Short Thoughts

Curiosity-Driven Self-Development

During my presentation last Saturday, I talked about an idea that has been one of the secret sauces of my career: Curiosity-Driven Self-Development.

In his book “How Will You Measure Your Life,” Christiansen talked about the importance of having a deliberate strategy for your career and the flexibility to embrace an emergent strategy as it becomes available. I loved the idea, and the example he shared to drive home the message was great.

Self-development traditionally aligns with the deliberate strategy for your career. For example, if you want to be a Data Scientist, you start developing your SQL skills. Or if you want to be a finance professional, you start writing your CFA exams. It’s deliberate.

To embrace the emergent strategy, though, you need another type of self-development plan—one that’s driven by curiosity. Yes, you are a Data Scientist, but you are curious about IFRS, so you start reading about it. Similarly, you are an Equity Analyst, but you are curious about Marketing, so you start delving into that. Ultimately, such practices can lead to interesting pivots in your career, as it has for me. I shared some personal stories on Saturday with my audience.

The charge is simple: careers are no longer like ladders that you have to climb but more like jungle gyms that you have to navigate. For most of us, our deliberate career strategy may not materialize due to no fault of ours but merely the universe doing its thing. To maximize our potential, we need to pursue curiosity-driven self-development.