Are You Open Minded?
November 13, 2020
Having an open mind towards everything that happens in our life can be very tough. Every one of us has some core beliefs and values, and we reinforce those throughout our lives by exposing ourselves to situations and people that represent similar values and beliefs.
Therefore, when we encounter ideas and situations that challenge our values and beliefs, we feel threatened and struggle despite our best intentions.
- All your life, you have shunned any situation that puts you in the spotlight. You are comfortable being in the shadows. And, you reinforce this value or belief by befriending people who share similar thoughts and ideas. If one day, You get an opportunity to do something that exposes you to the spotlight, you will feel uncomfortable.
- You are soft-spoken and you have to work alongside someone, direct and pushy. You will feel threatened working with such a person.
- Growing up, your parents instilled in you the virtue of prudence and thrift. You are asked to work with someone who is a risk-taker. You feel stressed being with such a person.
- When you were young, your parents always told you to be careful and not make mistakes. You grow up with the belief that making a mistake is terrible and makes you look weak.
When you are open-minded, you will put the benefit of doing something above your personal discomfort and do what needs to be done. You will respect the diversity of views and thoughts. Opening the door to your mind, you will be comfortable letting in new ideas, and upgrading your beliefs. You will embrace being vulnerable. You are ok with the possibility of making mistakes.
On the other hand, close-minded people are afraid of making mistakes and don’t want to take chances, worrying about the consequences. They don’t like associating deeply with anyone who is unlike them. They always want to be in control, and they are more interested in being right all the time. Also, they put a lot of focus on maintaining appearances.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have operated with a closed mindset for a big part of my adult life. Situations and people not in alignment with my beliefs and way of thinking bothered me and I would avoid them. I was also very good at rationalizing that it was a sign of strength to stick to my beliefs. The truth of the matter was that I was running away from being uncomfortable.
It is only in the last few years that I have isolated my blind spots and faulty beliefs with diligent effort and awareness. I am still a work in progress in this area.
Being open-minded is not a default genetic disposition. Nor does it happen by accident. It requires an active effort to continually challenge and question our own beliefs and assumptions to be open-minded.