The Secret to Becoming More Open-Minded
Have you heard this phrase before? Maybe a close friend or your significant other brought it up. And hey, maybe you even know you struggle with this.
In a way, this phrase is drilled into us via “woke” culture and the collision of worlds across the internet. But what does being open-minded actually mean? And is it something you can learn?
Well, buckle up!
Becoming more open-minded isn’t the easiest of rides. It involves dropping your biases, exploring new and confronting ideas, and so much more. So, let’s dive in and explore the importance of open-mindedness and even a few open-mindedness exercises.
Why is Being Open-Minded Important?
The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing. For many, they begin to lean into the mundane and build up walls around their beliefs - even creating stories within their minds to support them.
The good news is that if you’re reading this article, you’re probably open to having an open mind.
But first, why bother?
Surprisingly, being open-minded, whether that means to be more open-minded in the workplace or in your personal life, has some powerful benefits, including:
- Teaching you new things about yourself and the world
- Offering you the opportunity of new experiences
- Helping you grow on a personal level
- Becoming mentally resilient and strong
- Learning new things
- Guiding you toward a more optimistic way of life
In fact, negativity is closely associated with closed-mindedness, where a one-track mind is often considered the only way. A few words and phrases might come to mind here, like stubbornness, a lack of compassion and empathy, and other reasons as to perhaps why certain people no longer circulate within your inner sphere.
Being open-minded involves a level of empathy and compassion. This is actually why certain personality types are more likely to naturally be more open to other opinions outside of their own.
Becoming more open-minded has the capability to catapult your career forward and deepen your relationships in more ways than one.
So, how can you harness this power? For the most part, it all comes down to your mindset. So, let’s look at some open-mindedness exercises and activities you can try to improve yourself and your life.
How to Be More Open-Minded
Learning to become more open-minded might involve assessing things you thought you knew.
This is a tough hurdle to overcome for some since their self and identity are so closely tied to these thoughts. However, knowing that you can maintain your sense of self and be flexible with how you think is worth noting here.
So, how can you be more open-minded?
1. Challenge Your Confirmation Bias
Confirmation bias refers to the human tendency to interpret, search for, and favor information in a way that confirms what we already believe. This often involves ignoring anything else that says differently, which is almost the definition of closed-mindedness.
When taking in new information, it’s important to recognize these biases and overcome them. Challenge your own beliefs and your own thoughts. Sure, it might shake up your world for a second. But true growth emerges from this.
This might look like evaluating your own thoughts and beliefs before responding. But don’t worry – we’re going to look at this a little more in-depth below.
2. Ask More Questions
A major contributing factor to conflicts is our need to push our own narrative. We spend so much time trying to express ourselves and our view that we fail to question anything, whether that means questioning ourselves or asking for more information from others so that we can understand.
When new information is presented to you, try asking more questions. This might mean asking:
- Is this source trustworthy or reliable?
- What are other ideas or viewpoints?
- Are biases influencing these perceptions?
- Do you actually know anything about the topic being discussed?
When asking these questions of yourself, be brutally honest. It’s okay if your ego gets a little hurt. It will recover.
3. Think Before Reacting
When someone says something against your beliefs, you might initially want to lash out and respond. Yet, sometimes, this isn’t appropriate.
In fact, this way of reacting actually shows to the other person that you aren’t willing to understand or listen to their views or perspective. In relationships and the workplace, this can foster mistrust and total communication breakdowns.
Thus, if you need time before you react, take it. Our emotions make us human, but sometimes, they really aren’t serving us.
Consider the other person’s opinion or this new information. Ask those questions above. Confront your biases. It can be difficult but so much can come out of this.
Related article: How to Respond Instead of React Communication
4. Reframe Negative Thinking Patterns
The brain is made to help you survive, as are various other mechanisms and processes in the body and mind. From an evolutionary standpoint, we haven’t evolved that much past our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Fortunately, our awareness can make up for this. While the brain might try to pick apart things and point to negative aspects, you can choose whether to follow this line of thinking.
Instead, you can challenge it. What’s another way to think about the situation? How can you view it more positively?
5. Practice Mindful Meditation
Meditation has countless benefits. It can help you control your thoughts and feelings, helping you grow and learn as a person. It can also help you clear your mind, which leaves room for more open-minded thinking.
And all you really need for this is 5-10 minutes a day. Sit with yourself. Just be. If thoughts come, observe them, then let them go. This can teach you to consider new information rather than emotionally respond.
Check this out: How to Develop a Habit of Daily Meditation
It’s Time to Open Your Mind
It’s totally within your power to do this! If we all did this a little bit more, conflicts might be a thing of the past, and world peace might actually be within our reach. Yet, at the same time, all we can do is focus on improving ourselves.
Start right here and right now. Focus on being more open-minded.
Where can these new opportunities and viewpoints take you? Could you be happier? Could you connect more deeply with those around you?
Related article: 5 Secrets To Activate Your Inner Happiness At Any Time