Are You Open Minded?
January 7, 2022
If someone were to ask you, “Are you an open-minded person or a closed-minded person?” what would your response be?
When I asked myself this question, the answer I gave myself was a resounding” obviously; I am an open-minded person.” I am sure the answer would be the same for most. No one would like to admit otherwise.
But wait, before we go further- What is the difference between an open mind and a closed- mind?
A person with an open mind is always eager to learn and is ok being wrong. On the other hand, a closed mind is someone who would dig their heels at the first sign of disagreement and never admit to being wrong.
As I write this blog, I am reconsidering my certainty about being open-minded. I am thinking that my conviction of being open-minded is a sign that perhaps I am not as open as I think I SHOULD be.
What are some of the tell-tale signals of someone likely to be a closed mind? Here are four ways to know if some one is showing up with a closed mind.
Feel Threatened When Ideas Are Challenged
I wrote about how it is ok to be wrong sometimes. When their ideas are challenged, Closed Minds are always more worried about proving themselves right than getting the best outcome. They don’t pause to validate or question their own beliefs. They think people who challenge them by asking questions have ulterior motives.
When you are open-minded, you see disagreement as a pathway to expand your understanding. Even though you may feel uncomfortable being challenged, you go beyond your discomfort and try to identify where the disagreement lies. You realize that being right means changing your mind when someone else knows something you don’t.
Focus More On Being Understood Than Understanding
You are in a meeting where you disagree or express some concerns about something a colleague says. What is your colleague’s reaction? Is he quick to rephrase what he just said or, even worse, repeat it? It means that he is assuming that you don’t understand what he is saying instead of acknowledging that you disagree with him. This is an example of a closed mind—focusing more on being understood than trying to understand.
In contrast, when someone disagrees with an open-minded person, he will take it on board and be willing to figure out what the other person is saying. He will try to understand the perspective of the other person.
Try To Show Off As Being Open-Minded
A tell-tale clue for someone closed is when the person prefaces an opinion with “I may be wrong….but here is my viewpoint,”
The “I may be wrong” is a perfunctory preamble that the Closed Minds use to hold their own opinions while portraying to others that they are open-minded. They masquerade false humility to try and show up as being open-minded.
An open-minded person is more likely to follow up “I may be wrong…” with a clarifying question and not an assertion.
Lack An Inner Humility
Many people suffer from the arrogance that all problems are at some other doorstep. When things go as planned, they justify to themselves that the issue is somewhere else and don’t look at what they can do to improve. They operate with a sense of entitlement.
Anyone Open-minded will always approach everything with an underlying fear that they may be wrong, and therefore they are always looking for ways to learn and not be wrong.
BEing Open Minded requires conscious effort. It doesn’t happen by accident.