I didn’t hate school, but I didn’t love it, either. I was always kind of middle-of-the-road, grade wise. Nothing came naturally to me, so I had to work really hard in order to get decent grades. Consequently, by the time college graduation came around, my 3.2 grade point average and I were tired of learning and excited to be done with school forever.
What I didn’t fully expect shortly after being on my own in the real world, though, was how much I’d miss always learning something new. I was bored to tears in my job and felt like I was just going through the motions. There was no challenge and I hated that. So I made the decision to become curious and start learning again. I taught myself how to basket weave, I learned the art of canvas-painting, I took an online class on coding, I watched documentaries about things like Scientology and the O.J. Simpson and Sommeliers, I started learning the basics of German, I took a course to become certified in TEFL.
I quit math, science, and aesthetics when I graduated; but it turns out, I never quit learning. And while the skills I’ve spent my time on probably aren’t going to directly impact my career, I fully believe I’m a better employee because I refuse to let myself quit being curious about the way things work.
Why is learning and curiosity so crucial to success in work?
- You’ll never grow bored. There are so many new and interesting skills and ideas in this world, that it’s impossible to ever learn everything, especially if you want to gain any kind of mastery over it. If you commit to always learning something new, boredom becomes impossible.
- You’ll stay humble. Again, there are so many skills to be learned and ideas to be thought about that it’s impossible to learn them all. There will always be something you don’t know, and when you’re aware of that fact, it’s pretty easy to stay humble.
- You’ll become indispensable to your team. When you commit to learning, you’ll get good at it. You’ll become quicker at picking up new tasks, and you’ll eventually become indispensable to your team. They’ll know that they can come to you and, even if you don’t know how to do what they need, you’ll learn it.
Staying curious and constantly committing to learning new things is an asset that will make you a better employee in general, not just with the stuff you enjoy doing, but also with the monotonous, day-to-day, busy work that you could do without.
In a recent study done by the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), one of the co-authors, Dr. Matthias Gruber, said this of curiosity: “Curiosity puts the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it.”
Not only will a commitment to learning and curiosity make your life more interesting, it will rewire your brain to retain even the most boring of information. In turn, you’ll get better and better at your job and become an invaluable member of any team you’re on. There is no downside.