Are we still curious?

Some thoughts on stupid, dumb questions, curiosity and how we can retain our creative being.

A week ago, a colleague asked me to check out her latest blog post. I wrote back: “The topic is good, but it needs more explanation.” She replied: “what exactly do you mean by that?

Now, any content writer would understand what I meant. But, the colleague I was corresponding with, was no content writer. She was plucked right out of business school and made a social media executive, before becoming a content creator. As she grows, she learns. But, what fascinated me was that she asked a stupid question. I ran through all of my email responses and I discovered that I no longer ask stupid questions, at least since 2015. It’s partly because we no longer want to call them stupid or dumb questions.

Coming back to her question: “what exactly do you mean by that?” According to her, I could have meant almost anything. It’s a simple reminder that people aren’t always on the wavelength that you currently inhabit. Some are on higher wavelengths, some lower. I understood that I was being vague and she was in fact, being curious.

In his 1995 book, Carl Sagan observed:

“There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

Carl Sagan was one of the most influential persons of the late twentieth century. And, he was magnificently curious. We need to bring in a little bit of curiosity into our lives. Even in agency briefings, we never ask questions like: “why exactly are we doing this?” We simply nod and start working, without asking the key questions. The “why” tells you about the playing field. The “what” clarifies the overall objective. And, the “how” sharpens your inner vision.

The secret to creativity is curiosity.

So, how do you bring curiosity into your work? The internet made it so easy for us to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones. Do you remember the time when you would gushingly login to your Hotmail account or check MSN Messenger for new emails or chats? Do you remember the first time you logged in to Facebook or Twitter and saw what your friends were doing? I remember spending all night on Facebook once. And then, I got over it.

Curiosity is often extinguished when there is no change. People working in monotonous jobs share the same feeling. No matter how groundbreaking your product or service may be, you should put your best questioners in a room and have them ask you all sorts of stupid¬†dumb¬†curious questions. This helps you improve and shape your offering into something that’s evolutionary. Curiosity changes over time and if you remain the same, you get left behind.

Normalcy is fodder for boredom. Boredom kills curiosity. My advice to you is to stay curious and ask those questions, no matter how stupid they may be.

Stay curious, my fellow readers!

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