Do you recall anyone admonishing you with the warning, “curiosity killed the cat”?

The warning suggests trouble awaits you on the other end of probing too deeply, investigating outside your purview, meddling, snooping, prying where you don’t belong, and just plain ‘ole “being nosy.” 

Let go of those negative implications of curiosity for a moment.

Curiosity as a Tool

Instead of a drive to uncover secrets others’ are concealing from you, imagine curiosity as a tool that drives you to discover what others highly desire for you to know and understand. 

That’s right! 

We often don’t understand what others want us to understand. 

Possibly because our perception of what they said conflicts with our understanding and beliefs. 

Consider that curiosity is your ally when navigating conflict and disagreement.

Barriers to Understanding Others Include:

  • Unstated assumptions
  • Prior experiences that blind me to seeing similar circumstances in a new way
  • Certainty that I already understand
  • Certainty that I’m right 

To weaken these and similar barriers to understanding someone else, get curious!

Curiosity Helps Us ASK:

  • Rather than assume
  • When our default might be to tell
  • What seems obvious (remember obvious, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder)
  • Instead of judge
  • Others what assumptions in me they are noticing (wow that’s a challenging one)

So, get curious! Ask the hard questions to better understand what others really want you to hear and understand! Curiosity may just be your pathway to greater understanding, empathy, and a perspective shift that opens new possibilities! 


The cat is fine! Curiosity just helped the cat learn a few new things about the world and herself!


Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash