Even without the wealth of scientific studies to back this statement, I’d be 100% confident in saying that those who are proactive in life tend to be much more successful than those who are reactive.
I’ve simply seen the positive effects of proactivity — and the negative effects of reactivity — in life too many times to deny it. And that’s why I highly recommend practicing proactive curiosity.
So what is proactive curiosity? In a nutshell, it means picking a topic you’re genuinely interested in and proactively seeking knowledge related to that topic.
This can be done in a personal and/or professional setting, but let me give you an example of how you might practice this in your career.
Let’s say you’re curious about how the recruiting process works for the types of clients you serve. Now, you aren’t a recruiter so this knowledge isn’t directly applicable to your industry. But by understanding more about their recruiting process, you may uncover ways you can better serve them. In fact, you may even find ways you can improve your own recruiting process.
So with that topic in mind, you actively seek opportunities to ask questions related to recruiting as you talk to clients and other connections. If you’re persistent enough in practicing this curiosity, you’ll probably uncover information that will lead to powerful opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have experienced.
Of course, that’s just one example and the sky’s the limit in terms of what you could choose to be curious about. For example, maybe you want to learn …
- The productivity hacks of successful CEOs,
- How to effectively work with an assistant, or even
- Unconventional ways to improve your golf game.
Once you’ve chosen a topic, use any and all relevant interactions to ask questions to help you satisfy your curiosity. For example: If you went with the productivity hacks topic and you knew you were about to meet with a CEO, you could come up with a handful of questions to ask in advance and guide the conversation using them.
The topic itself doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something you’re genuinely interested in. That’s the key: If you aren’t truly interested in the topic, it’s going to be very hard to cultivate a lasting curiosity.
Moreover, the person you’re conversing with will probably be able to tell if you don’t actually care about the topic you’re asking about. And the moment they realize you’re just placating them or feigning interest, you’ll actually do more harm than good to the relationship.