Why Curiosity Is So Important

WHY CURIOSITY IS SO IMPORTANT

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Why CURIOSITY IS SO IMPORTANT

By Craig Johns

Curiosity leads to breakthrough discoveries and remarkable inventions. So why do we see companies stifling curiosity in the workplace?

It is normal for humans to seek new information and experiences. By cultivating curiosity and the promotion of exploring novel possibilities throughout a company, employees will think deeper and more rationally about decisions.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. 

ALBERT EINSTEIN

If we step back in time, when we were a child, we had an insatiable need to explore and understand the world around us. We were not afraid to challenge the status quo by asking lots of questions, tasting things we probably shouldn’t or doing something for the first time, without the worry of whether we were wrong or offending anyone.

As we grew older we become more self-conscious, try to appear more confident and show that we know what we are doing. By the time we arrive as adults, our curiosity is quite suppressed as fear of being judged and not living up to other people’s expectations creeps in.

The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out.”

UNKNOWN

Curiosity leads to creativity and innovation, which is important for you and your company to adapt to uncertain market conditions and external pressures. It creates an environment that inspires employees to improve their collaborative relationships, trust and more respect of their leader.

Leaders can fall into the trap of thinking that curiosity will increase risk and inefficiency. They stumble with the conundrum faced between the now and the future. How do we meet budget, sales targets, membership numbers and deadlines, when we know that we need to allow time where employees have the freedom to create new products, services, processes and business lines?

“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive with those who are merely going through the motions. 

TOM ROBBINS

Finding the balance of exploration versus efficiency is an important component of a leader. Employees, who are under pressure to complete tasks quickly, tend to avoid asking questions about how they can improve their output and enhance the possible outcomes. When we question the status quo, we may not always produce useful information or solutions, but we also may prevent a decision being made that is catastrophic for your role and your company.

We perform better when we are curious because we view the tough situations more creatively. High performing employees, who are curious, seek more information from their colleagues, which helps improve the work that they do. They perform better because information is openly shared and they listen more carefully. New ideas are created, job satisfaction is improved, motivation increases and innovation flourishes as curiosity leads to a high performance environment.

“Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward opening up new doors and doing new things, because we are curious and curiosity leads us down new paths. 

WALT DISNEY

The power of solving problems together and looking at suitable alternatives, brings teams closer together. It allows employees to step into another employees shoes, look at it from another perspective and allows them to work together in a more effective manner.

How will you spark new ideas, rather than killing the flame, today?

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Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

By Craig Johns

A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Successful people have the unique ability to perform under high levels of pressure. Pressure comes from internal and external expectations, and as the stakes rise, fear grows. Being able to deal with fear and the uncomfortable feelings that are associated, you have to be better prepared to control your state of mind.

Why do we feel uncomfortable? That uncomfortable feeling comes from going into a place where you have never been before. You are making a change and disrupting the way your mind and body are used to doing something. It might be doing something for the first time or doing something you haven’t done for a while. It could be doing something you are used to, but the conditions or parameters have changed.

When you first experience a struggle and you feel uncomfortable, you start to second-guess yourself. Remember nothing in life comes easy and the greatest satisfaction is the result of overcoming something that takes us out of our comfort zone and takes us to a whole new level. You need a mindset of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is the price of progression.

“If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done.

Here are some ways to take you beyond the comfort zone:

SHOW UP

You will feel most uncomfortable when you take the first step and make a decision to start. That commitment to get off the start-line means the battle is half done. Most great ideas never get started, but once you have taken the first step, the real work begins. You made a choice, a commitment, and now you need to show up.

ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

Sometimes your actions don’t go to plan. You may not be seeing results, the progress is slow, and you are being told that it won’t work or self-doubt is kicking in. This is the point where everyone considers giving up and start asking themselves, “why am I doing this?”. At this point you have to be brave and be ready to answer honestly. Your purpose needs to be crystal clear, because this is when the true battle begins and it is the time to shine.

FAKE IT WHILE YOU MAKE IT

Fear kills more dreams than failure, so you have to control the controllable’s and brainwash yourself with lots of positive affirmations and thoughts. Pretend to be confident and visualize how it will look. Preparation and belief are your best friends.

EMBRACE ‘THE SUCK’

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Deal with the adversity, the challenge, the pain, or the uncomfortable feeling by welcoming it with open arms. Make it your friend, as ‘the suck’ is the reason that is going to make you better. You are building your mental and physical toughness, which leads to greater levels of resilience.

SURROUND YOURSELF

Create a team and environment that supports the challenge. An environment that is positive and provides you with the feedback required to deal with the positive and negative thoughts, and perceived obstacles to achieve your goal.

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

To continually extend the boundaries of what you thought was possible, you need to understand how you overcome uncomfortable experiences in the past. Use your understandings to build your confidence. Start to notice the patterns of your thoughts and record them. Record the characteristics of your fears, such as when does it appear, where does your mind wander, how do you cope with it and how you construct your intentions to deal with it. Create an internal culture of reveling in achievement and understanding how you deal with situations.

