Your Hidden Super Power


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Any superhero worth their salt has an origin story, a story where they are normal people to start with, even weak and pushed around. Then there is an inciting incident that leads them to discover a super power that they possess. Then they test the limits of their super power by trying to experiment what all they can do with their new found super power.

Now, consider reading this post as your inciting incident. The super power that I am talking about is – “Curiosity“. I am hoping that there is some comic artist who is thinking about a super hero character whose super power is “Radical Applied Curiosity“. This super hero character could be named – “The Common Man“.

The ability to be curious is an inherent trait of our species. It helped us survive and evolve into who are now. Infants and children are curious about everything that they come across. Everything that we see, touch and feel in our modern lives is a result of someone, somewhere having been curious about something.

The medicines we take, the vehicles that we drive in, the food that we eat, the dress that we wear, the content that we watch, the books that we read, the comfortable home that we live in, the cubicle in your office, everything thing is a result of someone applying their curiosity and take it to its logical conclusion.

We can re-discover our curiosity anytime we decide to go looking for it. This requires us to get rid or at least reduce our inhibitions and the fear of standing out and making a fool out of ourselves. This is the biggest inhibitor of our curiosity.

This is like dust covering a mirror. When there is a lot of it, it hides the mirror completely. All you need for the mirror to shine through is for someone to wipe the dust off. The inherent property of the mirror is there all the time, just didn’t shine through. It is exactly the same with curiosity.

When we apply our curiosity to people, we practice empathy. When we apply the same curiosity to ideas, we end up with creativity. When we apply it to problems, we come up with innovation. When we apply it to opportunities, we end up with interesting journeys.

The question then is how to start being curious.

1. Slow down:

The first step in being curious is to slow down our pace. Slow down enough to notice the mushroom on the sidewalk. Slow down enough to see the new shop that has opened in our neighbourhood. Slow down to be able to notice things around us.

2. Notice:

The second step is to notice what is changing around us. To notice anything that surprises us. To notice that when doctors dont wash their hands before delivering babies, mothers tend to get infections and die. To notice the chocolate in our pant pocket melting when we are near a magnetron.

3. Experiment or Explore:

The next step is to explore or experiment. When we notice the chocolate bar melting near a Megatron, check what else happens (does it pop corn?). Create and run simple experiments to check what happens when we change something about our experience until we have an interesting insight.

4. Act on the insight:

The next step is to act on the insight. When we see that World Wide Web growing, take action to set up an online store to sell books. When we have done enough experiments to create a device that can pop corns and be used as a cooking appliance. Or write a book about or create a podcast about it.

5. Garner support:

Nothing great is ever achieved by working alone. Even when one has discovered an anti-biotic or figured out why women giving births get infected and die when overseen by a doctor, these are not automatically accepted by our society.

We need to learn how to enrol people to our cause and garner support. Here we apply our curiosity towards people and what makes them tick and work with them till the device or the medicine or the process is accepted enmasse.

In conclusion:

In conclusion, I can only say that being curious is as natural as breathing. The more intentional we are about either, the better we get at both. Every significant achievement or progress that our species has made in our evolution has preceded with someone being curious.

Now, it is our turn to be curious. Now it is our turn to wipe the dust clean from our curiosity and apply it. It is even more important if we are a leader. What we do is seen by everyone we lead. If we are curious and give permission for our teams to be curious, we can achieve great things together.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mukesh Gupta
I currently work for SAP as Customer advocate. In this capacity, I am responsible to ensure that the voice of the customer is being heard and play the bridge between customers and SAP. Prior to joining SAP, I have worked with different organizations serving in different functions like customer service, logistics, production planning & sales, marketing and business development functions. I was also the founder-CEO of a start-up called "Innovative Enterprises". The venture was in the retail & distribution business. I blog at


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