Being Open Minded: What does it mean?

People are very open-minded about new things…as long as they’re exactly like the old ones! – Charles Kettering Being open-minded can be quite hard. It doesn’t help that our minds are often geared toward conserving cognitive energy by relying on shortcuts and simplification. Even if being open-minded does not come naturally to you, there are many […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

People are very open-minded about new things…as long as they’re exactly like the old ones! – Charles Kettering

Being open-minded can be quite hard. It doesn’t help that our minds are often geared toward conserving cognitive energy by relying on shortcuts and simplification. Even if being open-minded does not come naturally to you, there are many things that you can do to cultivate a receptive attitude that leaves you open to new perspectives, knowledge, people, and experiences.

Common traits of an Open-Minded Person:

1. They’re Good Conversationalists

They’re great to talk to. You’re not going to get never going to be catfished, gaslit, or unfairly berated. You’ll actually be listened to, something that’s becoming a very novel concept these days.

2. They’re Not Quick to Judge

Your open-minded friends are able to hear one side of a story and then wait for the other, which is nothing short of amazing and more so refreshing.

3. They’re Inquisitive about Life

Having friends who not only have varied interests but actively seek out new interests is an absolute Saturday night’s dream. Consider this perhaps there’s a unique play that absolutely no one but your open-minded buds would possibly suggest seeing, one you’d never have considered, but having seen it changed your life in ways you wouldn’t have dreamed!

They’re even likely to open you to innovations in science and technology seeing as they don’t mind being the guinea pig if it means say satisfying a bit of curiosity about a new product or service.

4. They’re not Harbingers of Doom

We all know people who are able to equate whatever’s happening in the world with the end times. Political unrest equals doom. Hurricanes, tornados, and floods equal doom. Social change equals doom.

Conversely, the open-minded person sees political unrest as evidence of policies failing to serve equitably; hurricanes, tornados and floods are seen as the powerful forces of nature they are, not judgments upon humanity; social change means that perhaps injustices are finally being addressed. Open-minded people tend to be quite level-headed and measured in their assessments of the tribulations and nuances of life.

5. They’re very Honest

Most of the time, dishonesty comes from thinking one has to protect a particular mindset or singular worldview. The politician lies because he thinks Party first, truth second. The child lies to avoid the punishment of not continuing to get the things it likes.

An open-minded person is an absolute bastion of truth, they are simply less likely to see any value in trying to cover for a rigid viewpoint foisted on them by outside influences, rather than telling it like it is in the first place.

6. They’re very Observant

It’s hard being open-minded with closed eyes, metaphorically and literally. The curiosity of open-minded people keeps them open to noticing the changes in their environments. This can be as simple as noticing how well a certain shade plays off your eyes or as crucial as recalling the license plate may turn out to be.

7. They do like Jokes

Your open-minded friends often see humour where it might otherwise be missed, and deep down they know that the ultimate joke in life is that there is nothing so serious it can’t be made fun of. This isn’t the same as someone making a tasteless joke. This is knowledge, perhaps consciously, perhaps unconsciously, of the innate ridiculousness of most human affairs. This makes them affable with humour!

8. They’re not Easily Offended

Open-minded people don’t immediately assume every interaction is a game of outrage-tag, but they’re savvy enough to see when offense is someone’s goal. They know that their senses and sensibilities are not default settings for everyone else, but won’t shy away from letting someone know when they’ve crossed a line.

9. They’re Sympathetic

They haven’t walled themselves off from having contradictory feelings, they can be quite sympathetic towards other people, perhaps even attaining possible levels of that separate, mysterious quality we call empathy. They don’t necessarily need direct experience to feel connections of pain or joy. Please note that the best hugs come from open-minded people.

10. They’re very Comfortable being Mavericks

Real mavericks aren’t just people who go against the grain, they’re people who do reshape the direction so that life flows a bit more smoothly for all than it did before. The open-minded people aren’t generally interested in following the crowds or even accepting pat answers, they will question the status quo more often than not. If this means they do things that won’t gain them favour, they’ll always live with that.

11. They do possess a Youthful Exuberance

There’s a playful quality to these open-minded friends. They can be a bit naive, and might be prone to daydreams. They might even strike you as foolish more than someone their age ought to be. They light fires under your own exuberance and invite all kinds of play and mischief, which, admittedly, you love more than you likely let on.

12. They’re Amazing at Problem Solving

We all have “go-to” people. There’s a problem keeping you up at night, you reach out to the go-to, that open-minded person who’ll listen, weigh, consider, alchemize, and point the way toward solutions. Open-minded people get nauseous when they get to wrap their minds around life’s puzzles and mental quandaries. They also make great mediators leading towards effective problem solving!

13. They’re Not Stingy with their Time

They don’t think they’re the focus of the universe, open-minded folks don’t mind taking time out of their busy lives to assist others. They’re the ones who’ll help you move into your new apartment on relatively short notice. They will always do so without complaining.

They won’t mind sitting quietly with you. They’re experts at walking beside you in museums and parks, or sharing popcorn with you at the movies. Generally-speaking, open-minded people are who you want on any of your sporting team.

14. They’re musically Adventurous

Avail yourself of their music collection. Open-minded friends of yours are music mavens. They listen to everything: you name it, they either have it or have something like it. This means road trips with them are epic karaoke fests and outings with them are a slice of life!

15. They’re patrons of The Arts

In the artist scene advancing in all directions, fuelled in large part by open-minded people hungry for more than the latest book to self-purchase its way to best-seller lists, the hottest of the haute galleries to highlight the latest rage, or as mentioned above a need for more from their musicians than the number of YouTube hits it took to get them a record deal.

Please make a note: your open-minded friends support the indie authors who take literary risks. They buy the CDs on sale at the micro concerts. Not only do they stop to admire the work of festival artists, they are inclined to take a piece of their art home with them.

Open-minded People: Effortless Dealing and how does one attain it?

For some, being open-minded is easy; it comes as effortlessly as breathing. For others, having an open mind can be more of a challenge, something that they have to work on and make an effort to obtain. Whether or not you consider yourself to be open-minded, you can certainly see from the list above that there are great benefits to viewing life with an open mind. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but the effort to think openly and embrace new ideas will be worth it when you’re able to take part in the benefits that come from opening your mind. 

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Or perhaps you’ve heard people described as “set in their ways.” Those sayings aren’t typically issued as compliments, but it’s safe to say that many of us may fall into those descriptions. Consider this from your morning coffee to the type of people you’re around, is your life similar from one day to the next?

There’s no real problem with that, except that you may end up hanging out in your comfortable silo or even be in an echo chamber. This is a place that feeds your own belief system and ideas and doesn’t offer up any room for personal growth. It’s not easy to move outside of your comfort zone to try something new or to hear things from a different viewpoint, but it’s a worthy endeavour to pursue.

If you can learn how to be open minded, you’ll be able to move out of that very chamber. It can start with changing up your morning routine and can go as far as engaging in friendly and curiosity-fuelled conversations with people whose political views don’t align with that of yours. Life becomes a smorgasbord, with variety at every taken turn. Your creativity will most likely be turned up a notch.

So, do learn to live a fulling life by embarking on the soulful journey of being an open-minded person!

To be an open-minded person is to accept that close-minded people exist.

    You might also like...


    The Difference Between Open-Minded and Close-Minded People

    by Shane Parrish

    Cathy Rucci On How To Leave a Lasting Legacy With a Successful & Effective Nonprofit Organization

    by Karen Mangia

    It’s Time to Reassess Your Career Goals: Here’s How to Find Your Next Opportunity

    by William Arruda
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.