t ask your kids “how was school today?” or your spouse “how was work today?”-the response will be … “good.” Get specific, take some effort in your questions, be curious about the details. Emphasize curiosity in your day to day because a curious person is a knowledgeable person. In respects to my curiosity, I want to practice using empowering questions that lead to open ended responses. No more, “How was your day?” but rather “What was the highlight of your day?” That was just one example but with practice I hope to give Grazer a run for his money.