Captains Curious: Meet Me in Curiosity

Welcome to Captains Curious, a weekly series of guest posts on the subject of Curiosity. The newest contributing member is Andrea Lewicki! To learn about the other Captains Curious, please click here.

Meet Me in Curiosity

Curiosity makes us better people to each other. Curiosity seeds engagement and empathy, not competition.

It means we are genuinely interested in each other, not in how we rank in comparison.

But that’s not how we usually meet each other. You know the drill: A room of strangers at the start of an organized gathering. Everyone takes a seat and the host delivers a welcome message. Then these words fill the air:

“Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.”

Left on our own, we choose to meet in Competition

Several years ago I walked into a room with a dozen or so other people I had not yet met. It was my first day of class in an executive business school program. We had come straight from a day of conference rooms and email floods. We were a room full of managers on our best alpha behavior. Small, formal greetings. Minimal eye contact. A silent commentary running through our minds while we sized each other up.

Competition was our default setting.

The introductions were predictable – the high performance of posturing. We offered up impressive titles with immense responsibility. Grandiose workplaces emerged from the fine print of the business cards tucked away in our pockets.

Our interactions throughout this course remained stiff and awkward. Class discussion was minimal – we spoke to our professor, not each other, seeking her approval for our egos. Delivery of our assignments and presentations was wooden, perfunctory. Often, we appeared to be fighting boredom.

Meeting in Curiosity, a twist on an old routine

A year later I joined 30 other students on our first day of a different class. Even more managers, prepared to make an impression.

We introduced ourselves, but with a twist. This time the professor asked us to tell the class something about ourselves that most people didn’t know. Without the titles, the job, the same old cocktail party lines.

The energy in the room was…different. We were a little nervous and a little excited at the same time. During the process, we laughed and smiled together. We asked each other questions, wanting to know more. We sought each other out during breaks, making connections through mutual interests we otherwise would have missed.

Most importantly,we shared our multi-faceted selves in a way that increased empathy and decreased competition. We were curious about each other.

We were present more as our whole selves.

The dynamics in this group were distinctly different. In-class discussions were lively and fluid between classmates and our professor. Breaks often ran long because they were full of conversation. Group projects were imaginative and creative, with active particpation.

Curiosity gave me a second chance

I almost missed out on a great friendship because of competition. I initially met my friend in the first class. Right away I didn’t like her. There was something about her behavior that got under my skin, and I didn’t like being reminded of it every time our class met.

I made a lot of assumptions about her. All of them were wrong.

We were introduced again in curiosity during the later class. Instead of assuming, I asked. So did she. We discovered a mutually shared interest and soon became good friends. All because we finally met in curiosity and gave each other the opportunity to be more of ourselves.

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Andrea Lewicki designs experiences for people to re-engage and maintain their curiosity. She believes that true curiosity is an ego-less quality that seeds kindness and compassion, and that the world is a better place when we can be who we really are. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband. You can meet Andrea in curiosity at the Grand Opening of The Lewicki Agency, a 24-hour interactive, live streaming event on Oct. 28th. You can find out more about her work and the event at She can also be found on Twitter at @Andrea_Lewicki.

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Would you like to submit a guest post on the subject of Curiosity? Send an email to susan {at} susanTblake {dot} com with the subject line: Captains Curious.

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  1. Guest post for Captains Curious at Susan T. Blake Consulting | The Lewicki Agency - November 3, 2011

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