„A curious mind. The Secret of a Bigger Life“ by Brian Grazer gives us an insight into what curiosity can bring into our lives.
Who is Brian Grazer?
Brian Grazer is an American film and television producer and writer. He founded Image Entertainment in 1986, with Ron Howard. The movies they produced have grossed over $15 billion.
His films and television shows have been nominated for 43 Oscars® and 195 Emmys and he won the Best Picture Oscar for A Beautiful Mind.
In addition to A Beautiful Mind, Grazer produced the films American Gangster, 8 Mile, Liar Liar, Parenthood, Splash, and the television series Genius, Empire, 24, Arrested Development, Friday Night Lights, and Felicity just to name a few.
If it weren’t for curiosity, Brian’s life wouldn’t have been the same. Apart from connections and intelligence, he places a crucial role in the art of asking questions.
Curiosity is the key to everything. It’s not about searching facts on Google to find out what the internal revenue for Ukraine is, although facts are important as well. It’s about bringing people together, sharing experiences, and finding ideas where you never even dreamed of looking.
It’s a tool at anyone’s disposal, though not all of us dare to use it out of fear.
The habit of asking questions should be on the mind of all of us.
It’s not about probing into anyone’s life but about finding out different perspectives. This doesn’t mean approval but acknowledgment.
Chris Voss, former FBI agent, in his “Never Split the Difference” claims the same thing. Acknowledging other people’s perspectives doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree with them. We just accept, respectfully, that there’s another perspective we haven’t thought about.
This is what curiosity means to Brian Grazer and should mean to all of us. A way of developing through accepting there is more than one perspective to every story.
Children and curiosity
In today’s society, asking questions has become something to be frowned upon. People should accept what they are being told, without questioning or making waves.
However, being curious is part of our nature.
When we come into this world, being curious is part of our getting to know and understand the world around us. We cannot put a limit to the number of questions we ask nor to the manner in which we choose to ask them.
Curiosity should be a subject in every school. How to ask a question and search for answers, instead of just accepting other people’s answers without searching for your own.
Listen to the information but ask questions to draw your own conclusions. Otherwise, you become a replica of somebody else’s perspective instead of developing your own. It’s never too early to start nor is it the right way.
Asking questions is not limiting ourselves to only one answer but opening a multitude of perspectives.
We should encourage asking questions, searching, and finding solutions.
Curiosity builds relationships
In “The technique of producing ideas”, James Webb Young talks about the manner in which ideas come about. It’s not a unique idea all the time. We should be so lucky. It’s about finding new connections between old ideas, about providing a new perspective. Making connections derives from searching outside our profession, outside the circle we frequent.
We go to a job where we talk to people in our profession. We meet in private with people who share the same views and frequent the same circles. Yet, we fail to see that, by doing so, we miss out on a world full of information. We have developed a comfort zone that cannot bring us something new.
Brian Gratzer built his career by talking to people from all sorts of professions and asking them questions. He would meet with anybody who accepted his invitation. But most importantly, he would meet with people outside the movie industry. He understood the importance of being in touch with everything else outside his comfortable environment. It’s the only way he would keep his perspectives open and get a fresh new view of the world.
Not asking is limiting yourself
The reason we fail to ask questions is out of fear. We think about how people will judge us and how that can impact our lives.
We are afraid that our questions will be laughed at and ridiculed. We feel we might come across as not being knowledgeable enough. So, we go on not knowing because everything is preferable to being labeled as a fool.
Instead of letting other people’s opinions guide our lives, we should face our fears and ask our questions and most importantly, we should listen to the answer.
There is no such thing as a stupid question, only a stupid answer.
Asking questions gets us out of our comfort zone. Even if it’s terrifying, it’s the only place where we get the chance to grow. Evy Pompouras puts it nicely in her “Become bullet proof”. “We should do something scary every day. The more we put ourselves in a position of discomfort, the more we become equipped of dealing with the unexpected”. If we thrive by learning new things, thus expanding our horizons, shouldn’t we take the chance of asking the right questions to get us there?
Questions make us better
Asking questions gives managers the opportunity of getting the know what’s important to their employees.
By asking questions and listening to the answer, it’s how we turn our customers into clients. Not those who occasionally buy from us, but those who come over and over again because we took the time to find out what’s important to them.
A good salesman is thought of as being the person who pushes the sale no matter what. When in fact it shouldn’t be so.
A great salesman is the one asking the right question to find out what exactly his customers need. In “The Secret of Selling Anything”, Harry Browne teaches us that a great salesman is not afraid of suggesting another product that is not his own because he puts the needs of his customers above a sale. You have to be true to your client and he will be grateful for it. Even if you didn’t get the sale, you got something out of it. A possible recommendation or another client.
A great manager, salesman, friend, or family member is the one who asks questions because they are actually interested in the answer. Listening to your answers is getting to know you and what you stand for.
Getting to know what’s important to you the key to every relationship is. Dale Carnegie never ceases to amaze when he says “the key to success is to find out what people want and help them get it” (“How to win friends and influence people”). The best way to know what people want is to ask the right questions.
A curious mind
Terence Tao seems a normal Australian. He is 36 of age and teaches mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, he is far from being a regular individual. According to Davidson Institute, he has an IQ of 230, the highest ever recorded. In other words, Terence is the smartest person in the world.
The average intelligence coefficient is around 100. Above 100 lays the realm of smart people. These people don’t only know more but wish to know more. They are the ones asking questions about anything and everything, not limiting themselves to only their perspective of the world.
Start by asking questions
This is how we stay interested in our family members, by asking about their day, their thoughts, and feelings. It’s what makes us better in our jobs. It’s the foundation of building relationships with the people around us.
Asking questions is a free tool at anyone’s disposal. It’s the key to everything worthwhile.