To be open-minded requires us to listen to others from a place of love and acceptance. It’s the ability to contemplate differing views and opinions of others that challenge our own understandings without getting drawn into an emotionally charged argument. Being receptive to new ideas, fresh perspectives, changing information shows our wiliness to challenge and adjust our beliefs. Some we need to unlearn, relearn, or adjust.
Being challenged doesn’t mean we change our opinion. It means we will alter based on new understanding and alternative possibilities created in different situations. Open-mindedness also means we can admit when we make a misstep and course-correct to recover from a negative situation.
Close-minded people are emotionally attached to their opinions and beliefs. They will argue their point and reject anything that challenges their view. They are unwilling to learn any extra information that may show their understanding is outdated.
Visionaries like Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, and Deepak Chopra exhibit open-minds as they appreciate hearing about new and innovative ways that challenge their own thinking. This open-mindedness is why they are always moving forward in their personal lives and careers. They admit when they are wrong and will course-correct as needed.
And yet, many of us keep making the same missteps again and again. Many of us think we are open-minded, but in truth, we are more tied to our beliefs than our desire to learn.
The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
How Do We Approach Being Challenged?
A closed-minded person isn’t aware that they are not open-minded. In fact, they think they are. The ability to change our perspective is vital to our growth and our dreams. Why? Because our growth depends on new ideas, innovative approaches, and our willingness to evaluate them despite how we initially feel.
How do we feel when our ideas are confronted? Are we frustrated or curious as to why another is challenging us? Are we more interested in proving our point or overcoming the current circumstances? Are we asking questions to show the other option is wrong without fully understanding what is being offered? Are we interrupting others, or are we authentically listening to them?
Are we getting angry when asked clarifying questions on our viewpoint? Are we seeing the interaction as a waste of time or as a way to increase our understanding? Are we trying to understand or searching for ways to counter the other’s thoughts? Are we so attached to our opinion that we attack the other personally? Are we reacting from an emotional place, or are we responding thoughtfully by looking for the best solution?
Which way are you handling differences of opinion? Maybe we are not as open-minded as we thought. Maybe we should look for better ways to understand another’s viewpoint without allowing the ego to think we are being attacked because we aren’t. Ideas, even our unique ones, are just that, thoughts. They aren’t us.
It is a narrow mind that cannot look at a subject from various points of view. ~ George Eliot
Our Brains And Our Bias
Did you know our brains are naturally biased based on our experiences? It reacts based on our memories of similar situations so it can respond. However, like a computer, the first memory in the cache is how we react or jump to conclusions. Our brains get fixated on one remedy, thought, or belief, and cannot look for alternatives. This automatic reaction from our brain is called cognitive bias.
When we only evaluate recent information that proves our viewpoint and neglect to recognize new data which disproves our belief is called confirmation bias. Assuming that those we speak with have the same education or access to information as we do is knowledge bias. Supposing that those we know hold the same viewpoints as we do is called false consensus bias.
These are common biases each of us has. Still, we need to know that they hinder our interactions with others and cause us to make decisions based on false information. But we can overcome these natural biases and be more open-minded.
Like our beliefs, biases are shaped by our domestication and social conformity. Some come from family, religion, or peer-pressure. The more diversity in relationships we have and the more we are inspired to grow our knowledge base, the more variety we will have in our points of view.
Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief. ~ Napoleon Hill
Duality and Our Lack of Open-Mindedness
Our egos live in a world of duality. It sees everything in black and white but won’t recognize the gray areas. The circumstances are good for us, or they are wrong and need to be avoided. There is no room for exploration of a middle ground. The egoic mind lives in the extremes because it loves the dogma of its lookout.
But for us to be open-minded, we need to see the dichotomies continuously, from one end to the other. By seeking the middle ground, we allow for the gray areas of life and alternatives to putting everything in extreme states. Also, when we only see the polarities, we are failing to consider all the information.
For critical thinking to occur, we need to have an open mind. We have to consider the entire spectrum of possibilities and outcomes to potential actions. When we are closed to other ideas and perspectives, we cannot see the factors that caused the issue, nor can we find suitable solutions.
In the polarized world, we live in, being able to consider another viewpoint is vital. Being open to change and amend outdated assessments is crucial for our personal growth, authenticity, and ability to make genuine connections with others.
In order to achieve great things, you must stretch your beliefs, your efforts, and your tolerance. You will have to face new situations with an open mind, eager to reach your destiny. ~ Brian Carney
Awareness Of Our Mindset
Which camp did we see ourselves in? Maybe a little of both, depending on the issue. It takes awareness as we encounter new challenges to see how we behave. Are we thoughtfully responding and trying to understand, or are we reactionary and trying to prove we are right?
In some areas, we may have blind spots, and in other areas, we are more willing to look for options. We usually base these on our self-confidence or self-worth in different areas of our lives. Be mindful of those areas and explore them.
An open mind doesn’t mean we put aside our values or that we give consideration to those things we know are immoral, a bad idea, or unlawful. Being open-minded doesn’t mean we are entirely accepting or that we aren’t skeptical. It means that we are open to creative ideas and are flexible in how we approach our circumstances.
Although we think changing our habitual behaviors can be challenging and takes willpower. Still, only the egoic mind stands in our way. Having respect for another’s viewpoint doesn’t mean we agree. It means we understand where they are coming from and acknowledge their right to believe as they wish.
We show our confidence in our opinions but will consider other viable options. We are asking to be convinced. We can separate our egoic minds from the conversation and know the other is not challenging us personally. And we will adjust our viewpoint based on recent information.
When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. ~ John Maynard Keynes
Advantages Of Being Open-Minded
When we are open-minded, we can be more free-flowing with our thoughts. We allow ourselves to experience challenging views and will let go of old ideas. This openness enables us to open our minds to fresh perspectives and alternative views. We may not change our beliefs, but we are willing to consider another possibility.
We become more vulnerable when we consider other options. This vulnerability ties us to our authenticity and our commitment to being who we are with others. It also means we admit we don’t know everything and may not have pondered all the possibilities, which is true of every one of us. Furthermore, it shows our ability to admit our missteps and make the necessary course corrections to get back on track.
An open-mindset means we want to grow and expand our souls. It provides a platform for building a successful life. As we learn new things, we can use the new data to build upon older ideas. All that we’ve experienced can be applied and strengthen our resolve to move towards our dreams.
We gain self-confidence as we live from a place of openness. We build up our authentic selves as we confirm our opinions, unlearn outdated beliefs, and alter misconceptions. This newfound honesty shows our willingness to change when we have a different understanding or conditions change.
Opportunities are presented to us each and every day, but do we see them? To see an opportunity, we must be open to all thoughts. ~ Catherine Pulsifer
How To Be More Open-Minded
When we are challenged, learn to pause, take a deep breath before we thoughtfully respond. Not everyone has the same opinions as we do. By approaching a differing viewpoint this way, we override the egoic mind’s anger or defensive posturing as its reaction. Let’s be respectful of them and their ideas by listening to them and ask clarifying questions with understanding as our goal. This way, we are learning, not arguing.
Seek opportunities to meet others. As we expand our tribe and social circle, we will discover new things and areas we may not have explored. Ask questions so we can gain a clearer understanding. This way, we aren’t wondering but seeking clarification. By discovering new opportunities for trying new things, we enlarge our perspectives.
Move out of your comfort zone. Go to new places and be adventurous with your activities. We can start by listening to a genre of music we wouldn’t usually choose. I joined a book club, so I would read different books and discovered I love historical fiction. Have others join in the fun by trying an ethnic restaurant together. Thinking outside the box helps us see different outlooks and allows for openness.
Learn to reframe the negative self-talk we allow the egoic mind to engage. The negative inner chatter prevents us from taking proactive and positive actions. In its place, reframe the situation, so it empowers us instead of hindering. Look for balance in the situation and its resolution.
I have found we can all learn something from just about anyone if we approach others with an open mind, take the time to get to know them, seek out and listen for what they can teach us. ~ Ken Poirot
Moving Forward With Open-Mindedness
When we receive additional information, our brains sort it to assimilate the data into the appropriate file. When we already have a file about a subject, we now need to accommodate the information. This thinking takes energy the ego doesn’t want to use, so it’s dogmatic.
When we know a subject, we need to be conscious of entertaining new ideas. With an open mind, we allow for possibilities and opportunities for fresh ideas, other perspectives, and alternative experiences.
By being open-minded, we allow ourselves to be alert, awake, and sensitive to the circumstances and our surroundings. This awareness enables us to respond instead of reacting to the situation for better long-term outcomes.
Our openness allows us to live life from a place of ease and flow. In doing so, we can be compassionate towards others and keep peace with those around us.
Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in. ~ Alan Alda
Do you need support to help you be open-mind? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.
Don’t forget to check out my book, Raven Transcending Fear, which is now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle! The link is in the show notes, or you can go to www.RavenTranscendingFear.com!