Face to Face

Stay Curious, My Friend

by Tony DiLeonardi

In Bob Dylan's classic song "Forever Young," the artist instructs us to stay young-young at heart, young at thought and young at action.  It occurred to me recently that this concept of youthfulness is a great concept to achieve success and significance in your practice today. 

The truth that really penetrated my thoughts was the concept of staying curious.  Curiosity is defined as: "an eager desire to know; inquisitiveness." Like a child, always ask why.  Always be interested.   Continuously seek understanding.  This trait will keep you young, but also open new ways of thinking, producing, selling and living.

What occurred that refreshed my view of curiosity and staying young?  While dragging the entire family out for a little frolicking family fun, it hit me.  We traversed down to the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago from the suburbs.  Since the ticket line was long, I moved us up to the annual membership line and proceeded to purchase the family package annual membership.  I rationalized that with just one more visit this year, this membership would pay for itself. Furthermore, we were doing a good thing to support the animals.  Finally, I admitted to my son, the line is a lot shorter and I didn't want to waste time! 

As new members, we were all handed our entrance bracelets for the day and tickets to a 12:30 pm show.  Honestly, I didn't really listen to the lady when she explained what the show was.

When it was about five minutes before the show was to start, I said to my family, let's go to this show.  My three teenagers groaned and complained without knowing what the show was.  I confess my wife and I looked at each other as to say, "We don't want to sit and listen to some guy talk about fish." 

It was my 9-year-old daughter who finally said, "Let's go! Why wouldn't we go?  What is the show about, anyway?"

We went in, albeit a few minutes late, dragging the teenagers behind the 9-year-old.  To our surprise, we were all amazed!  I'm not sure the last time you've been to a dolphin show, but this show was like no dolphin show I had ever seen as a kid.

This was a modernized musical dolphin extravaganza! It included a three story high multi-media screen, "floating" on top of the water.  It included video shots of the dolphins and beluga whales in action, movie scenes of them in the wild and multi-level screen shots of almost anything else that could create an emotional response as your eyes flipped from the screen to the real mammals doing amazing things in the water.   The men and women in, on and above the water were directing these creatures with amazing precision and grace - like acrobats in a circus.  It was accompanied by an acoustic guitar and singing trio that entertained throughout.  This was not the dolphin show of my youth.  It captured every sense and emotion possible.

What lesson did I learn?  Lesson one was because the tickets were given to us for "free," we placed no value on them.  We were wrong.  More importantly, lesson two was because of the curiosity of my 9-year-old daughter, we all enjoyed the show that moments earlier we had written off as an inconvenience at best.

What does this mean to you?  Stay curious!  Ask the why questions.  Curiosity will lead you to more success and significant relationships.  Genuine curiosity will lead you to modernizing your own sales approach, creating an innovative solution, understanding your clients' needs and wants better, and enjoying relationships more while learning even more about life and yourself.  All because you stayed curious and were not afraid to ask the why questions.  If you believe you've learned enough, you've stopped asking why.

So what can childlike curiosity do for you?

-Modernize your approach or your technique; open your mind to new ideas
-Help you learn
-Enjoy people more
-Keep you optimistic
-Love life
-Be grateful

Those are the results that matter!  Those are attributes that will change lives.  Those features arrive because we stay curious and ask "why?" 

Let me close with some youthful words from Mr. Dylan's benediction as you attempt to "Stay Forever Young."

May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Lyrics by Bob Dylan, 1974