How I accidentally made curiosity into a weakness

I’ve been told that curiosity is one of my super-powers, and yet I accidentally turned it into a weakness. Thankfully, I worked out how to turn it back into a strength!

The curiosity cliche

Did you know that ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is only half of the saying?

I don’t know about you, but I heard those four words approximately eleventy-billion times growing up. I was the kid who always asked ‘why?’. And I was never satisfied until I got what I considered to be a “proper” answer.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned that ‘curiosity killed the cat’ wasn’t the full saying.

Curiosity and satisfaction

One day, I learned that the second half of the saying is ‘and satisfaction brought it back’.

Mind officially blown!

I’d always known that when my curiosity went unanswered, it felt like an itch I couldn’t scratch. It would escalate and escalate. And I would get increasingly desperate to find answers. I would be in a constant state of dissatisfaction until I got the answers I sought.

Somehow, despite being one of my super-powers, curiosity was getting in my way.

Dissatisfaction created a weakness

What I didn’t realise at the time was that the deep dissatisfaction I was feeling turned my curiosity into a weakness. Not a weakness in terms of ‘something I don’t do well’, but ‘something that prevents me from doing well’.

My focus was so zeroed in on the unsatisfied curiosity “itch” that I couldn’t pay attention to other things that were equally, if not more, important. Not having the answers chewed up so much mental capacity that I would get distracted and make silly mistakes.

Turning curiosity back into a strength

Discovering how to stop my curiosity acting as a weakness has taken me much longer than I care to admit! I don’t want you to go through the same torturous journey I travelled to get this insight.

I used to think that I had to go all in with my strengths, using them to their utmost every day. But I was wrong. It turns out that our strengths are like an orchestra.

If every instrument played at full volume for the entire performance, the result would be a cacophony. The magic of the composer’s art would be lost in the sea of sound.

Orchestras do their best work, and let the composer’s genius shine, when each instrument plays its part. Sometimes, that is loud and strident. Other times, it’s playing softly, or not at all.

Our strengths work the same way. Sometimes, a strength needs to be dialled all the way up to 100. At other times, we’ll achieve the best outcome by quietening one strength so another can have its moment to shine.

And that’s exactly what I’ve learned to do with my curiosity. Instead of having it at 100 all day every day, I look for situations where will add value, and let it play. And I keep an eye out for times and places where it won’t be helpful, or might even be detrimental to the desired outcome, and dial it back. The phrase I use to guide me is, “just because I can doesn’t mean I should“.

How's your orchestra?

You are the conductor in your life. You get to choose which strengths to call up, which to quieten down, and where and when you’ll let each strength play out.

Some of your strengths might need a bit of tuning up, especially if you haven’t let them play in a while. Others might need a bit of maintenance because they’ve been carrying the rest of the orchestra without a rest.

I work 1:1 with people who are ready to level-up with their strengths, and unleash their awesome. If you’re interested in finding out how working with me can help you bring your special brand of magic to the world, book your free 30min discovery call now 👇🏻

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