A Curious Mind

"Curiosity has been the most valuable quality, the most important resource, the central motivation of my life."

- A Curious Mind, page xiii

How can one be successful in life? How can you be successful in business? Curiosity is Brian Grazer’s answer. In his book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, he weaves a tale of his life where the central theme is simply curiosity.

At first glance you might not think this is a business book or even a philosophical book about how to live a better, more enjoyable and meaningful life, but you would be wrong. It’s amazing how what is at its core a memoir becomes a tome for how to be successful and happy in life. The secret is utilizing your natural curiosity.

This is a book you can’t wait to pick up again, the kind of book you race home from work to read. Part of it is to read these amazing stories of Brian’s interactions with very interesting people; everyone from Andy Warhol to Tom Cruise. But, the other part is to share in the secret ingredient of Brian’s life and see firsthand how we all have the potential to be creative and groundbreaking just by being curious.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Curiosity is the Key to a Successful Life

"Curiosity can add zest to your life, and it can take you way beyond zest – it can enrich your whole sense of security, confidence, and well-being."
- A Curious Mind, page 9

What do all the public speaking, leadership and self-help books tell you? Feeling confident will allow you to succeed. A lot of those books will even go so far as to teach you how to trick yourself into feeling confident so you can speak in front of a room of people, or effectively run a meeting, etc., etc.

But what if there wasn’t a trick for feeling confident? What if it came organically because you allowed yourself to stop ignoring something else that was already part of your organic makeup? Wouldn’t that be a much faster, easier and long-term solution?

Brian spends a lot of time talking about how we are all taught that asking questions are bad and that we should quell our curiosity so that we can become more efficient and successful at school, work, life. What exactly are we scared of? Why are asking questions about how something works, how someone accomplished a task, or how someone feels about anything so wrong?

In A Curious Mind, Brian tells the story of his life through countless moments in time where he was able to start and accomplish things as a direct result of his natural curiosity. He attributes the doors that have opened up for him professionally and personally to specific questions or moments of wondering why something “x” he had throughout his life.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Questions Foster a Creative & Effective Workforce

"The questions communicate both authority and a sense of our values..."
- A Curious Mind, page 184

How can asking questions make you a better manager, leader or businessperson? Take yourself out of the “manager” role and place yourself in the place of being managed. How have you felt when your boss took the time to ask you questions and demonstrate interest in you and your work? Probably very happy and a little proud that time was made to talk with you.

Being curious about your colleagues and the work they are doing inherently creates an atmosphere of respect, openness and collaboration. All things that end up helping the success of a career, project, team and company. It’s amazing how one simple thing can have such a large impact.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Curiosity + Determination = Confidence & Success

"Curiosity rewards persistence."
- A Curious Mind, page 109

Curiosity can be a very powerful tool and harnessing it can lead to success. In this book Brian presents the following scenario. Think back to when you had a question, and weren’t able to find the answer immediately. If you gave up, you failed to use your natural curiosity. You instead allowed your frustration to win. If you harness you curiosity you persistently work to reward yourself with the answer to your question.

Brian tells a story about how difficult it was to get Splash made. He thought his idea for the movie was a fantastic story that was worth telling but countless movie executives disagreed year after year. It was his curiosity about the “why” they didn’t like the story, which was fueled by his persistence to find the answers that ended up in him making the movie Splash.  He used the answers to his question of why the movie executives hated his idea to make changes that allowed them to love it and allow him to achieve his goal of making the movie in the end.

As Brian so succinctly sums it up: “Persistence is the drive moving you forward. Curiosity provides the navigation.”

Asking questions is the key to life. It will take you in directions you never dreamed of and will provide you insights in people and things you never could have hoped for. Curiosity is the secret to great communication, and great communication leads to personal and professional success.

Reading this book can be a life-changing event. It teaches you fundamental concepts of living through the art of storytelling. It’s exciting, funny, and interesting. Very rarely do you read something that appears to be purely for pleasure and walk away smarter and more prepared to make your own life better.

What project or topic are you stuck on? What questions can you begin asking to help you achieve success in whatever form that takes?

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Andrea Fuller

ABOUT Andrea Fuller

Andrea M. Fuller is the Founder & CEO of Fuller Digital Strategy, LLC, a full service digital strategy firm that partners with clients to grow their online presence and achieve their on and offline goals...
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