When did we become curious about the world around us?
As children, we learn about the world by being curious about our surroundings and interacting with them without fear of consequence. We see these abilities quite often, for example, when we observe them using digital devices. They somehow seem to have an uncanny ability to learn quickly. The world is tactile and visual and this is a good example of learning by ‘mistake and reward’, a process that either generates subconscious reprimand or encouragement. As we grow, the world around us has an increasing level of rules and it wants us to conform, often telling us “Don’t stand out or be different”. Even those that discover their own individuality are often conforming to one set of rules or another. This is not necessarily a terrible thing if this does not change our fundamental instinct to be curious. Our environment around us can have a major impact on how our curiosity develops in later life.
How do we use our curiosity?
Being part of a brand design agency, you have to learn how to make the most of your curiosity. Curiosity is essential in allowing our imaginations to grow and develop ideas that may or may not have a practical use in the real world. Most people want the next big idea or have an idea that everyone thinks is great. If that is your experience, then this isn’t going to be productive and just generates an echo chamber. In encouraging curiosity and feeding the imagination, you must accept all ideas as the start of something bigger. Some will work, some won’t and most often the most trivial idea can develop into something big. The most crucial factor here is that in a professional context, we are curious, and show an interest in other people and their business to see if they have any needs that we can help with. Being curious and asking questions is the only way to really understand the needs and requirements of others. The next time someone asks you for a new logo you really need to establish if they want a logo or not. Often, they have a problem, and they are looking for help and many people believe the easiest solution is to change something in their marketing. By asking questions you may be able to establish that there is a more complex problem you can help them with. You can only do this by being curious about them and their business, as well as using your imagination to understand their requirements.
Learning how to let go
It is important to be able to let go of your inhibitions and let your curiosity run free as this will help you to be more creative. Writing the ideas down, however stupid you think they are, is a great way of letting your imagination go in different directions, but this is something you need to practice. Athletes don’t go out and run their best times without putting in a lot of practice and hard work, honing their techniques and abilities. It’s the same with your imagination, you have to practice using it to get the best out of it. One of the main things that put people off from using their imagination is the expectation to get instant results. You must give people time to let the ideas grow and remember you can’t schedule in a time when you will have ideas or how long they will take to develop. People hate brainstorming meetings for this very reason. They are expected to come up with a great idea immediately. A far better method would be to discuss the aims of the project and let your team go away and think about it in order for them to develop their ideas. From this point, you can develop them in future team meetings.
Look up and see what is going on in the world
In a world where more people are moving away from mainstream media and television to companies like NetFlix and Apple TV, our curiosity and imagination are impacted. Knowing what is going on in the world is vital, the are some actors that say, oh I don’t watch TV, but please watch me in this programme. This sounds great but as business owners say use my services, but I won’t use them isn’t going to go down well. The great musicians, artists and actors of this world are good because they spent their lives in a bubble, they are where they are because they immerse themselves in their industry and the environment and it doesn’t happen overnight. You must always be curious about the world around you and how to explore it in order to make sense of it.
Feed your curiosity
If you want to be really good at something, then you must always be curious. Keep challenging yourself every day, discovering new things, and feeding your imagination to broaden your mind. It pays dividends in the end. If you haven’t the time to read, then try listening to audiobooks. If you’ve always wanted to draw, then draw something every day. Before you know it, you will have a new talent you can call on at any time. Okay, so we aren’t all going to be gold medal winners, or be the greatest artist in the world, but you don’t need to be. Just look to improve what you do every day. It’s all anyone can ask for. Your curiosity and imagination are very much like the muscles in the rest of your body. If you don’t use them, they become weak and slow. Train them with regular workouts and before you know it your ideas will start to flow, and you’ll become a creative ninja.
So, my advice to be more curious would be;
- Learn something new every day
- Share what you learn with others
- Look up and see what is going in the world
- Remember, no idea is a bad idea
- Learn as much as you can about your domain you work in