26 May 2016

The Power of Genuine Curiosity.


“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

Albert Einstein.


When was the last time that you were genuinely curious or fully captivated and absorbed in a task or interaction? If you’re anything like me, it’s been a while. And yet, weren’t you often in that state of wonder or ‘I wonder’ when you were a child? It’s just not as much fun when we think we know the answer to everything that is, has or might happen. And often – it’s not so useful.

‘Confirmation Bias’ is our cognitive tendency to attach greater weight or pay more attention to information that is consistent with our existing view of the world.

Research consistently shows that we start to form an initial view of strangers within 3 seconds of meeting them and then, thanks to confirmation bias, we ‘filter’ in the ‘information’ that is consistent with our evolving opinion. That initial impression becomes reinforced and ultimately very difficult to shift.

As a consequence, we reach a settled dynamic in a relationship very quickly. That can lead to a familiarity that, whilst initially comforting, can in turn lead to contempt.

Genuine curiosity is a really effective antidote to confirmation bias. Accept that you don’t know what he/she is going to say or do, and adopt a state of active interest. It’ll change what you bring to the interaction, and the quality of the exchange might shift because of it. When we are genuinely open and curious we create space to notice the depth and the richness of things and people.

It’s far easier to form and maintain satisfying, significant relationships when we demonstrate an attitude of openness and genuine interest.

Who or what are you going to get curious about today?