Ahh… Sibling rivalry. That reminds me of the good ol’ days. Like the time my brother got a new fishing pole when we were little kids. He tied a bolt to the end of the string and practiced casting out into the middle of the front yard. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He wanted a moving target. So he asked me to play a game. Of course I wanted to play. So he told me to go out and run around in the middle of the front yard. I ran around in the front yard while he prepared himself for the perfect cast. Then he released the string, and the bolt zipped through the air, and hit me straight on the head. Of course, our parents just happened to be watching out of the window. They ran outside and scolded my brother for blasting me in the head with the bolt. That was the end of my brother’s fishing pole days.
Forget about the cat… It’s no secret why investigative journalists get the scoop. Journalists are curious creatures, always hunting for a good story. Part of the success of the news media is that they answer the question “What’s going on today?” Not only that, they answer it in a very specific way using the 5W’s and 1H system: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. The leader that seeks is able to uncover the answers and get a truer, more honest look at how and why things work the way they do. People like to surround themselves with people who are curious because it shows them you have the desire to learn and that you’re willing to investigate an issue before proceeding haphazardly. If you’re not curious, people will think you’re not interested in learning, and that you’re not willing to learn the big picture. When you are curious, you get inquisitive. When you start asking questions, you get answers. The more you ask, the more you receive.
Tis the season to be jolly, and as such I wanted to share with you a leadership gift this holiday. Let me tell you a story. Comic Tom Dreeson, a friend of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra, went on David Letterman on December 15 and told a story about how hard it was to shop for Frank Sinatra. He said that everyone had a hard time figuring out what to get Frank for Christmas because he was such a huge celebrity.
Frank told his friends to ask Tom what he did. Tom told the story about how he would donate money to a local soup kitchen. The soup kitchen placed a little card at each seat that said “This meal provided by Frank Sinatra.” Why was Sinatra so fond of this as a gift? For one, it made Sinatra feel significant. Sinatra’s name was linked to helping feed the hungry. Even though Sinatra didn’t use his own money to pay for the food, the generous donation was provided in his name, which probably made Sinatra feel as if he had contributed more to society. Also, each and every person would eat that meal thinking about one thing: the generosity of Frank Sinatra.
Realizing the value in all things will allow you to live a more respectful life as a leader. To realize the value in all things, you’ve got to keep an open mind. When you have an open mind, you free yourself from prejudices, stereotypes, and discounting of people, places and things. Your curiosity might lead you to want to know more, but keeping an open mind allows you to get an even clearer sense of reality. If you’re curious without an open mind, you’re hosed. Close minded people show little consideration for other people, places, and things. Close minded people look to confirm prejudices and stereotypes rather than find out the truth. If you keep an open mind, honor the value of everything, and believe that everything is worth learning about without prejudgment, you will show people that you care and are willing to consider their side of the story.