Living your life in a bubble makes you feel like you’re in control.
You know how the world works.
You know what’s best.
You feel secure in your beliefs which gives you a sense of stability. But imagine that stable foundation is like a cell – You feel comfortable in it because it’s all you have ever known. Leaving to the outside world is daunting – Because it’s unfamiliar.
Having a closed mind is choosing to stay in the familiar cell. An open mind exposes you to an unfamiliar world where you’re constantly trying to put the pieces together. Sometimes, we prefer to stay in the cell because it’s easier. But there is a steep price to pay for ignorance.
Unless you’re willing to open your mind and expose yourself to everything that life has to offer – Good or bad, worrying or daunting, you’re going to severely stunt your growth. If you’re on a path of self-betterment, you need to prioritize opening your mind. In this article I’m going to teach you how.
What is an open mind?
Having an open mind is to be receptive to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences without immediately dismissing them. By being open-minded, you approach new situations with a desire to evolve your understanding, instead of closing yourself off due to unfamiliarity.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned – Opening your mind is a game changer.
I had no desire to evolve my understanding of life during my youth, but at the same time I was miserable. Desperate for a solution, there came my eureka moment – Realizing I could learn my way to a happier life.
As my mind opened to the possibility that I could change, my life experience became so much more expansive.
Opening my mind set me on a better path. It cultivated a curiosity about our planet which led me to travel the world for many years – Exploring different cultures and traditions.
As I chose to continuously learn, my mind expanded to spirituality and mysticism – To the oddities and complexities of this universe that are seldom contemplated by many.
The desire to discover new ways of perceiving reality was crucial for my development as a person. To understand how much your perception of life impacts your reality, read the article below:
The importance of having an open mind
Openmindedness is a prerequisite for personal growth. You learn passively, but if you expose yourself to new things you’ll find that your learning curve becomes much steeper.
If you imagine knowledge as a river, a closed mind is like constructing a dam. Opening your mind on the other hand is to open the floodgates – Allowing yourself to be inundated by new ideas and information.
Unless I first conceived the possibility that there are other ways of thinking, believing, and perceiving, I would forever be stuck in those familiar, yet painful patterns.
Open-mindedness is a valuable quality that helps you understand more about yourself, and the world you live in. Having an open mind opens you up to a whole new caliber of experiences, which is why it’s a big advantage in life.
Some benefits of open-mindedness include:
- Your learning curve is accelerated
- You become less gullible or prone to influence
- It shows maturity
- You gain a broader perspective of every situation
- Instead of seeing one side of the coin, you critically assess everything and gain a balanced perspective
- You’re going to have many more exciting experiences in life because you’re open to them
The necessity of open-mindedness in the modern age
In this day and age, information spreads like wildfire which has pros and cons. You have access to so much information which is great, but there’s also a lot of misleading information.
We’re constantly inundated by contradictory ideas, information, theories, and beliefs. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction – Making it easy to discard everything we hear, when the information may be perfectly valid.
Having an open mind in this day and age allows you to acknowledge all the information you’re presented with and come to your conclusions. There are a lot of voices out there telling you what to believe. Everyone’s trying to influence you one way or another, which is why it’s important to be discerning.
On one hand, you don’t want to shut out alternative views because they could be valid, but you want to be discerning too, because not everything you hear is truthful.
Barriers towards open-mindedness
Being close-minded means that you are very selective about the information you acknowledge and integrate.
Close-minded people are usually set in their beliefs, not necessarily because they’ve weighed up all sides of the argument and come to a rational conclusion, but because they actively block out information that opposes their views.
Here we’re going to look at some common barriers of why people keep their minds closed. Otherwise, here are some common phrases you might hear from someone with a closed mind.
- You’re wrong
- That’s bad
- You can’t talk/act/think/behave like that
- That’s controversial
- I’m not going to talk about that
- That’s a conspiracy
- This is the best culture in the world
- There is no god
- Spirituality is a load of BS
- You’re going to hell for not believing in ______
- The world is overpopulated
- Humanity is bad
- People suck
- Politicians are only out to do good/bad
Acknowledging the depth of your ignorance
The first step to opening your mind is to accept that you don’t know everything. You might think you know something, and other people may look up to you. But there is always more to be learned about any given topic.
I’ve learned throughout my life journey – That the more I learn, the less I know. I used to think I knew how this world worked, and I was comfortable with my limited beliefs.
Wisdom is to acknowledge that we don’t know. The more we search, the more complicated the puzzle of reality becomes – To the point it can’t be understood.
It’s fine to have beliefs and opinions, don’t get me wrong. But there is a line. When you acknowledge that you simply don’t know what you don’t know and take a more humble position – You’re on your way to opening your mind to the mysteries of life and beyond.
Avoiding confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a barrier to opening your mind. Confirmation bias is to unconsciously seek out information and ideas that support your point of view while rejecting anything that doesn’t.
You can beat confirmation bias by consciously acknowledging all information and perspectives towards any given subject.
