Do you know anyone who can talk for hours about themselves or other people, yet never stops to ask you a question about your experience?
I am bound by blood and long-term association to several folks who seem similarly incurious.
Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that their apparent lack of curiosity invariably leads to the same result.
They lead incredibly dull and boring lives.
Their places of residence, jobs and economic status change very little over time. Worse, without curiosity and introduction to new ideas, their interests and perspectives broaden very little – if at all.
Over the course of 10, 20 or 50 years, they’ll talk (and complain) about the same things they were talking and complaining about on the first day you met them. They tend to live vicariously through the lives of others — their children or their more well-to-do friends and acquaintances.
The people they do talk about share the same characteristics — spouting endlessly about themselves with little interest in others.
Call me strange, but I think that’s a weird approach.
If I’m asked a question, or if I think it will contribute helpfully to another’s experience OR best of all, if the sharing makes the other person laugh (preferably, hysterically), then I’ll spout 🙂
Otherwise, I am much more interested in the lives of others’ than I am in talking about all the nitty gritty details of my own existence — I figure that I’ve already done what I’ve done and can’t learn a darned thing by talking about myself.
I am curious. I want to know about things I do not know. I want to learn more… and every person I speak with presents a learning opportunity.
If someone tells me that they’ve just been to a certain place, I’ll ask about what they saw of interest to them, where where they stayed, where they ate and how they enjoyed (or did not enjoy) the experience.
By being interested in others, I’ve met people from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds and have learned SO much over the years. The information they’ve shared has shown me what to avoid and helped me further my growth in all directions — physically, emotionally and spiritually.
By learning from others, my life has taken twists and turns that I never would have anticipated — and every one has been interesting, exciting and incredibly rewarding.
And sometimes, when I am talking to those who ask no questions, yet know that my experience is wildly diverse from their’s, I’m tempted to ask “Aren’t you just a wee bit curious?”
I resist, however.
For whatever reason, they really don’t want to hear about my worldwide travels or business success — because they inherently know that they can’t put the information to use — i.e. they don’t really want to grow.
Don’t be that person.
Learn to ask questions. Who, what, when, where and why… but go easy on the ‘whys’ as that can evoke a defensive response.
- Where are you from?
- What do you do?
- How did you do ____?
- How do you like your _____?
- How does that work?
- How long have you _____?
Start a conversation by prefacing a question with a comment, such as…
- I love that ____. Where did you find it?
- I’ve never seen _____ before. What is it?
While curiosity may have killed the cat, curiosity is essential to your growth and success as a human being.
You’re not a cat.
So dig deeper. Learn something new. Broaden your horizons.