Brian Grazer – the producer with the funky hairstyle – who is he and what’s all this about being curious?
Since the late 1970’s he has produced some of the most respected Hollywood films including Splash, 8 Mile, Apollo 13, A beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code, Frost//Nixon and Rush to name but a few.
Throughout his career Brian has sought out interesting and accomplished strangers for what he calls ‘Curiosity conversations.’
These talks have actually inspired many of his films and tv shows which he has produced through his Imagine Entertainment banner.
When he started out working at Warner Bros studios, Brian decided to have as many meetings as possible with everyone he could come across. Firstly, he realised that famous and powerful people are happy to talk, especially about themselves and their work, and secondly it helped to have even a small pretext to talk to them.
It was kind of a win win solution for Brian to becoming a producer, on one hand he would make a good contact with the person he’d be interviewing on on the other hand Brian realised that curiosity was the way to uncover ideas, and these conversation were a way to spark them.
So, when he met up with various people for the interviews his goal was to learn something from them and not try to sell them on something.
Throughout the course of time Brian discovered that he’s curious in a particular sort of way in what’s called emotional curiosity. Wanting to understand what makes people tick; to see if he can connect to a person’s attitude and personality with their work, their challenges and accomplishments.
Along his career as a producer curiosity led to him building confidence, especially in his own ideas for developing stories for movies. It also helped him cut through the routine anxiety of work and life. Using curiosity as a management tool allowed Brian to be outgoing, to power his self confidence and to avoid getting into a rut.
He eventually turned curiosity into a routine and made it a habit of his.
When Bryan set himself up for interviewing and speaking with as many people as possible the conversations he had gave him a lot of firsthand experience in exposing his own lack of knowledge, his own naïveté. He actually practiced being a little ignorant. And was willing to admit what he didn’t know because he knew that’s how he’d get smarter.
He believes that asking questions may seem to expose our ignorance but what it really does is just the opposite. People who ask questions, in fact, are rarely thought of as stupid.
For him life isn’t about finding the answers, it’s about asking the questions.
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.
Curiosity is the ingredient for everyday interactions we have with other people. It is the key to unlocking the genetic mysteries of humanity.
But what we need to watch out for is the vast amount of knowledge that exists in the world today. The knowledge that is available in the palm of our hands, does it make us more or less curious?
We need to be careful that the internet doesn’t anaesthetise us instead of inspire us.
We can’t really Google a new idea. The internet can only tell us what we already know.
So, here’s a roundup of what curiosity can do for us if we’re willing to embrace it:
If we’re at a boring business meeting, curiosity can save us.
If we’re fed up with our current job, curiosity can rescue us.
If we’re feeling uncreative or unmotivated, curiosity can be the cure.
If our relationship is taking a dive, curiosity can fix it.
If we’re having a dull conversation with someone at a networking meeting, curiosity can stimulate it.
That is why embracing curiosity can allow us to become better leaders, better creators, better managers, better listeners and even better romantic partners.
Curiosity isn’t necessarily about achieving something – about driving toward some goal. Sometimes it’s just about connecting with people. About sustaining intimacy.
It’s not about a goal, it’s really about happiness.