Year after year I learn new things about virtually everything. I’m cursed with a rampant curiosity about the universe that surrounds me for this short time we have. My opinions and viewpoints undergo tremendous and sometimes outlandish changes as I listen to others, study where they come from and, yes, even try new things. Open-mindedness to me is the most critical character element of anyone who wants to grow—not just to be. The most expensive thing a person can own is a closed mind—it shuts out opportunities, stimulation and even pleasure. Conversely, growth and success, however you want to define it, find nurture in an open mind. Take a real deep breath right now. Feel the difference? Open-mindedness is a deep breath for the soul.
An exercise to strengthen open-mindedness is focusing on things that really bug you, that you really object to, or that “tick you off” when you see or hear them. We humans have a tendency to build our highest mental walls around our greatest weaknesses. When we keep our mind closed up tight we will play this defense strategy in all aspects of our daily lives. When you get to this place—you lose.
So when something you see on the news or read on Facebook really bothers you, set aside your negative emotions and really focus on that thing with an open mind. Perhaps you just heard something very important that will solve a problem you’ve had or set you in a new direction—or it can also reinforce your original belief with new data and foundation. And you win.
Every day we think about how we look, we think about what we’ll say—but do we think about what we think about? Think about that! Seriously, think about what we’re thinking about when we see or hear that thing that set us off. If you’re saying, “What if …,” that’s fear speaking. If you’re saying, “They shouldn’t …,” that’s anger speaking—and fear or anger destroys you. Open the mind, your mind, and listen to what you say to yourself so you can decide if you need to make room for new stuff that will make you a happier person.
Have a great week—and send in those thoughts of yours.