How to be open-minded

It (to be open-minded) is the mark that an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Aristotle

Listening to others’ ideas may not be easy, but it could be a valuable way to learn something new or change your perspective of life.

The most important part of exercising an open mind is acceptance of other people, ideas and respect for our difference as humans.  Realize that people’s beliefs are shaped by genes, personality, disposition, life experience, and historical context.   If you were born in a different time and place, or experiences different things in life, you would have a totally different belief system.

Instructions:

1. Make every situation a chance to learn something new.  Let go of the need to be “right”.

2. Get to know your neighbors.  Whether they’re across the street or in the apartment next to you, try to figure out who’s been making those weird noises late at night or the purpose of those strange lawn ornaments littered about.  You learn the most from new people and you don’t have to travel far to experience new ideas.

3.  Stop talking so much and start listening to people.  Ask questions and encourage discussion on important topics like faith, politics and hobbies despite the social rules of avoiding them.  Always challenge your mind to wrap around tough new ideas because this exercises it and improves it.

You may need to bite your tongue if you feel the need to lash out with your opinions. Even if you disagree with someone’s view, you can react back what they’re saying to make them feel heard. “So you are saying that…”

4. Kill that little voice inside you that tells you’re always right.  Somewhere along the line people stopped caring about learning new ideas and started obsessing about winning little arguments throughout the day – people will even argue when they know they’re wrong, just to win.

5. Volunteer for people with disabilities, youth and anyone in need.  This makes the company you keep diverse and this is a great tool for opening the mind and keeping it that way.  There’re a lot of people in the world with different perspectives than your own and when you learn about them you exercise an open mind.

6.  Fail – a lot.  If you’re trying a lot of new things to exercise your mind, then you’re probably going to be failing at a lot of things and this is okay.  Failing isn’t a waste of time since it teaches you what doesn’t work and opens your mind to what will work.

Summarized and copied from here and here.

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One thought on “How to be open-minded

  1. Pingback: People person « Susan Zheng's Simple Life Blog

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