Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Being Curious

Being curious.... does it invoke any curiosity in you?

This is an extract of my post lunch discussion with Naveen Garla at Honeywell.
last week, after discussing all the happenings in and around India, the talk turned to our project work. Why are we getting stressed and why always deadlines haunt us? There was none but we two to answer our own question.
We thought of doing a RCA .... Root cause analysis :)

Were we always as stressed as today or is this something new to us. It is not new to us but I believe there was a time when I was not as stressed as today. In college, yes I used to be stressed when preparing for exam, checking out exam results, entering lab to perform weekly assignments with not much preparation. This was true even in good old school days. How is the current stress different from the past. We all know that stress that grown ups including students undergo daily is virtual and not a real stress as it would be for a pray when it faces a predator.

I doubt having such virtual stress when we were toddlers. Lets consider the case of babies. They want to explore new things... or they are curious. Even the offsprings of any other animal are. They are curious to know things around them by touch, feel, challenging the things around them. Why do they do it. the answer is nature wants them to learn the things around them to achieve the survival advantage over others. Same with humans as well. During our early years, we learn lot of stuff naturally, being curious. As we grow up, due to formal schooling or due to the society we are taught not to challenge the things around us but to obey. Doing so many a times, help us in carrying out our daily activities without much of a hindrance but at a cost....! Yes, the cost is we lose our curiosity.

I being from the IT world will probably give analogy of my work area...

How many of us have tried to explore any new tool that we encounter ,on our own. It is other thing that when we are in trouble, we look out for Internet for help. At least, I seldom do this. How many times have we looked around our surroundings and wondered why the things are what they are. Why traffic light is having red, green and amber and not any other color... .why zebra cross is drawn that way. Why fire exit is always marked in red. Why do we have a certain task as a menu item in our editor tool... many whys, hows, ....

when we are curious, we question, we learn and develop the skills. we no more look at the task in hand from the end result perspective rather as something from which we can learn... looking at what we can achieve or results often push as back. We end up being feared by failure. Often, the companies to whom we work or clients want results which is fair. but if we try to look at only the results and not the process of achieving it, we will not achieve. If we achieve, it will not be the best way of achieving it.

In this post, I don't want to conclude something but would request you to question yourself. Should we be result oriented or curious. There is a sense of satisfaction in learning something new which often fades out once we achieve the result.

It is upto the individual what they want... I think being curious itself is something rewarding...


neergund said...

Nice post Sandeep. :)
Makes lot of sense

venu said...

whatever you discussed is good , but not suffecient . stree comes from hard dead lines for e.g. there is bug before release . we need to fix this bug before release date . if it is functional bug , we can think of doing with definite time . but there are bugs which require good amount of time ( race conditions) .Naturally manager wants to make release , but engineer is at force to solve this bug within no time , hence pressure builds up , here nothing to learn /being curious