People say you should be open-minded — accepting of people from diverse backgrounds, listening without judging, and considering all sides of an issue. Even though that’s sensible in theory, some folks find it difficult in practice. That’s troubling because having an open mind is not only the right thing to do, it’s beneficial in ways you’ve never imagined.
If being open-minded is so advantageous, why doesn’t everyone subscribe to it? Being closed-minded may be a habit in which people are uninterested, misinformed, and dismissive of fresh viewpoints; other times, being closed-minded may be the result of an entrenched mindset of intolerance or prejudice. Are you closed-minded or open-minded?
You May Not Be As Open-Minded As You Think
Some people are so closed-minded that they can’t see the forest OR the trees. Keep an open mind as you review this list.
• Make up your mind before you start?
• Surround yourself with like-minded people?
• Discount or ignore opposing viewpoints?
• Feel you’re too old to learn anything new?
• Make decisions without input?
• Subscribe to a “we’ve always done it this way” mentality?
• Spend more time talking than listening?
• Use language or jargon that isolates you from others?
• Request feedback from only a chosen few?
• View the world as black or white?
• Judge a person’s ideas based on position, age, gender, or race?
• Create red tape or a bureaucratic jungle that limits feedback?
• Feel threatened by smart or successful people?
• Bully people to sway them to your opinion?
• Subscribe primarily to information that confirms your existing beliefs?
• Feel that your position entitles you to be right all the time?
• Separate yourself from others by belonging to cliques?
• Think this list doesn’t apply to you?
If you cringed as you read these points, it’s time to open your mind to the world around you. If you still remain doubtful, consider the benefits that being open-minded affords.
Being Open-Minded Is a No-Brainer
Open your eyes. There are many shades of color other than black and white. Being open-minded inspires you to:
Expand your horizons. Challenge your thinking by embracing differing viewpoints rather than limiting debate to like-minded people.
Enhance your decision making. Evaluate your options from every angle rather than being predisposed to one way of looking at things.
Expand your relationships. Promote teamwork by being respectful of others’ differences rather than being judgmental and intolerant.
Challenge the status quo. Advance positive change by encouraging debate and buy-in rather than leading by command and control.
Build trust. Encourage fair and objective decisions rather than subjecting the process to your personal bias.
Enrich your personal growth. Remain open-minded to personal feedback rather than repeating mistakes because you failed to learn from them.
Find the optimum solution. Generate several good possibilities to choose from rather than settling for the first right answer.
Obtain the truth. Search for the truth by listening to opposing arguments and letting others challenge your views and opinions.
Keep an Open Mind
Some people are so closed-minded that their behavior is not only ugly, it’s destructive. They bully and ridicule others, hoping to convert them to their way of thinking. The truth is, everyone is entitled to an opinion. No one, however, is entitled to force their opinion on others. Doing so is the surest way to end not only a conversation but a relationship as well. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your principles, but it’s important to respect the right of others to believe as they see fit.
Open your eyes to the world around you. You just may learn something. This will make your decisions better and your relationships stronger, and will make you a more enlightened person. Being open-minded doesn’t demand a major investment of your time but rather, a fresh new way of thinking. It requires you to be a sponge — obtaining information from various sources, seeking input from people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, and evaluating that input based on its merits rather than on whether it conforms to your way of thinking. Are you open-minded? If not, leave the door open to it.
Are You Open-Minded?
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