The Learning Cafe

Intellectual curiosity – your key for the future

  • Posted by Elysia Arnold
  • On November 12, 2020

By Martyn McKessar \ Director.

Photo by Taton Moïse on Unsplash

“I am neither clever nor especially gifted, I am only very, very curious.” – Albert Einstein.

I’ve recently been involved in appointing a new salesperson and asked myself, what am I looking for in a successful candidate? My answer surprised me. I described the key attribute as “intellectual curiosity”, even though I wasn’t exactly sure I could define what that meant.

A quick Google search showed I was not the first person to think about this. 

1. Curiosity can help you grow

Becoming curious is an essential part of the growth process. As a child, you learned to wonder — and ask questions (and ask more questions!). This process helped you understand and discover your world. When you continue intellectual curiosity into adulthood you uncover why things work, why things are changing, and how things could be better.

2. Curiosity makes you more interested, and more interesting

Intellectual curiosity means you’re more interested in the world and the people around you. When you constantly think about why and how, and how it could be better, you uncover amazing new insights that usually add real value to those you work with. Potential or current employers/customers will value your positive and uplifting attitude that you have established via your curious approach to life and to your job.

3. Curiosity gets you ready for the future

When you’re intellectually curious you are always preparing yourself for the future. You can see change and new technology coming, and this excites you. Your focus on the value of change and the opportunities that are open to you means you’re ready and not afraid of it.

A 2015 study, reported in Harvard Business Review found that “curiosity” and “open-mindedness” are the critical traits for the workplace. Five years later I have to agree. I want to work with people who can think critically about where we could go and what could be. Curiosity has shifted from being something that killed the cat. It is now a key attribute to help navigate the future.