It’s very easy to be closed-minded. It’s very easy to have a rigid identity for yourself, and just believe in all of the values that go along with this identity. Examples of this are identifying yourself with a political party, race, religion, or whatever “group” you consider yourself to be a part of.
The problem with this is the lack of skepticism that comes along with it. You don’t need to think for yourself. You are basically given a list of what to believe and not believe, and that’s it. If anyone asks you a question, you have nicely pre-packaged answers to regurgitate to them. If you do dare to disagree with your own group, you risk being ostracized from your own beloved group, so most don’t dare.
Dare to be an individual! Dare to be open-minded! Think for yourself. Ask questions. Come to your own conclusions.
Being open-minded means being open to new ideas. It means listening to what others say and respecting where they are coming from and why they think the way they do. It means admitting that maybe you don’t know it all, and that maybe you can learn something from somebody else. Have you ever noticed that many people find it more important to be right than to solve problems? They view being wrong as a sign of weakness. Sometimes finding a solution to a problem requires gathering information on both sides. Hearing both sides of an issue may result in you changing your mind! I call that a sign of maturity, not a sign of weakness.
We grow as people by being open to new information. Here is an example of the process of hearing new information:
1) Open your mind enough to really listen to the new information without pre-judging what you’re about to hear.
3) After listening to the new information, decide whether or not any of the information makes sense to you.
4) If any of it does make sense, and you agree with it, you have learned something and grown as a person.
5) If none if it makes sense and you disagree with what you heard, you have still learned something and grown as a person.
6) Either way, you now have a new and improved view of the issue/topic at hand.
It takes courage to be open to new information because it may cause a change in you. People who are not open to new information are afraid of the change that may result, afraid of admitting the way they used to think is something they no longer agree with- admitting they may have been wrong about something. But when you are not open to listening to the other side of any issue, you are stifling your own growth. You are always entitled to change your mind. Everyone used to believe the world was flat. Now we all know it isn’t. That’s OK. New and better information was discovered on the topic, so the old information was then discarded. It’s OK to admit, “Yeah I used to think one way. But now I know better.” This is how we grow and evolve as people.
Dare to be an individual! Dare to be open-minded! Think for yourself. Ask questions. Come to your own conclusions. Don’t be a sheep!