The Mighty Skills and Unquenchable Curiosity

The Mighty Skills and Unquenchable Curiosity

John Eades 31/05/2024
The Mighty Skills and Unquenchable Curiosity

It's heartbreaking to see someone fail. It's painful to hear someone tell you they have been laid off.

It's disappointing when someone works hard only to get rejected.

Conversely, seeing a person, team, or company break through a barrier and accomplish something they didn't think possible lights you up. Not in a selfish way, but in a proud parent kind of way. Being in the leadership development and performance improvement business isn't the sexiest line of work. Still, it does provide a steady dose of dopamine and a rollercoaster of emotions living with and through someone else's actions.

Whether you're in a similar line of work, I know you can relate to seeking different ways to meet your potential. The desire to be more successful and be in a constant state of improving your performance is an intoxicating place to exist. It often reminds me of a great quote from David Goggins, "No matter how much you change and no matter how much you improve, it's not permanent."

"No matter how much you change and no matter how much you improve, it's not permanent." - David Goggins

I can't tell you how much I wish this quote weren't accurate. To see the hard work leaders undertake to make fundamental changes in themselves feels like permanence should be a part of the payoff. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

The Mighty Skills

The difference between professional golfers who make the PGA Tour and those who don't is a set of tiny differentiators. The slimmest of margins separates Podium Winner Olympic athletes from those who don't qualify for the Olympics at all. The same is true in the workforce. Everyone starts with different God-given talents, but that doesn't matter because you can't control that anyway. It's what you make of the talents you have been given. It's finding the tiny differentiators and closing the margin on your skill and performance gaps that make the difference.

What matters is what you make of the talents you have been given.

Lately, I have been thinking about some of these tiny differentiators that separate high performers from those who wish they were high performers. While the hard or technical skills will always matter, the soft or leadership skills often matter most. These are what I like to call the "Mighty Skills." Our preliminary research at LearnLoft across industries has found six key "Mighty Skills."


  1. Drive / Initiative

  2. Communication

  3. Embrace Change / Adaptable

  4. Growth Mindset / Coachable

  5. Problem-Solving

  6. Emotional Intelligence

The hard truth is that these "Mighty Skills" can be developed, molded, and mastered, but few put in the effort to make them a tiny differentiator over the competition (although I admit Initiative/Drive is more challenging.)

In some ways, I don't blame people for stopping short of developing these skills because they are intangible and difficult to measure. It's much easier to recognize a glaring gap in these skills versus someone who has mastered them.

For example, all stand-up comedians communicate, but not all are world-class communicators. All leaders communicate with their team members, but not all are effective communicators.

So, by process of prioritization, once it's not a glaring issue that holds you back, you move on to skills that are more easily measured or technical.

Unquenchable Curiosity

C.S. Lewis, a famous writer and literary scholar, has many critical insights from his work. However, his most important was around the virtue of courage. He wrote, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality." Lewis's point was that instead of listing all of the virtues, one must start the list with the virtue of courage because all other virtues require it.

When looking at the list of "Mighty Skills," the same could be said for Growth Mindset / Coachable skills. A compelling argument could be made that the rest of these skills don't matter without those skills because all others require them.

Let's break it down. Made famous by Author Carol Dweck, a growth mindset is a way of thinking about challenges and setbacks. It's the belief that a person's abilities can improve through effort, learning, and persistence. Being coachable is how a person shows the world that they have a hunger to get better and are willing to put in the work and effort to do it.

It is attractive when someone has adopted a growth mindset and is coachable. A magnetism exists that draws others in and has them seeking ways to help them improve. However, instead of taking anyone's word that these skills exist, look for something different. It's what I refer to as having "Unquenchable Curiosity."

Unquenchable curiosity shows in people's actions. Here is a short list of things to look for:

  • Quality of questions

  • Quantity of questions

  • Questions seeking comprehension

  • Amount of time talking about themselves versus others

  • Amount of notes taken

  • Mental presence in meetings

  • Ability to share wisdom and insight, not unfounded opinions

  • Number of books read

  • Number of books on the to read list

Many Get It. Many Do Not

In interacting with thousands of leaders every week online and in person, it is evident that many people really get it. They grasp the importance of leadership, learning, development, and growth. They work hard to develop their "Mighty Skills" and are living proof that being unquenchably curious is an exciting way to go through life. They are my people. Their comments on articles and likes on posts mean so much.

Then, at the same time, in similar companies and even roles, many professionals don't get it. They seemingly only care about their development or personal growth if it has something immediately tied to their paycheck or job status. They avoid books like the plaque and think learning ended their last school day. It drives me crazy because that's precisely who needs to pay attention. It's who I want to reach; it's who I want to help. It's who you want to reach and who you want to help as well.

Just remember, when the light switch gets turned on, getting it off is challenging.

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on, LinkedIn Pulse,,, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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