“Imagine all the world’s knowledge – known and unknown – as a huge, colorful and beautiful sweater…This super sweater has thousands, no billions of threads that aren’t fully weaved in and stick out at odd angles. The ends of these little threads are answers to questions. When you get curious about something and go looking for answers, you start pulling the thread. The more you pull, the more answers you get.”

So began the keynote by GitHub co-founder Tom Preston-Werner at an address to the local school district foundation. He went on to describe the delight he had as a child in pulling these “threads”, feeding his curiosity and learning about how things worked. His desire eventually led him to take classes, tinker with building, fall in love with computer science and start a company that was recently sold to Microsoft for $7.5 billion.

“Young children with a desire to pull on the thread of knowledge is the most powerful force in the universe,” Preston-Werner said. I would take that further and expand the power to anyone who has the thirst for knowledge. If you have a curiosity about any topic, you have resources at your disposal to learn about it – through online tutorials, classes or connections, via books, or by experimentation and old-fashion trial and error. Think of the liberation that occurs when you realize that you literally can learn anything that interests you.

What threads are tempting you as they dangle before you? The next time one catches your fancy, do more than just Google the surface-level response. Really pull on the thread to see what other discoveries it unravels and where it leads you. Finding more questions is often more powerful than stopping at easy answers.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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