Everyone knows the old cliché “Curiosity killed the cat.” Nobody wants to be that cat, especially not entrepreneurs. The thought of failing in a business venture is enough to steer any entrepreneur away from being curious. After all, “better safe than sorry,” right?
Actually, curiosity is an incredibly important trait for an entrepreneur. While everyone knows that “curiosity killed the cat,” the second half of the saying is less well known. Sure, “curiosity killed the cat,” but “satisfaction brought it back.” Ah, that’s much more encouraging! But what is it about curiosity that results in satisfaction?
1. Curiosity channels out-of-the-box thinking.
Entrepreneurs need to be curious to be fully engaged with the world around them. When things aren’t working as well as they could be, entrepreneurs must gain an understanding of how things work and come up with solutions. Finding these solutions requires curiosity, which prompts them to study problems from multiple angles and inquire about how to get better results.
When you’re curious, you’re present, observing the world around you. This active state of mind leads to the discovery of new ideas. Curiosity also opens your mind to new possibilities. Fostering curiosity means you’ll no longer be satisfied with taking ideas at face value; curious people want to uncover the truth for themselves.
2. Curiosity prompts questions that lead to real answers.
Solving a problem is one thing, but identifying new problems you don’t even realize exist is another thing entirely. How do you learn about concepts that you didn’t even know existed? It all starts with curiosity.
Curiosity leads to questions, and questions lead to answers. Those answers lead to a deeper understanding of the world around you and the opportunity to solve problems you wouldn’t even have known existed otherwise.
Staying curious makes learning fun. Nobody knows everything, and curious people are aware of this. Being humble and having an open mind lead to greater knowledge, and greater knowledge allows more thorough deliberation.
3. Curiosity lets you handle failure and fear of failure.
If anybody knows that great risk leads to even greater rewards, it’s entrepreneurs. While great risk can also lead to failure, entrepreneurs should always focus on the possibility of achievement. And when failure is the outcome, you can first learn from your mistakes and then focus on the future instead of the past. This allows you to be adaptable and able to tolerate uncertainty.
Fostering curiosity is an entrepreneur’s greatest weapon against the sometimes debilitating fear of failure. Being curious allows you to welcome surprises—even negative ones—as you seek to discover what works and what doesn’t. The curious are willing to acknowledge failure and, instead of seeing it as disheartening, see it as a basis for learning.
4. Curiosity fosters productivity.
Why do you do things the way that you do? To someone who isn’t curious, the answer is likely, “Because that’s how I’ve always done them.” A curious person isn’t satisfied with that answer. Curiosity makes you analyze not only what you’re doing but also how you’re doing it. It prompts questions such as the following:
- “Is this task worth the resources it takes to complete?”
- “What purpose does it serve?”
- “Is there a more efficient way in which it can be done?”
Time is precious to entrepreneurs—you must constantly make decisions about what to do and how to do it. Curiosity forces you to ignore the status quo, challenge how things have been done in the past, and test new, more efficient methods of work.
5. Curiosity keeps you passionate about your work.
Loving what you do contributes not only to the success of your endeavors but also to the level of fulfillment you find in your work. By being curious—learning new things, talking to new people, and venturing into uncharted territory—you’ll fend off the tendency to become bored and complacent about your daily work.
Curiosity will keep you passionate, and that passion will be evident to your colleagues, employees, clients, and potential clients.
Entrepreneurs know that rewards can only be reaped when risks are taken. As the old saying goes, “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.” If curiosity leads to satisfaction, then living a satisfactory life as an entrepreneur can be accomplished by staying curious.
About the Author
Chandra Clarke is the founder and president of Scribendi.com, an award-winning online editing and proofreading company that provides document revision services to clients around the world. She is also a Webby Honoree-winning blogger, an enthusiastic supporter of space exploration and scientific research, and the author of Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science.