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How to raise your curiosity quotient

There are simple ways you can be more curious about your work and the next big idea.

5 min read


How to raise your curiosity quotient


In our current business landscape of information overload, you must find meaningful knowledge that you can put into action and give your business a competitive advantage.

Your Curiosity Quotient describes just that skill set — the ability and motivation to learn and to make sense of the world around us in new and innovative ways. Recent studies suggest that not only does curiosity make you more likely to remember information you find interesting, it may also prime your brain to better remember things in general. Imagine being better able to retain material just because you’re curious!

But how do you go about fostering your CQ in a sea of facts and figures? The key lies not in consuming more, but in encouraging yourself to consume better. Here are six ways you can begin to flex those mental muscles and raise your Curiosity Quotient.

1. Become an early adopter

Don’t be afraid to try something new — really new. Not every new technology will be a success or become a market sensation, and not every new management technique will resonate with you or your team. Early adopters constantly learn to adapt.

Each new gadget and every new leadership method challenges you to think a bit differently, gain new insights, and to examine knowledge you already have, but in a new light. Being curious about the new increases our understanding of the status quo.

2. Deepen your understanding

Someone with a high CQ can make sense of the steady stream of available information by really, truly, understanding the things in their wheelhouse, keeping their ears perked for the data that’s relevant to them. Know your corner – truly absorb how your business, your team or your project works. Understand the success factors, the threats and the aspects that are dependent, or in conflict with one another.

If you have a good grasp on your realm, you can more easily see information, patterns and opportunities to get the job done better.

3. Tackle the challenging assignments

What better way to exercise your brain than to take on the more challenging issues that face your business? Difficult problems offer an opportunity, as they can rarely solved by applying the same old techniques. Challenging obstacles require you to take what you already know and add something – a new perspective, a new idea, a new skill. Most great ideas aren’t fully novel; they’re a genius blend of garnered experience and creative thinking.

By being curious about a complex issue, we can really train our minds to navigate those more difficult twists and turns to come up with an innovative solution.

4, Don’t let success stop you from innovating

The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was certainly never the brainchild of someone with a high CQ. While it’s true that we don’t need to tinker with something that is running smoothly, we do know that there are often ways to improve — to be more efficient, to add more value, to take the drudge work or the guesswork out of any process.

Taking a second (or third, or fourth) look at the everyday can give us startling new insights that could save time, money or resources. You never know what you might uncover when you’re curious.

5, Challenge your perspective

Need new ideas? Try changing your viewpoint. If you always look at an obstacle from the same angle, it’s hard to come up with an innovative solution. By changing your perspective, you can see something that others might not.

Try considering a problem from the angle of a different business unit, a different level (executive, floor worker, quality assurance, audit) or from an external source like your vendors, or your customers. Listen to what others perceive about the issue. Other angles may help you uncover hidden solutions you’d never otherwise consider.

6. Broaden your comfort zone

People with a high CQ rarely seek out the comfortable. They’re always pushing the edges to learn more, see more and interact more with those outside their own usual realm. When you’re someone able to speak comfortably with a variety of others — from the field to the boardroom — your opportunity to absorb new information is increased. You never know whether your next big idea will be sparked by the CFO, your office mate, or a clerk. Get used to talking to everyone and anyone, and you’ll see your CQ rise dramatically.

Curiosity Quotient is not a mathematical formula, but rather a means to outline your ability to apply personal interest and dedication to finding the meaning in a sea of information.

Following these habits to increase your CQ will make you a better leader by giving you a better grasp on your corner of the world. Like any muscle, the curious brain works better and works happier in constant practice. This is how you spark your curiosity and feed your passion.


Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 executive coaches in America. Global Gurus named him No.14 on its list of top 30 global coaching experts. He has 20 years of first-hand experience working closely with many of the world’s leading companies, including Oracle, Google, Amazon, Deloitte, The Ritz-Carlton, Gap and Starbucks. He has written seven books, including “Getting Ahead.” More than 10,000 people subscribe to his FulfillmentATWork newsletter. Subscribe and you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”

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