I did a recent poll on my Twitter and Facebook account asking if people consider themselves an open-minded person. Not surprisingly, the results came back with 78 percent of people claiming the open-minded mantle.
Being open-minded or seen to be open-minded is generally considered a positive trait in our society and one most people readily claim. You always get the person, when you ask a question like this, that quotes the old phrase, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” That aside, most want to be seen this way.
Here’s my question for you (and me) today. Are you truly open-minded?
The phrase is defined by Dictionary.com as “being open to new ideas, unprejudiced.” Merriam-Webster defines it as, “receptive to arguments or ideas.”
We human beings have a tendency to hold onto our cherished beliefs about the world against all facts. Are you truly open to ideas that might question your religious faith? Are you receptive to ideas that might change your political ideology? Do you really judge every idea on its merits and put aside previous biases?
The fact is no one does or probably can remain open-minded 100 percent of the time. We’d be shifting our paradigms by the moment as more information arrived and we’d find it hard to live our lives.
That said, it is useful to sincerely gauge your level of openness to new ideas. Do you really listen to new ideas or ideas that question your paradigms or do you immediately dismiss, attack, and become argumentative in defense of your cherished ideas? Do you really measure your beliefs against the bar of your current knowledge or do you hold onto them because “that’s what we’ve always believed?”
This leaves many of us with a kind of cognitive dissonance between how open we believe we are and how open we actually are?
Here’s my challenge to you against the backdrop of a culture deeply divided by paradigms with wide gulfs and little understanding. Can you push yourself a little bit more? Can you hear the other person out before you automatically decide you disagree? Can you facts-test your beliefs once in a while? Can you give a little ground on the idea that your side has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
If you can do that and I can do that and enough people in our culture can do that, healing and more dialogue are possible. Change that serves everyone can be achieved.
No pressure, but this is one of those things that really starts with you. If you’re waiting for your proverbial “them” to be more open first, you may wait a long time. Someone has to show the glimmer of enlightenment. Let it be you and me!
Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. I hope today’s post spoke to you. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend or two.
Have a great Friday!
Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.
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