Countless times over the years, I stood with my mouth hanging wide open in awe of my mentors’ capacity to motivate people to be more and do more. I became obsessed with discovering the secrets of their ability to inspire and influence on such a colossal scale: colossal both in volume and virtue. After many conversations with my UNCOMMODiFiED gurus, with a whiskey by my side, a cigar in my mouth, and a pen in my hand, I catalogued a list of their inspirational actions and attitudes. Here’s one for you to challenge yourself with:
the UNCOMMODiFiED are always UNUSUALLY PERPLEXED; they spend most of their day scratching their head and questioning their last question.
The UNCOMMODiFiED influencers I have had the privilege to encounter operate from a place of great uncertainty as if they are looking for a missing puzzle piece. They are curious by nature, allowing that curiosity to drive them. They heed the counsel of English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking: “Look up to the stars, not at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”
The UNCOMMODiFiED are unashamed of their uncertainty because they know it is the pathway to possibility. They are wonderfully comfortable with not having all the answers, even if they are paid and expected to have them. They understand that inviting more people into the process of discovery and exploration of ideas will create better results by releasing collective wisdom. They are comfortable in their own skin and can embrace the limitation of their knowledge. They know what they know, but they readily admit that they don’t know everything. They’re not afraid to ask a lot of people a lot of questions. But don’t be fooled. They’re smart. They’re wise. Yet they understand that we are all more intelligent and more discerning when we all explore and answer the right questions together.
Richard Stanley is precisely this kind of UNCOMMODiFiED thinker. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with Richard, a business owner and manufacturing plant turn-around wizard. He has dramatically impacted the productivity and profitability of large-scale manufacturing facilities by remaining perplexed and asking probing questions. These questions enabled him to identify inefficiencies and system-wide clutter that impeded people and processes from creating more significant outcomes. He calls this the process of “finding the awkward.” If you want to learn more about Richard and his turnaround skills, listen to episode #45 of the UNCOMMODiFiED Podcast, entitled “Sturdy Success: Positive, Proficient, & Profitable.” In that UNCORK Conversation, Richard and I dive deeply into what he has learned about taking organizations from inefficiency to efficiency, from losing money to making money and from an unhealthy culture to a healthy culture.
Along with the other unusually perplexed people I have encountered, Richard chooses to remain curious and perplexed enough to patiently hold out for the truth that will set the future free for them and their teams. They look beyond the quick fix and continue to ask the right questions until they find what they’re looking for. Curious people are continuously eager to learn something new and expand what they already know. They are in good company with other UNCOMMODiFiED outliers, like German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, who humbly stated: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Image that! Einstein said he had no special talents other than passionate curiosity. Biographer Walter Isaacson makes a compelling case that Leonardo DaVinci’s brilliance wasn’t so much about technical mastery but was instead fueled by an insatiable and unrivalled curiosity about everything.
Curiosity is one of the most valuable competencies in life and business. The “Unusually Perplexed” start with genuine curiosity, and activate their genuine interest in listening and learning from others. They initiate “curious conversations” that ooze investigation, interest, and intrigue, generating enthusiasm for the work that matters. Their ultimate skill lurks within their ability to listen carefully, speak with clarity, and encourage themselves and others to act on the information and ideas unlocked through discovery.
Now it’s your turn to become unusually perplexed and passionately curious.
UNCAGE iT NOW IN YOUR WORLD!
Are you willing to be perplexed in front of others and to ask questions? Do you like your answer to this question? If you don’t, what are you going to do about that?
Do you remain perplexed enough to learn and to grow for your sake and for the sake of others? Do you like your answer to this question? If you don’t, what are you going to do about that?
What will you do to grow your desire to be perplexed and curious?
WRITTEN BY: TIM WINDSOR
Tim is the dynamic host of the UNCOMMODiFiED podcast, author of the UNCOMMODiFiED book, and the Senior and Founding Partner of FERVESCO.