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Liddy Bakker at her desk at the office
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How do you keep up if you are not curious?

Liddy bakker Marshall Goldsmith and Geerten lengkeek at WOBI Sydney

In a world filled with massive disruption – climate change, a global pandemic, and articifial intelligence are three existential topics that come to mind – it is hard not to feel anxious, powerless or overwhelmed.  Yet while we cannot individually control the disruptions, we can control our response to them.

Rather than shutting down, we need to open up and learn. Now more than ever, we need to harnass our power of curiosity. It is in curiosity that we find our motivation to learn; curiosity is the yeast for improvement and curiosity leads you to a life filled with wonder. The people that adapt best to disruption are the life-long learners.

The theme of curiosity came through with several speakers at this year’s WOBI World Business Forum in Sydney, which our directors Liddy Bakker and Geerten Lengkeek attended. Both curious about more topics than there is time to learn about them, they came away inspired – to learn even more.

Former Pepsico Chair and CEO Indra Nooyi told the audience she had won the lottery of life as her parents and grandparents fiercely believed (and invested) in the education of women and girls when she grew up in India. Her recommendation was for everyone to “carve out daily time for learning”.

 

Avatar and Titanic filmmaker James Cameron subscribed his films’ success to the people that worked the hard problems with curiosity, that found those challenges galvanising.

Columbia Business School professor Modupe Akinola explained that curiosity, expressed in the desire to understand, learn about and seek out differences between people, is the most powerful way to overcome the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity challenges we all face.

Both Amy Gallo, a leading expert in workplace relations and best-selling author of ‘Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)’, and Harvard Business School Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy touched on how change affects people. Disruption is exponential change, often forced upon us. And when we face this type of change we feel we have no agency to adapt. We think we are powerless. But we are not.

Be educated about the disruptive change. Learning about the change, for example how Chat GPT and other AI work and affect our lives, or how the science of climate change works. You will learn what will change, how this will change, and what will stay the same. It’s the vacuum of knowledge of the change that makes us anxious first and foremost, not the change itself.

Curiosity never killed the cat. It made it learn, adapt and thrive. You can too.

About the author: Geerten Lengkeek is the Managing Director of Productivity People