The Discipline of Curiosity
There’s a famous axiom that says leaders are learners. John Maxwell adds that the moment we stop learning we stop leading. So, it is so important to read as a discipline. What you are reading today will make you better tomorrow?
There are generally two ways we learn best, revelation and tribulation.
Revelation is when we glean knowledge from others either through books or through mentoring. Proverbs 23:12 says, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.” How many books do you have on tap to read this year? I just know for me, I’m better when I’m learning. I’m a better pastor and husband and father. I have more interesting stuff to talk about in conversations. I have a deeper well of experience to pull from in decisions. And do you have a mentor? Is there someone a few steps ahead of you that you are learning from?
Tribulation is when we glean knowledge from difficult circumstances or suffering. Its when the alternatives to not-figuring-it-out are dire. I remember being in a crisis with my board. The team was unhealthy, we were facing turbulent times, and I didn’t know what to do. I had exhausted my own ideas, I had exhausted my contact list, and I read a book and decided to call the author in his office. When I reached the receptionist, to my surprise, he took the call! We talked for 20 minutes and I left with a plan of attack. Tribulation can force you in to desperation mode, and sometimes that’s a good thing because you are forced to try things you’ve never tried before.
One of the common characteristics in the leaders I admire most and have learned the most from is that they are endlessly curious. They are enthusiastic experimenters. And as a result, they often find themselves in situations where they don’t know what to do – but they are committed to figuring it out. That’s the discipline of curiosity.