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Curiosity is a mindset.

It is the hunger for knowledge. The willingness to see beyond the surface of things.

It’s the key to a trackers mindset.

Curiosity propels the tracker to explore and follow the track. To solve the complex puzzle of signs and evidence left by the animal.

This intense desire to know more is the key to their persistence – it’s what keeps them going when the signs are feint and obscure.

Is curiosity only helpful to trackers?

Most certainly not.

Dr Diane Hamilton, is a leading expert in curiosity, perception, emotional intelligence, and behavioral science.

She tells us that curiosity is a crucial indicator of performance in the workplace. For leaders it’s also the #1 trait that will have a positive impact on employees.

She also points out that while it’s important to instil curiosity, it’s equally important to be aware of the traps that inhibit it.

These are the four common traps that in her view inhibit curiosity. These are:

  1. Fear: Fear of failure, embarrassment, or lack of control inhibits curiosity.
  2. Assumptions: Often, we assume that others will not accept our ideas, which can lead to the voice in our heads talking us out of an idea.
  3. Technology: Technology can be overused or underused, resulting in an unstable foundation for discovery and learning.
  4. Environment: Your environment can encourage or inhibit your desire to explore. Friends, family, peers, and social media contacts all have an effect on your environment.

Innocent Ngwenya, the Head Trainer at Tracker Academy, is a wonderful example of the virtues of curiosity.

Innocent Ngwenya

One morning he set out on the daunting task of tracking a leopard for his students.

The leopard is without doubt the most challenging of all animals to track. It’s elusive, solitary nature and subtle paw imprints makes the task complex and difficult.

Many trackers would have been deterred.

Not Innocent.

He committed himself fully, his senses finely tuned to the wilderness around him. Every print, every disturbed blade of grass, was a breadcrumb leading him closer.

Despite the diffculty he remained open-minded, constantly questioning his assumptions, and adjusting his strategy as needed.

This was true curiosity in action.

Innocent put himself in the skin of the animal. His intense desire to work out the direction and location of this leopard kept driving him forward.

This wasn’t just about finding tracks in the dirt. It was more complex than that. The leopard’s tracks twisted and turned unpredictably, mirroring the elusive nature of the creature.

The evidence it left to follow was feint and obscure. Smudged dew droplets, track marks of fleeing impala, monkey alarms and irritated bird chatter. All signs of the leopard passing -but which had to be connected and joined togeher.

After nearly 3 hours of persistent effort, Innocent encountered the leopard on top of a termite mound!.

Leopard on a termite mound

His intense curiosity drove him to interpret the leopard’s behavior, recognise patterns, and to adapt to ever-changing conditions.

It was a true tracking master class. An experience that filled his students with admiration and awe.

So, how curious are you?

In what areas of your life (business or personal) could you benefit from being more curious?

Are you actively creating an environment where others can be curious too?


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