Today, on his blog, marketing expert Seth Godin wrote: “I’ve noticed that people who read a lot of blogs and a lot of books also tend to be intellectually curious, thirsty for knowledge, quicker to adopt new ideas and more likely to do important work. I wonder which comes first, the curiosity or the success?”.
Well, since he asked, I decided to take time out of my busy day and craft an answer.
Curiosity absolutely precedes success. Curiosity is born from a desire to create, develop, and cultivate a passion or interest. Most people that are able to develop and pursue their passions are able to find success (whether professional or personal) with their chosen passion.
I am convinced that some people are just naturally more curious than other people, and that it takes a certain kind of person to find the drive to become successful. These people see the world as a playground of never-ending possibilities, where every day is a chance to learn something new and exciting.
If you have a certain passion, you will naturally gravitate toward reading books and blogs about your passion. If you don’t yet have a passion, or you’re trying to cultivate a new passion, then you may read about a variety of subjects to see what does and doesn’t appeal to you.
Either way, your natural curiosity propels you to learn and grow. If you don’t care to have passions or interests, then you probably won’t read at all.
I read a lot of blogs and books, but I usually only read blogs and books about certain topics. I either read for entertainment, or I read for knowledge, books about writing, creativity, marketing, design, and technology. Reading is time-consuming, and I make sure that I spend my time with books and other reading materials that will appeal to my interests.
However, nothing I learn is a waste of time.
Sure, the Internet makes it easy for me to read about certain subject matter. Blog aggregators, RSS readers, niche online magazines and publications, search engines, and “smart technologies” like AdWords and Facebook ads serve up content particularly tailored to my interests.
Nowadays, my greatest challenge is to access content that is different from what I would usually read. Reading outside of your interests may not hinder your success, but it could help you be even more successful, more empathetic, and better able to understand how the world works.
All this being said, can you become more curious? I don’t think you would be asking yourself this question if you weren’t curious to begin with, but I think the answer to this question is more existential than anything else: being alive, how can you NOT be curious?
How can you not be totally moved by all that is mysterious and dazzling in this world?
(Photo by altemark)