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Curiosity didn’t kill the cat: Why being curious and pushing the comfort zone is key to growing your business


Curiosity may well have killed the cat; but just as a cat has nine lives, in business we have to be prepared to reincarnate and envision new life. The only way to do that is by constantly being curious – and questioning the why.

It’s time to challenge the status quo. Status quo is the enemy of change, new ideas, innovation and invention. Change resisters risk falling behind the competition, they refuse to explore alternate thinking and solutions resulting in complacency and the risk of failure in an uncertain future.

Questioning the status quo on the other hand opens up a world of opportunity. It’s a catalyst for change that can alter your outcome and help you become an inventor and an explorer of new possibility.

Embrace childhood curiosity

As adults we need to tap into the amazing curious mindset that kids maintain on a twenty-four hour basis; the phenomenal ability they have to imagine not what is, but what could be.

Children have a wonderful concentration on the limitless horizon of the endless journey – and with this, the ability to create and recreate new paths and new outcomes.

Even the words ‘once upon a time’ mean that they are changing the way the world is operating – because in that statement lies a chance to make a different story, and change what was, to what might be.

Children continuously question the status quo, and in doing so, open up opportunities and dreams – we all need to do the same if we are to future proof ourselves and our businesses.

Are you curious enough to question the why?

If you want anything to change, if you want to stretch your thinking and ideation well and truly outside of your current comfort zone, you have to be the one to make it happen.

Questions are innately the way to open the doors to change. Questioning the why, the who, the what, the where and the when means bringing a catalyst about.

It will alter outcomes; it will immediately make you an innovator, an inventor and an explorer. It will bring possibilities that before may have seemed like impossibilities.

Don’t assume there is no alternative simply because the obvious road ahead seems blocked. Question. Be curious. Look at the why.

Because if you want anything to change, you have to seek out the detour and navigate a new direction. It is not going to appear on a Google map in front of your brain.

You have to question the why to understand a situation as it stands, and to know how to improve the present for the betterment of the future.

Take control and open the door to change

Driving change, breaking open the status quo, requires ongoing exploration of what, who and where we could be – and active enquiry into all the options available.

Without this questioning mind, doors to the future remain firmly slammed shut. The lens of opportunity is blurred. And thinking becomes dull, contracted and stale.

Asking “What if?” creates new opportunity. Ray Kroc said, “Why can’t I get a good hamburger at the side of the road?” and McDonald’s was born.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger couldn’t understand why there was no ability to share images on smartphones… and Instagram was created.

Jodie Fox wanted to know why, if men could get customised suits from Asia, women couldn’t get their own shoe designs in the same way. With business partners Michael Fox and Mike Knapp she created Shoes Of Prey to provide just that service, and they are now expanding internationally.

If there is one thing that doesn’t need to be questioned, it is this.

Highly successful individuals do not become that way by idling in the status quo carpark of life, waiting for progress and profits to come to them. They make it happen. They are curious. They have embraced the childhood curiosity of “Why?”

It’s up to you to make the impossible possible. It’s up to you to decide to take action. It’s up to you to visualise the future you want.

It’s time to start thinking and understanding with childish excitement and wonder and enthusiasm again. And it all starts with a question.

 Janine Garner is the Founder and CEO of LBDGroup and works with senior leaders to build high performing teams. She is also the author of From Me To We – Why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success published by Wiley.