Curiosity killed the cat.
But since cats have nine lives its okay.
Conduct business long enough and (with any luck) people begin to ask for advice and counsel on career management. Here's some that may help: stay curious.
My own career has been a hell of a lot of fun – four Fortune 100 companies immersed in various lines of business interacting with engineers, technologists and salespeople. I have yet to be bored.
One thing the successful people from these diverse backgrounds have had in common is a sense of curiosity: why do things do what they do, or more simply, why?
The key of course is to ask the “why” question without guile or posturing, as in, you're actually very curious. This sustained sense of questioning is what's going to make the difference between a really interesting, varied and at times unpredictable career and one that's more programmatic.
And naturally an authentic curiosity is required. Authentic, by the way, is one of those innocent words hijacked by hipsters and turned into a meaningless catchphrase. People postulating about authentic usually aren't.
That's not curious, that's affectation.
Real curiosity is the sense of what else?
It is the genuine wonder about why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. Habits (the doing) and beliefs (the framework) bring some sense of order to a complex world helping us make sense of the constant influx of stimuli.
And yet beliefs and habits can constrain us as well.
Four years old
For an object lesson in curiosity visit with a four-year old. Soon you'll discover things are seldom what they seem and the retort, “because I said so” makes no sense at all to a four year old. [Ed: Why do we still attempt this tact with our peers in adulthood?]
Children at this young age are an open book and a bottomless cup asking literally and figuratively why, sometimes all day long.
But I've never been bored hanging around a four-year and that's more than I can say for some of their parents.
The essence is this: the incessant questioning, testing and mental-model building that children do without consciousness is something latent within most of us. Just as little people process and weigh what they've discovered to make sense of their world we can too.
And so are you.
So today's lesson boys and girls is to trust this innate tendency and redevelop same. The world is full of adults who were misled not by others but by the constraints of their own habits and beliefs.
Try a little curiosity – the real unaffected kind – for a career that is sure to surprise and delight.