Keeping an Open Mind
Last time I mentioned Awareness; however, there is one thing that goes hand in hand with it. It’s being open-minded. Being aware alone is not enough. If we’re close-minded, how do we change ourselves? How do we allow our thoughts to change and to improve?
You may already think, “Of course I’m open minded.” Well, let’s not be so sure yet and give yourself some leeway to be skeptical about that.
Often time we grow up being criticized by our elders and by our peers. Because of that, we grow up with this strong desire to prove ourselves and to be right in order to receive recognition and acceptance. Growing up under such influence, we always try to be right to show our worthiness for our existence in the society. Whether we’re greatly affected in childhood or not, all of us do not want others to dispute us and therefore, we do not want others to tell us we are wrong.
What happens when we are told we’re wrong then, by our peers or things we observe in life? We become defensive and we selectively block out messages that disprove ideas we held on to so long, be it personal/cultural/traditional/religious believe. We’ll justify ourselves with what we know. We feel that our individualism is jeopardized so we forget and discard these new information and ideas all together even if we were aware of it in the first place.
To change that, we need to keep an open mind by switching from “I want to be right” mentality to “I want to be better” mentality. We have to be capable to criticize ourselves. We allow ourselves to be receptive to new ideas, have a mind that thinks and absorbs new thoughts and ideas that may help us to improve ourselves in anyway. Give ourselves a chance to be wrong. It is not a bad thing to be wrong sometimes. It is a bad thing to be wrong but refuse to understand and change. That just leaves us stagnant…and what would happen to our personal development like that?
When we see things different than what we used to, understand why, there’re always some reasons behind them. When we hear things that contradict our opinions, think about the points and principles that validate that point and ALSO what’s wrong about them.
The path of personal development requires relentless self-skepticism, being self-critical in order to reach self-discovery to improve ourselves. Being aware is the first step. Being open-minded to absorb new ideas is the second step, which allows us to change ourselves, strengthen ourselves where we are weak. If you want to become better, be open minded.
Finally, I will leave you with a few quotes:
“The human mind should be like a good hotel: open the year round.”
– William Lyon Phelps
“Only fools and dead people don’t change their minds. Fools won’t. Dead people can’t.”
– John II Patterson
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”
– Mark Twain
Originally posted 2007-02-25 21:59:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter