Have you ever had a conversation - and by conversation I mean talking to a wall - with someone who just wasn’t receptive to a single thing you said? What about when people ask you your opinion on something, argue with you about it, and then go ahead and make the decision they originally presented to you? Trust me, no one likes dealing with people who don’t listen, and most of the time, the people who aren’t listening aren’t doing it because they can’t hear you, but simply because their mind isn’t open to new ideas and concepts. People who find success, excel in life, and create new inventions and ideas are the people willing to open their hearts and minds to new worlds of opportunity; and the people who often end up living the kind of life everyone has always dreamed are the people with the biggest imaginations, the most reflective introspection, and the most open minds.
Let us start with a list of 8 things that people with an open mind don’t do, because if you are doing any of the things on this list, there is a good chance you’ll need a crowbar to get your mind open.
1. They Don’t Judge
A person with an open mind doesn’t jump to conclusions and judge people like most of us do. It is easy to see someone’s actions and quickly condemn them, but open minded people are open to multiple views and interpretations. When someone with an open mind sees someone doing something they disagree with, it challenges them to reexamine their own views rather than just judge the other person negatively.
2. They Don’t Avoid New Opportunities
Open minded people love new opportunities and experiences because they provide new information and further expand their horizons. Traveling to foreign countries, trying new things, meeting new people: all of these experiences provide an excellent chance to learn new things and about places, cultures, and people. Every opportunity to learn something new or try something you have never done before is a great opportunity to expand your mind.
3. They Don’t Refuse Advice
Remember the person from earlier in our article- you know the person who asks for advice and then ignores what you offer? - Well, people with an open mind always listen to and internalize the advice and suggestions of others. Sure, an open minded person can still disagree with the opinions of others- and it often takes an open mind to do so- but someone with an open mind is always willing to examine the views of others and attempt to learn what they can from other’s input.
4. They Don’t Always Go With Their Gut
Having an open mind means sometimes having your mind open to knowledge that exists outside of your own mind. If we assume that everyone in the world has a collective idea bank, it is pretty easy to assume that somewhere out there in the world, there is someone with a better idea than you; that doesn’t mean your idea is bad, but there might be a few tweaks you can make to make an even better decision. People with an open mind realize that they often need to examine all of the possible scenarios before they make a choice, so they often deliberate heavily, while a person with a closed mind just jumps right in.
5. They Don’t Assume Their Way Is the Best Way
As we said above, having an open mind means you don’t always go with your gut because there might be other, better, ways of doing something, but what about the people who just assume they always know best about everything - they are often stuck in the same closed minded thinking. Open minded people tend to steer clear of believing that they are superior to others or that they have all the answers, they are flexible and open to change rather than rigid and stuck in their ways.
6. Things Are Not Black and White
Open minded people tend to not think of things in simple terms, and they don’t see many examples of right and wrong, for example: one person may think that gay marriage is awful and sinful, while another believes it is a fundamental right. I am not here to debate ethics with you, but I will tell you that a person with an open mind would tend to see shades of grey rather than black and white. A person with an open mind must be willing to see both sides of the story and find the middle ground between two polarized sides of an argument. Few things are either right or wrong, and only someone with a closed mind will fight so hard to prove why someone else is wrong.
7. They Don’t Hold Grudges
People with an open mind are usually a lot more open to the apologies and feelings of other people. For example: imagine a close friend just lied to you and betrayed your trust. A person with a closed mind might say “I will never forgive you for this” and end the friendship forever, but a person with an open mind might ask questions and try to understand why a person did what they did. A person with an open mind might be able to see that there was some special circumstance that caused what happened to happen and so they can understand and learn to forgive people for things over time, they don’t hold grudges because they are open to the other people’s points of view.
8. They Don’t Follow the Crowd Blindly
We live in a world where mass media often dictates trends, opinions, and even social ethics. Most people tend to believe that if everyone around them is doing something that that makes it ok and socially acceptable, however, people with an open mind are willing to see things from the viewpoint of the minority. Since people with an open mind are always examining their views and considering their beliefs, they are able to base their decisions off of research and careful consideration, rather than just jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else.
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The main thing to consider if you want to keep an open mind is how set you are in your own decision or your own ways. If you are positive that you are right, that your opinion is right, or that what you believe in is better or somehow superior to the beliefs of others, then it is fair to say that your mind is closed. The term open mind even makes this very obvious if you look closely at it, “open” mind- as in open to the opinions and views of others.
The next time you find yourself judging, ignoring the advice of others, following along with the crowd, or if you just happen to find yourself standing firm with a belief just ask yourself this simple question “Why do I believe what I believe, and why do I believe that this belief is the right belief to have at this moment?”, most of the time you will realize that the things that you believe are based on nothing but the opinions or facts that someone else has passed onto you, and you have likely never even considered an opposing viewpoint at all.
Next time you are faced with a decision, take a look at not just both sides, but every side, and try to find the decision that works best for you. That is what having an open mind is all about.
What do you think? Know any close minded people that drive you crazy, and how open do you think your mind is? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, maybe you can even open my mind a little bit!