Intellectual Curiosity Is Key for Career Success. Here’s Why.

intellectual curiosity
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Intellectual curiosity can support you in your career just as much as any other skill.

You probably didn’t hear much about the importance of cultivating intellectual curiosity when you were in school or training for your career. These kinds of soft skills or creative habits generally aren’t emphasized as much as they should be through formal programs and institutions, at least not directly.

However, being intellectually curious can support your professional trajectory, and your life in general, in all kinds of ways. Here are a few things to think about:

Curiosity propels growth  

Becoming curious is an essential part of the growth process. As a child, you learned to wonder — and ask questions about the things around you. This process helped you to deepen your understanding and it compelled you to explore the world.

When you continue this process into adulthood — when you ask questions and are curious about the world around you — we call it intellectual curiosity. This process of interest and inquiry propels learning and growth as an adult in the same way it did during childhood. You won’t spend your workdays simply going through the motions. Instead, you’ll embrace the opportunities to learn, and grow, everyday.

It separates you from the robots

Artificial intelligence, and technology in general, is changing the way we live and work. In order to continue to be successful in this changing world, you have to cultivate skills and qualities that separate you from the machines.

You have to get good at doing things they can’t do. A robot can be more precise and more diligent than you can, but it can’t be creative, innovative or intellectually curious. Cultivating these kinds of skills are the key to job security in today’s changing world.

Curiosity makes work more fun

Intellectual curiosity helps to make you more interested in the world around you. Instead of simply accepting things the way they are without having the desire to know how or why they came to be, you become curious. This could go a long way toward making your work day more interesting.

You’ll have more fun because you’ll be digging beneath the surface and learning new things. Everyday will bring something new rather than just simply unfolding in a routine way. That should help your workday to be a little more exciting and enjoyable.

Learning new things becomes a treat not a chore

When you’re intellectually curious, learning new things becomes a treat, not a chore. You’ll embrace these opportunities to discover answers to your questions and to embrace different ways of doing things. Taking this approach to the learning process will do wonders for your career. And, you’ll enjoy yourself more along the way, too.

Your ability to learn new things will actually improve

Intellectual curiosity doesn’t just help you want to learn new things. It actually improves your ability to do so. Research has found that a curious state of mind improves learning and memory, even for the things you’re not particularly interested in.

You’ve probably found that it’s easier to learn new things when you’re interested in the topic. Well, it turns out that this habit of mind translates to tasks that don’t hold your interest. When your curiosity is aroused, you’re better at learning new things, no matter the topic or your level of interest.

You’ll be more desirable to employers

The traits of the intellectually curious are highly desired by employers. They love to work with people who embrace learning opportunities and adapt seamlessly to change. Potential, or current, employers will value the positive and uplifting tone you establish via your curious approach to life and to your job.

A study conducted by PwC and discussed in Harvard Business Review found that CEOs dubbed “curiosity” and “open-mindedness” as increasingly critical leadership traits for the workplace. Cultivating intellectual curiosity can help you become even more desirable to employers.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you think that your level of intellectual curiosity impacts your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.