Curiosity is key, and as long as you remain curious to deepen your understanding – Whether the information supports your current beliefs or not is a key to opening your mind.
Acknowledging the fear of change
The fear of change can prevent you from opening your mind. Often, people want to stick with what is familiar to them, even if it causes them to suffer.
Therefore, if you have difficulty opening your mind, identify whether you have a resistance to change, because this could be why.
To learn more about embracing change, follow the link below:
Interference of the ego
Close-minded people feel that they always need to be right, and usually assume that they already know everything. You are always going to be wrong if you disagree with them, and they will assert their own beliefs over yours without hearing a word from your perspective.
I’m sure you know someone like this, and it probably drives you crazy! That’s why it’s important to always seek the middle ground and connect with people over common points of interest.
Realize when your ego is preventing you from admitting you don’t know something. Practice listening to people you disagree with and having rational conversations with them.
The need for control
The need for control is a barrier to an open mind. That means you want to have control over the situation or outcome, and framing the situation in a way where you’re in control gives you that illusion.
Therefore you need to challenge yourself. Question whether you know the answer, or whether that is your need for control speaking.
Think about what is outside of your control, and how it relates to the situation. Actively let go of control, and you’ll find it easier to acknowledge and accept other ideas.
The need to be accepted by other people is a big reason why you’re staying in their camp.
Let’s face it, conformity is a killer because it prevents you from thinking as an individual. Your desire to be liked puts you in a box, so it’s important to realize when you feel the need to be accepted by others and combat this urge by being integral to your own beliefs.
How to open your mind
Here are some things you can do to open your mind. By applying the following strategies, you’ll notice your world become much more expansive.
Be curious to know more
Be curious about all perspectives, and you will become more open-minded. Ignorant beliefs will lose power as you start to see that there are many sides to every story.
By being curious, you also digest information much quicker because you want to learn it. Genuinely try to understand where everyone is coming from. Try to figure out why people have these sorts of beliefs, and why they hold onto them.
Actively seek out knowledge
Knowledge is a rabbit hole and there’s no floor to how much you can learn about something. There’s always an opportunity to learn more about any given subject, as long as you put in the time and effort.
Always strive to learn as much as you can about everything you can.
Talk to people, research, experiment, read books, and watch informative videos. Make learning a lifestyle and it’s going to open your mind as you’re exposing yourself to more information.
When you realize how valuable knowledge is, naturally you will want to have more of it.
Always ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If anyone is discouraging them, then you’re probably onto something worth knowing about.
Most people are open books and they’re happy to talk about what they know. Learning from people is just a matter of asking the right questions, so make sure you do!
There is so much to learn from every person, so if you’re not making the most of your conversations, it’s a huge waste. Everyone knows something that can add value to your life.
Critically assess situations
Make sure you use logic when building an opinion about something.
Instead of jumping to conclusions, weigh everything up. See what makes more sense when comparing views instead of jumping on the bandwagon. Think about whether your opinions are based on an emotional response, or whether they’re rational.
Critically assessing takes some looking inwards, and requires you to introspect and dig into your belief systems. Always assume that there’s more to know, and always leave the door open to more information that you might learn about the topic in the future.
Allow people to advise you
You should have a mentality where all advice, suggestions, and opinions are welcome. Even if you decide that the suggestions don’t serve you, they should be considered. Allow yourself to dwell on different suggestions and ideas, think about how they could be viable, and if there’s potential in them.
Allowing people to advise you doesn’t mean mindlessly jumping on any suggestion someone gives you, but at least give it some consideration. That’s what an open mind is really about, considering possibilities.
Seek out diversity
The more diversity you experience in life, naturally, the more open-minded you’re going to become.
It’s no wonder why the most close-minded people generally haven’t experienced a whole lot. They live in a self-contained box, and experiencing more pries you out of this box.
Avoid getting caught in echo chambers by only hanging around people who are similar to you. Nothing can open your mind like real-life experiences. Therefore, make sure that you experience as much as you can in life, from all angles, to get the best possible view.
Be open to opportunties
If you want to open your mind to all possibilities, you need to start by not shooting down any thoughts, ideas, or potential opportunities when they arise. Look at the potential of something rather than what it currently is.
Where could this job take you, where could that friendship lead you? As long as you give whatever comes into your life a chance without immediately pushing it away, you’ll be surprised how many opportunities can branch out of other opportunities, but it all starts by being receptive to them.
Therefore, always ask yourself, what if?
What if hanging out with this person led to some great experience? What if I can be happier in a different job, even though I won’t make as much money? What if I decide to be spontaneous today, what would I end up doing?
Always be humble
Humility is an important quality for anyone seeking an open mind.
Part of humility is to realize that no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to know. You are always a student in life, despite how much you know.
If you take the perspective that you’re always a student and that there’s always something to learn from others about the topic, you’re never going to stop learning and bettering yourself. There’s always going to be some room for error because you’re constantly learning more.