I recently came across the following list written/compiled by David Heenan: Ten Keys to Life Fulfillment: 1. Listen to your heart 2. Take one step at a time 3. Deliver daily 4. Maintain a maverick mind-set 5. Focus, focus, focus 6. Never stop learning 7. Build a brain trust (network of knowledgeable people) 8. Reinvent Yourself 9. Sell Yourself 10. Start now!

This list rocks!!! I love it. It’s balanced and passionate and practical and focused and full of hope.

These are all things I strive to deliver to my students and clients.

I believe that we can have anything and everything we want. It’s possible to have satisfying work which also pays well. We can be fulfilled in our careers and have time and energy to spend with our families. At any point in life, we can decide to continue our growth and learning.

The only thing I feel is missing from the above list which I most definitely am a proponent of is, ‘cultivating curiosity’.

Stagnation is something many people struggle with later in their careers. I’ve heard from quite a few of my students who are in financial services that as some of their contemporaries begin to approach retirement age, they lose a certain passion, their hunger for achievement begins to wane. This, to me, is sad. I hope to continue to learn and deliver and focus and reinvent myself until way past “retirement age” and I think a big part of that is to cultivate curiosity.

As children, we’re innately curious. We want to know everything. Why? Why? Why? If you have kids, you remember the questioning stage — why is the sky blue? Why does it look like the moon is following us? Who invented candy? How do airplanes fly? After a while it seems like the curiosity wanes a little bit as school starts and tests and homework and responsibilities begin. Who has time to figure everything out?

Curiosity is a desire to know and understand other people and things outside of ourselves which happens to be the exact same path to gaining rapport with our clients and prospects. I’ve definitely had periods in my life when I had no interest in what was going on in the world around me so in no way am I suggestion that having periods of introspection is not valuable, but our culture seems to nurture navel gazing, that ‘me, me, me’ attitude, with a bent toward pathologizing and psychologizing ourselves to an extreme.

Turning our attentions outward and really soaking up what’s around us, however, has incredible value, especially where persuasion is concerned. Our goal as persuaders, especially as persuaders of an affluent clientele, is to learn, understand and know our clients in such a way that we can combine what we have to offer them with their view of the world, their criteria.

Pay attention to the details. When you’re curious, you can turn the mundane into an opportunity to learn something.