REPETITION

Your mind and body are comfortable with familiarity. The more you perform in an uncomfortable state, the more confidence you will develop. It is a mindset you have to develop, so you can allow your thoughts and emotions to adapt and grow.

TAKE ACTION

What rituals and behaviors can you create, so that each day you feel more comfortable with the uncomfortable? Once you have developed these actions, you need to be patient and be prepared for the long-game, as it will take some to become an automatic part of your life. Over time you will feel more confident, empowered and prepared to face the uncomfortable more often. The result of this process is a life of growth, excitement and success.

Are you ready to go beyond the comfort zone?

DOWNLOAD

To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper

READ MORE ARTICLES

High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link
Rockstar of Efficiency Link
Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

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UNDISPUTED BENEFITS OF TAKING A SMOKO BREAK

Smoking is one of the filthiest and unhealthiest habits that have formed in the human race. Ironically though it has developed one of the healthiest byproducts from a work-place performance and productivity point-of-view.

I don’t know how many times I have shaken my head seeing the same person outside having a smoke break for the 5th or 6th time for the day. I wonder what their boss thinks and also how much money they would save if they didn’t smoke?

The one thing that I admire about the filthy habit of smoking is the psychological and physiological wellness byproducts that occur because of it:

  • Taking regular 5-10min breaks from focusing on a computer screen or a task every 60-90minutes.
  • Getting up, moving and walking to a space where smoking is allowed.
  • Breathe control commonly used when smoking with long and deliberate slow breathes.
  • Day-dreaming and switching off work that occurs when smoking.
  • Social aspect of chatting with another smoker.
  • De-stressing component of controlling your breath and switching off your work.

These are all very healthy activities for your mind and body, to improve productivity, performance and reduce burnout, but they are as a result of a habit that has many major negative effects on a person.

Now, I need to be very clear that I am 100% against people smoking, and think it should be banned from society. I had one puff of a cigarette when I was a teenager, and I never had another one in the rest of my life. Personally I can’t stand the smell, it had an effect on me as an asthmatic to be around it, and I struggle to see how people make the choice to destroy their lungs and exponentially increase their chances of attracting cancer.

So the big question is:

What can we substitute for the filthy habit of smoking that will provide employees in the workplace the same psychological and physiological benefits as noted above?

I have thought about this, spoken to colleagues, asked former smokers and none of them can find a substitute that is as effective at combining all aspects of byproducts listed above. Using a mobile phone, having a coffee, going for a walk, reading a magazine or doing meditation don’t create the same effect.

So the challenge is for you to either find the ultimate solution or commence small activities that can gradually improve your productivity and performance.

Before we go onto techniques to improve your workplace productivity and performance, I would like to highlight some of the negative aspects of smoking and how they easily negate the positive benefits they get from the activity of taking smoking breaks:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Smelly hair and clothes
  • Unhealthy teeth
  • Bronchitis
  • Smokers cough
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Blood clots
  • Early menopause
  • Poor vision
  • Dull sense of taste and smell
  • Lung cancer
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellow fingers
  • Cervical cancer
  • Wrinkly skin
  • Problems with pregnancy and new born implications
  • Higher rate of mouth, throat, bladder, blood and kidney cancers

I know from experience that I perform at my best when I take regular breaks, and have lunch away from the office, with friends, have fun and discuss non-work topics. What is interesting is that studies show only 20 to 33% of employees take a lunch break, and of those who take a break many still eat at their desk while working.

Research has shown that the more hours that elapsed before a break the less energized and the more symptoms of poor health. It has also indicated that breaks are most effective when they are taken before they’re needed. It all comes down to planning, just like a marathon runner who develops their training plan with a balance of workouts and recovery.

Taking a break recharges the batteries, so to speak, prevents long-term stress and burnout, which have negative effects on your health and performance. Breaks can replenish the psychological costs associated with working hard, improve work performance, and boost energy.

The positive effects of taking regular, short and frequent breaks include:

  • More stamina
  • Fewer aches & pains
  • Less headaches and eyestrains
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Reduced emotional exhaustion
  • Increased concentration levels
  • Improved motivation
  • Enhanced energy
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve mental acuity
  • Increase alertness

Sometimes a little distraction is good for your brain. Psychological detachment, by shifting our focus, helps us to directly reduce work demands that are causing fatigue and to naturally recover. It also prevents us from getting bored and losing focus on the tasks that really matter.

The following activities are great for detachment:

  • meditation to clear the mind and focus on relaxation
  • physical activity to increase blood flows to the areas of the brain that are necessary for focus or attention
  • learning something new or playing a game to improve confidence and boost motivation
  • help out a colleague as it helps social connectedness, feel comforting and positive
  • Set a new goal and think about the future to see the bigger picture and re-evaluate life in a positive way
  • Fun and the influence of humour on persistence behaviour

Without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing. Taking a few deep breathes, stretching and standing, and taking a 20 second gaze break are simple activities that allow you to regain focus and to improve your energy so you can complete the task at hand.

In the next article we will take a look at productivity boosting activities and break methods that you can use during your breaks to recharge.

READ MORE ARTICLES

People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link

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