By Tamara Carrillo McLeod April 13, 2023

Curiosity killed the cat” was a headline written in an Irish newspaper back in 1868. That phrase has become an old proverb which implies that there are significant dangers associated with investigation, experimentation, or asking too many questions. Over the next 150 years we would come to learn that it is the sheer “lack of” curiosity that can kill our ability to be effective communicators and leaders. In addition, a lack of curiosity is the fastest way to kill these 3 important things:

  1. A lack of curiosity kills meaningful communication and relationships– both professionally and personally. Human beings want to feel seen and heard and the fastest way to appease this basic human need is through curiosity. Asking questions about someone is the quickest way for them to feel valued and cared for. In my early career as a communication coach, I would often feel intense pressure to be creative and interesting. Then one day a friend once challenged me to put the pressure of being interesting aside for a moment and instead focus all of my energy on simply being interested.  That one little shift improved all future communication as well as the relationships in my life. 
  2. A lack of curiosity kills innovation- When our curiosity is activated, we feel engaged, we care, we want more. We think more deeply and intentionally and are able to come up with more creative solutions. Curiosity is really the fuel for innovation. As the brilliant Albert Einstein once said,  “I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious!”
  3. A lack of curiosity kills a growth mindset- curiosity is key to a growth mindset and growth mindset is key to great leadership.  So often in our work as leaders, we strive to become the expert. But that expert mentality can sometimes shut the door to curiosity and growth. A growth mindset is really about embracing the beginner’s mind and opening yourself up to the endless possibilities that will follow.


So are you ready to get curious? Here is a Curiosity Challenge to get you started. Each morning when you wake up ask yourself the following question- “What will I get curious about today?” Keep a post it note on your office wall or computer with that very question on it and simply pick one thing to get curious about. Will it be an existing process, a person on your team, a new skill?

The possibilities are endless and so are the benefits! Yes, curiosity may have killed the cat, but as we later learned, it was satisfaction that brought him back!

Curiosity is a skill we focus on in ELEVATE- Our signature Leadership Development program. Are you curious? Click here to learn more: Elevate: A Leadership Development Experience