In this article, you’ll discover how to be open minded and improve the quality of your life and your relationships.
Do you consider yourself an open-minded person?
Most of us want to be open-minded because the benefits of being willing to consider new ideas, accept people as they are, and be tolerant bring us:
- Freedom of choice,
- Broadened horizons,
- Learning from other people’s experiences,
- Multiple options for moving forward and overcome stressful situations,
- Fun and increased creativity,
- More confidence and self-esteem,
- Embracing change.
However, most things we do are not random; they are very carefully calculated and analyzed, filtered through our comprehension and knowledge biases. Thus, check out the following nine questions to find out if you are an open minded person.
How to Be Open Minded:
1. Do you listen without interrupting or getting absorbed in your thoughts?
If we love something in life, we love to talk.
Did you notice that most people jump to give an answer or a reply as soon as you’ve finished speaking? That happens because, listening, doesn’t come naturally to us. We get distracted and pulled into our thoughts and search for a reference point to share.
For example, when someone says “I have a stomach pain”, in your mind might be followed by a “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” if you allow (your mind) to drift away in search of the reference point. That can make you insensitive to what you just heard, thinking of your leg pain.
Stay focused on the conversation and enrich your knowledge with others experiences and expertise. Listen, make people feel important and bust your power to influence others.
2. Are you ready to offer your compassion?
We judge others for many different reasons, and most of them have roots in our sincere desire to make things better. Nevertheless, the result of judgment is rarely a positive one. Therefore, instead of judging (or even looking for a solution that you’re not asked to give), what if you offer your compassion?
How to be open minded? Offering compassion (to yourself and others) because that’s improving your life in so many different ways.
You see? People (including you) are always doing what they think/know is best at that moment and the reality is that, after the fact, we are all a bit wiser. Is it not?
3. Are you asking for permission to give feedback?
How you believe to be the right way to do things is not a universal truth.
It’s true, criticism and feedback are two different things. However, people rarely make a distinction between the two and tend to take things personally.
Plus, because each of us has a different definition of things, unsolicited feedback goes on deaf ears and can result in resentment. Not to mention that people have the habit of lying which makes you put your energy into solving something that, perhaps doesn’t even exists.
Take into account that people around you might not be as open minded as you are and take your (unsolicited) feedback the wrong way.
4. Do you acknowledge when you need a change?
How to be open minded? Embrace change!
Change is hard for the human mind. That’s because change implies to accept the fact that you might not be the great person you want to be, or that your greatness is not yet complete.
If you struggled in the past with changing, don’t beat yourself about it. View change as a step forward, a positive addition to who you already are.
Listen, striving to improve yourself is not a confirmation that you’re not good enough, but a declaration of confidence. “Because I can, I’m changing; I’m doing more and more.”
5. How emotional are you about your achievements/ skills?
Life goes on even if you stay still. Therefore, don’t get too attached to your accomplishments and expertise because the success of each stage in your life comes with different requirements; it needs a renewed mindset and possibly learning new skills.
Being too emotionally attached to your achievements and skills can make you define yourself ONLY from their perspective. You are never just one thing, but a collection of things. You can do much more than you think; so, why should you limit yourself?
How to be open minded when you define your personal image? Remind yourself that your achievements and skills are only things that you do, not who you are.
6. Are you using your curiosity rather than jumping to conclusions?
Curiosity is often seen as a bad thing.
Starting from the industrialization period, schools have been molded into teaching children (only) what adults think is useful and killed curiosity.
Take your curiosity back. Be curious like a child because that’s how you find simple solutions to complex problems; that’s how you discover new things and learn the easiest.
7. Do you ask for confirmation rather than mind read?
We are a social creature. We what people to like us, value us, need us, love us. Out of these desires, we tend to try to predict what others think, want and need to be at the right time in the right place. Yes, you might have the best intentions, but the results are many misunderstandings and miscommunications.
You don’t know what you don’t know and what you know is limited to your perceptions and experiences.
We find, most often, this sin (mind-read) between spouses. She thinks she knows it all; he thinks he knows nothing(and doesn’t even bother to know). Yet, one of the secrets of happily married couples is that, even if they assume something to be true, they ask for confirmation. Are you?
8. Do you value learning rather than confirming what you already know?
Don’t you love to be right? Most of us do; sometimes with the sole purpose of entertaining our vanity; other times just to keep the status quo. However, what you already know is valuable and can be even more valuable when you keep on adding to it. Right?
Being disciplined is not limited to doing the same thing over and over, in the same way, but keep on learning something new.
9. Are you welcoming the unexpected?
Whatever happens is your life can teach you something, can enrich your life when you focus on the positive side.
Most people say that the unexpected happens when you least expect; but isn’t it harder to deal with the unexpected that you predicted and prepared for?
If a balloon explodes near you with no warning, you jump for a second and then get back to your things; but how does it feel if you stay with your eyes glued on the balloon, knowing that it can explode at any moment? The tension is more prolonged and more painful. Is it not?
Even though it is a good thing to be prepared for all sort of situations, the best thing is to trust yourself, believe that no matter what happens you can deal with it. Walk with confidence; you can find your way regardless of what life throws at you.
Keep your mind open. Allow yourself to grow and improve through challenges, obstacles, lessons from other people’s experiences, learning from your past, and discoveries from the future.