The mindset is a big part of your life that decides if you can constantly make new progress or settle. When you settle, you will live an unhappy life full of regret. To change this, you need to be more open-minded. But what is open mindedness and how to be open-minded? And is there a difference between a close-minded and an open-minded person?
What is open mindedness?
Being open-minded describes a characteristic that involves opening up to a variety of ideas, information, and arguments. It is generally a positive quality. Open-mindedness is a necessary ability to think critically and rationally. When you are not open to other ideas, it is difficult to contribute to problems or come up with effective solutions.
Showing open-mindedness means also being tolerant and don’t judge based on factors like gender, race, age, sexuality, nationality, social status, and religion
As our world gets more and more polarized, it is important to step out of your comfort zone and consider other perspectives.
It isn’t easy to be open-minded to new ideas and experiences as it sometimes can lead to confusion and conflict between attitudes, believes, or behaviors. But it is essential to be able to ask questions and actively search for information that challenges your beliefs
So you can change and revise incorrect or outdated believes because it is a part of learning and personal growth. Other people can freely express their believes and arguments even when you don’t necessarily agree with those viewpoints.
Are you close or open-minded?
While more successful people tend to approach life being eager to learn and are ok to be wrong, close-minded people get easily furious at the first sign of a disagreement. They would rather die than be wrong.
You may consider yourself to be open-minded doesn’t mean you are. But even if you are close-minded, it is not too late to bring up the courage to question your mind. We all are between open and close-minded by default. And it varies based on daily challenges.
Your personality, your expertise, and how comfortable you are with uncertainty, decide if you are a more close or open-minded person.
1. Challenging ideas
Close-minded people don’t like it when their ideas are challenged. They are more interested in proving themselves right than getting the best outcome. Typically, they easily get frustrated when a person disagrees instead of being curious about why they don’t agree.
A Close minded person doesn’t ask questions they only want to show that you are wrong without understanding your point of view. When you explain something or ask questions, they get angry and think that you are slowing them down. These people see you as an idiot if you don’t agree.
In comparison, open-minded people are more curious about why there is a disagreement. They know that there is a possibility that they might be wrong and is worth the time to consider another person’s views. If a conflict happens, they want to expand their knowledge and don’t get angry or upset when a question is asked.
Open-minded people want to identify where the disagreement lies to correct their opinion. They realize that being right means changing their minds, especially when someone knows something they don’t.
2. statements versus question
Most close-minded people are more likely to make a statement than to ask a question. They provide their opinion but never ask others to explain and expand on their ideas. This group thinks more about proving another person’s thoughts wrong than trying to understand what they are missing.
On the other hand, open-minded people truly believe they could be wrong, which is why they ask genuine questions. They know they might have an opinion on a subject, and it can count lesser for someone else. It may be the case that it is outside their expertise.
Their open-mindedness makes them always curious about how people see things differently, and they weigh their opinions accordingly.
The focus for close-minded is more on being understood than on understanding others. When someone disagrees with you, they quickly rephrase what they said, or even worse, they repeat it. They do this because they think you don’t understand them rather than you disagree with them.
If you disagree with Open-minded people, they assume they might not completely understand something and ask you to explain it better, so they see where their understanding is incomplete
Close-minded people often say things like “I could be wrong, but here’s my opinion.” It allows them to hold their belief while convincing themself they are open-minded. When someone says this, you might follow with a question and not an assumption.
Open-minded people know when to ask questions and make a statement.
A close-minded person blocks others from speaking because they don’t want to hear anyone other voice than their own.
On the other hand, open-minded people are more interested in listening than speaking.
Close-minded humans hold two thoughts simultaneously in their minds.
But an open-minded person takes the thoughts of others and can hold two or more conflicting concepts in their mind. They can go back and forth between them to weigh their opinions.
Close-minded people are not really humble, while open-minded people are more scared, they might be wrong.
How to be open minded?
It is possible to learn to be more open-minded, but it isn’t easy. While in many ways, our mind views concepts as a whole when we come across new information, we tend to sort it in one of our existing schemas.
The problem is sometimes new things we learn don’t exactly fit in on what we already know. It is why we need to change our thinking on how we deal with new information. This process requires you to reevaluate your memories and past experiences from what you have learned.
To do this, you need to be able to set aside your judgments, have a serious look at existing evidence, and admit when you were wrong. It takes a lot of mental effort can be difficult, confusing, and even painful or life-challenging.
Find other perspectives
Opening your mind means learning to view the world from more than one point of view and considering multiple possibilities. Think about issues you strongly are invested in. It might be related to morals, politics, religion, status, or other factors.
We pay more attention to things that confirm our existing beliefs and, at the same time, ignore evidence that challenges our thinking.
Making yourself aware of it is the best way to combat it. Take a moment to consider how this issue affects you and how you evaluate the information. So when you accept only something that supports your existing arguments, you need to find something that might challenge your ideas.
Evaluating information is especially necessary when you get information from different sources and news because they are not always right or wrong.
While in many ways, it is important to have trust and faith in your own choices. It is also a good idea to remember when you are too committed to a certain belief that it might be a form of closed-minded stubbornness.
Part of being more open-minded is to question not just others but also yourself. So question yourself the next time you hold back on new experiences or convince yourself you could never enjoy, believe or understand something.
You can ask the following questions:
- What holds you back?
- Is it fear or judgment?
- And why does it hold you back?
If you encounter new information here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Do you know enough about this topic?
- Is it a trustworthy source?
- Are there any other ideas you can consider?
- Do you have any beliefs that might influence your thinking?
Give yourself time to consider arguments and evaluate your opinion. You can do this by answering the following questions:
- Do your arguments are based on multiple sources?
- Are you willing to rethink your opinion when you found conflicting evidence?
- Do you hold on to your opinion even if the evidence is against it?
The more you explore the reasons and self question your beliefs, the better you can resist those impulses and open your mind. You also might get insights that you haven’t considered before. It is challenging to accept other perspectives, but it is even more difficult to change your own belief as a result.
Be vulnerable and make mistakes
It is important to stop making assumptions like “I would never do that” “I can’t relate to people who…” these are things close-minded people would tell themself. So ensure to become aware of it when you make this assumption. Then stop yourself and rephrase it to “I am not sure if I like something like that, but I am willing to give it a try.”
Let yourself be vulnerable when you try new things or turn ideas into reality, yes you will maybe fail or be disappointed. But if you accept no, all things go as planned and risking failure is ok, you will get something positive out of a negative experience.
You can also network with new people to get exposed to different ideas and belief systems.
But remember some people think they are an authority on a topic and may believe they already know everything there is. They are lesser open to taking in new information or ideas. It is why people often overestimate their knowledge, which makes them blind to their own ignorance.
A True expert is more humble about his wisdom because there is always more to learn. So if you think you are a know it all there are chances you are probably not.
The benefits of being more open-minded
When you consider different perspectives and experiences, you can learn more about what others know and more about yourself that you may not be familiar with. So it is a good idea to push yourself to reach out to people to get fresh insights about the world and also about yourself.
Being open-minded helps you archive personal growth and makes you mentally stronger. If you don’t stay close-minded, you can also become a more optimistic person toward life and the future.
While it is a hard process to become more open minded, it will be worth it when you gain new perspectives, knowledge, experiences, and meet new people. You can archive more happiness and a more fulfilled life.