I recently learnt how curiosity is such a valuable part of success. As soon as you think you know it all you’re getting into a trap. When I catch myself doing it, I remind myself that I need to be curious, like a child trying to figure everything out.
During a recent workshop with a corporate client I noticed everyone was having a great time, except for one lady. Her body language was closed off – her arms were folded, eyes wandering and eventually I just let her be. If you’re not going to get into the game of life then you shouldn’t be playing, and I’m not going to spend my time on you. We proceeded with the workshop & I explained how body language can tell you so much about a person because it is unconscious communication signals. One person asked how you would know if someone is being defensive or disinterested. I folded my arms to show it’s a defensive position.
The lady who’d been sitting that way the whole time put up her hand and said, “Laurens, that’s not how I see it. The way I grew up, in my culture, when you’re going to school the most important thing is to listen to the teacher. We were taught to close our arms because it means we can’t be distracted by other things.” She also said when you talk to a superior, looking away every so often shows a sign of respect. Holding eye contact is seen as challenge and aggression whereas in my culture, eye contact represents trust and engagement. I realised I had completely neglected her from the workshop because of the judgement I had made. Instead of being curious about her body language and asking her about it, I made the mistake of thinking I know better.
This week, I want to encourage you to be more curious. Try see the world through the eyes of a kid – how does this work? Why is that person acting that way? I really believe if you can be curious, you can change the game.
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