Unapologetic Curiosity Encourages Creativity
“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people”
The above quote is from Leo Burnett, one of the greatest advertising minds of the 20th century. He was responsible for great characters and ad campaigns that are still recognizable and relevant today.
His genius includes: Tony the Tiger, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, and the Jolly Green Giant. His clients included McDonald’s, Hallmark and Coca-Cola.
Curiosity. What does this mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the desire to know”.
Why is this important? Well, where would the entire human race be without this particular ingredient, this “curiosity”?
As children, we are always curious. We want to know why, when and how. We want to know what makes the sky blue, why does it snow, and why the the world round. We insist on knowing where babies come from, and how they are made, to the great dismay of our embarrassed parents. My parents told me I was found in a trash can, and my sister was found under a grocery cart at a super market. My little sister, the favorite, was the only one who came from the baby carrying stork.
Sadly, curiosity tends to fade as we become adults. We no longer wonder in awe at the beauty of the moon or wonder at the world around us. Its all just there. We immerse ourselves in our phones and computers. We lose our curiosity, that primal urge to know why.
Curiosity is powerful. It adds mystery, magic, and color to our lives. Curiosity gives us the drive to keep searching. It is the intense desire to know. Curiosity sets us apart from animals. Curiosity is what drives scientific discovery. Penicillin was a product of curiosity.
As adults we often struggle keeping the spark of curiosity burning inside of us. Here are some tips for staying curious:
1. Ask why! Or why not!
Don’t be afraid of asking why or why not. When we ask questions we learn more, and we also create a dialogue. It is important not to simply accept what we are handed. A bad idea today, can be a terrible mistake tomorrow, but it could also be brilliant if we dig deeper.
2. Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!
In the words of Ms. Frizzle (from The Magic School, Bus of course!) we need to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy! Sometimes we are afraid of making mistakes and so we stop taking chances. It’s okay to make a mistake, but its never okay not to try because of the fear of failure. Whether it’s exploring the inner workings of a color theory, a particular design aesthetic, or how particular communities respond to various images, keep curiosity as the guide.
3. Learn, learn, learn!
Or rather, read, read, read! Reading helps you learn and keep those curious juices flowing. According to Real Simple, reading can make you smarter! It’s also a workout for your brain. As we age, our brains age too. Reading improves our memory and helps lower mental decline by 32 percent. Reading also expands our ability to empathize. This is a very important skill to have because learning can help us understand how we relate to others and understand how others may feel.
We have a sign in our office that says, “be curious, not judgmental.” This coupled with one of our office cultural norms of being "unapologetically curious” pushes us to constantly seek knowledge to go deeper in how we better communicate with all types of communities.
How do you spark curiousity?