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The String #28: Advantage Through Curiosity

Curiosity is the intrinsic motivator that makes us grow. The human trait that beats traps such as status and salary.

Jonas Achouri Sihlén
Jonas Achouri Sihlén
3 min read
The String #28: Advantage Through Curiosity

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📖  I read

The below text-snippet is derived originally from the book High Output Management, written by Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel. I haven't read that book (yet) though. I stumbled across it when I turned the page the other day in another book: Ask Your Developer, by Jeff Lawson.

When someone graduates from college with a technical education, at that time and for the next several years, that young person will be fully up-to-date in the technology of the time. Hence, he possesses a good deal of knowledge-based power in the organisation that hired him. If de does well, he will be promoted to higher and higher positions, and as the years pass, his position power will grow but his intimate familiarity with current technology will fade. Put another way, even if today's veteran manager was once an outstanding engineer, he is not the technical expert he was when he joined the company. At Intel, anyway, we managers get a little more obsolete every day.

Even today this technical leader dilemma is true, especially in big organisations operating with multiple "management-layers".

The dilemma is apparent for those who struggle to be influential leaders and technical practitioners at the same time.

In the end, as Francis Frei once said: ...".[..] where, when and to whom you are likely to offer your distraction, it will be to where, to when, and to whom you will withhold your empathy".

🧠 I learned

As a kid you have probably been told to not being too curious, right? Or is it just me...? That is probably one of the most damaging message you can give to a child.

I was once told from a former coach that one of the biggest weaknesses of mine was my relation to information. He sensed that I had a tendency to be easily distracted.

He had a great point! I have always had a nagging feeling that I have been jumping around, context-switching too much through the years. Also, isn't this one of the biggest challenges we have in today's information-abundant society? I hope I am not the only one 🤷🏽‍♂️

On the other hand, if we are not diverting towards more information, how would we foster our curiosity?

One action to take is probably the most obvious one:

Start asking questions.

Not only to yourself but to the people around you. This can be done in a very efficient and natural way. Simply by tapping into your own curiosity.

For example, if you are leader of any kind, you are not there to withhold a certain status or title. You have probably been selected or appointed thanks to your ability to uplift your team. If you are in that privileged state, a big portion of what took you there is probably partly thanks to your curiosity for other people.

Being genuinely curious is a very infectious and important leadership-trait that cannot be trained by reading a book. It is engrained in us as humans.

From a career perspective I have learned that this is the single most important driver, as compared to social status or salary. As the wise Naval once tweeted 👇🏽

Back to my personal experience and learning. Curiosity is what have brought me to where I am today. I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that have emerged in front of me.

Ultimately, if it wasn't for my curiosity I wouldn't be able to live the life I live today. Being home with my kids during their critical years, while having a full-time job as a project manager. With the ability to further explore the creative craft of coding, learning web development and sharing my journey through writing.

It is such a privilege 🙏

Explore further

Below you can find some good resources for further reading, watching and listening.

📖  Ask Your Developer - Jeff Lawson.

🎧  Question Everything - Think fast, talk smart.

💻  Who Is Richard Feynman? - Farnam Street.

📺  Feynman on Curiosity - Reid Gower.

Maybe you want to share some reflections on what you are curious about? Reply to this email or send me an email later at You can also DM me on Twitter.

🎶  I listened

This weeks song is part of my Curiosity playlist on Spotify, that I just started to build up. A perfect tribute to today's subject.

The song was discovered by my lovely wife as she found it perfect for me to include in my movement practice. I couldn't agree more!

Enjoy this song and fuse your curiosity.

Link to the song.

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