Curiosity

Be Curious this Christmas.

For that matter, whatever holidays you celebrate in the last weeks of this year and the early weeks of the new year, I encourage you to invite curiosity to your holiday gatherings.

As you have read over the past months, CliftonStrengths® and CoreClarity® demonstrate that we are each designed to approach life in unique and diverse ways. Some of us are more prone to rules and doing, thinking, and saying “right” things. Others are less committed to a certain way of doing things. Some people are more relational and others are more task-oriented. One thing is for certain, each of us can have some pretty strong opinions about what is “right” and what is not “right.” 

It is for that reason that many gatherings with friends and family are so intense, stressful, combative, and unpleasant. As a result, the season of “love, joy, and peace” is also a season of violence, conflict, quarrels, and sadly, suicide. In fact, I know of one family who no longer gathers at holidays because things become so contentious. If they do gather, there is a strict rule against talking politics. 

My hunch is that you would like to have a less stressful, more enjoyable holiday with friends and family. Enter Curiosity.

When your Belief®, Relator®, Deliberative®, or Consistency® talent shows up to insist on the right thing, pause and be curious first. When talents such as Empathy®, Significance®, and Strategic®, strive to “put first things first,” be curious. Really, any of our talents can show up very intense. When they do, be curious.

Be curious about why you are so passionate about your position. Do you need to be so passionate about your position? If so, do you need to be passionate about it at this particular gathering? 

Then be curious about the positions of others. Note their passion and conviction. Even respect it. Then, put your curiosity into action… ask them questions! Try these,

“I can tell that you care deeply about that. Where do that care and passion come from?” 

“How long have you felt this way?” 

“What sorts of things are you doing to support your cause?”

If all else fails, change the subject with curiosity: What’s your favorite color? How about those Red Sox? What is one of your favorite holiday memories?

My hunch is that most of us are passionate about our convictions because they are in some way tied to caring for people better and treating people “right.” While it is fascinating that “treating people right” can look so different, I think one of the best ways to “treat people right” is to not have to prove that we are right. In other words, choose to be curious about their position. Honor them enough to respect their position even if you are 100% against it, and resist your need to be right or voice your position. Chances are you will have a more pleasant holiday season. You might even learn something. 

While curiosity might have killed the cat, it can save your holidays and make gathering with friends and family more tolerable, and maybe even more enjoyable! So, That is my goal this season: be curious. Believe me, I have plenty of strong opinions, but I don’t want to make my opinions my “gift” to everyone this holiday. Rather, I will gift them with curiosity. 

“CliftonStrengths” and the 34 CliftonStrengths theme names are registered trademarks of Gallup, Inc. The graphic elements copyright © CoreClarity, Inc.

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