Curiosity, a key to Leadership


Yesterday I wrote “Are you an Old or New Paradigm Leader?”, encouraging you to look at whether you are aware of the goldfish bowl you are swimming in, and to look at new ways of leading. However, I also reflected on how difficult it is to see ourselves (and yes, trust me, though I do this for others all the time as their sounding board, I too have my own blind spots around myself and so have my own coaches, sounding boards, trusted advisors!).

This brings me to the theme of curiosity.

Curiosity is a key trait of New Paradigm leaders. Traits like humility, vulnerability are very powerful when allied with curiosity.

Curiosity can also be referred to as having a “beginner’s mind”, as well as a Growth Mindset, all of which are core parts of the curriculum of the Modern Elder Academy, created from the vision of a truly remarkable new paradigm leader, Chip Conley.  Of all the leaders I have ever met and worked with, Chip is at the top of the list of new paradigm leaders. Follow the link in his name above and you will see him referenced in a variety of posts. In short, if you get to be part of his world, drop everything and do it. I did and whenever he asks me to again, I will.

I love the Einstein quote above. Another amazing genius who puts their success down to insatiable curiosity is the brilliant Vivienne Ming, who I saw speak recently at the Entrepreneurial Scotland annual conference.

Vivienne Ming problem explorer

Vivienne is absolutely a genius, yet her superpower is her curiosity. She goes around the world as a “problem explorer”, taking her insatiable curiosity and applying it in ways that make a huge difference to the world. She is also a human being with a level of personal truth and bravery (google her story) that is both inspirational and uplifting.

One last story about curiosity and genius, starting with these words :

“Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.”

These words are at the heart of a letter sent by Hunter S. Thompson to a friend asking for life advice. If you have curiosity is at the heart of your being, whatever you know of Hunter S. Thompson, perhaps revisit him and look to understand him through the lens of his own curiosity. I give you a link to the full letter, and also consider this. He wrote this to his friend at the age of 22. Gulp.