What is an open mind?
We often hear the phrase, “I am open minded”, but the question is what is being open minded? To go by the very simplistic definition, open mindedness is the ability to be receptive to other peoples’ ideas. Open mindedness is how someone assimilates other peoples’ beliefs into one’s self and expresses their visions and beliefs. Open mindedness often influences how people perceive others and situations. Open-minded people are often very easy to be with because they have very few inhibitions and are positive and optimistic. Thus Sebastian Greenwood correctly quotes Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.
However it is not easy to be open-minded, each family has its own values and when we are growing up we tend to inculcate these values within us. As time passes and we grow older, these values get consolidated within us and become strong beliefs. We tend to be in the company of people who share similar beliefs and values as us. Hence it can be quite difficult when are to face someone who has different beliefs than us, although Sebastian Greenwood very aptly quotes Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. Being open minded is the first step towards coming together. Two conflicting ideas when they come together can reap a lot of benefits; therefore it is always advantageous to have an open mind. Although it is always good to have one’s own belief, but one should never close the doors of one’s mind.
Benefits of having an open mind
As already said, having an open mind can have many rewarding benefits, including:
Getting to experience change: opening the doors of the minds to new ideas can shake the foundations of some obsolete notions that you are holding onto. This can bring about some positive changes in you.
Not being a control freak: having an open mind means that you let go of all your control over your thoughts. You let new ideas float in that can challenge your existing beliefs. This can lead to self-introspection.
Being vulnerable: it is true that having an open mind means you are admitting that you do not know everything that in itself is like letting down all your defenses. It is true that it makes you vulnerable, but this can be very exhilarating.
Gaining confidence: having an open mind means having a strong sense of one’s self, and is not confined in your thoughts. This way you can learn new things and gain more confidence.
Making mistakes: having an open mind helps you to see things from other’s perspective. This way you can not only foresee your potential mistakes but also make new mistakes and learn from them.
Making yourself strong: as you make mistakes, you learn from them and gain confidence; you become a stronger and better person.
Practicing honesty: honesty is one virtue that comes with an open mind. You need to be honest to admit that you do not know everything.
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