I’m catching up on my backlog of 848 podcasts, consuming almost 38GB of the storage on my 64GB iPhone SE. Let’s be realistic here, I will never catch up. But I do go through the list every so often, painfully eliminating a few podcasts at a time after asking myself, “Are you going to listen to this?” and when the decision isn’t to immediately delete it, I ask again: “Are you REALLY going to listen to this sometime in the next couple of years?” Sometimes the answer is “yes” so I keep it on there only to repeat the process again when I have some downtime where I nothing better to do.
I love a couple of shows that are dedicated to self-improvement, both of which are from the no bullshit school of self-improvement: The Jordan Harbinger Show and The Tim Ferris Show. Both of these shows feature in-depth interviews with a wide range of experts in a wide range of professions. Many of the shows I flag are those interviews with creative people — artists, authors, psychologists, and thinkers that employ creativity aggressively in their personal and professional lives.
Inspiration for This Blog Post
Episode 279 of the Tim Ferris Show features a long interview with Brian Grazer, the Academy Award-winning producer and founder of Imagine Entertainment. I really don’t know much about the guy, other than being vaguely aware that he has been involved in a lot of projects (many of them with Tom Hanks as the star) and being best buddies with Ron Howard. But one thing in this podcast caught my attention. He attributes his success largely to a practice he started early in his career working as a law clerk for Warner Brothers studios he called “Curiosity Conversations.”
Basically he put his awareness into hyper-drive and if something piqued his interest and he wanted to know more about, he targeted an expert in that field and learned all that he could about that person and developed a set of questions that he could ask over a brief lunch or coffee meeting that simply could not be answered through research alone. This primed his pump as a storyteller and cultivated many ideas that resulted in the partnerships that ended up creating mega-hits such as Friday Night Lights, Splash, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and many, many more.
This show made me realize that I need to do this in my own world. My introverted nature and deep reservations about being nosy or intrusive prevents me from engaging with the people around me sometimes. This is way outside of my comfort zone but is an area that I need to expand in order to cultivate one of the aspects of creativity that I’ve been starving on the vine for far too long: Curiosity.
DO IT! — Action Items
- Listen to Episode 279 of the Tim Ferris Show — The Most Curious Man in Hollywood — Brian Grazer and take some notes.
- Get a copy of Brian Grazer’s book: A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, read it and take some notes.
- Research a list of good conversation starter questions that can help engage strangers into a conversation.
- Begin a list of people you want to target for Curiosity Conversations and report the results here in this blog.