Updated: May 25, 2021
“A mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work if it’s not open” - Frank Zappa
Have you ever wondered what your life will be when you open yourself to new ideas, opportunities, and possibilities? The reality is, we cannot grow and flourish to our full potentials without having an open mind, a willingness to consider, change, adapt or assimilate to alternative perspectives and deepen one’s understanding and empathy for diverse points of view.
When your mind is open to new perspectives, your worldview begins to evolve and mature. As you seek new ways of doing and looking at things, you will start to expand your intellectual capability, replace limiting beliefs, challenge maladaptive old habits, and significantly broaden your experiences.
Does this mean that you necessarily will or have to change your beliefs? Absolutely Not! Being open-minded means that you’re willing to consider a variety of perspectives, values, opinions, or beliefs, even if they contradict your own, rather than dismissing them as wrong or “other.”
If you struggle to maintain an open mind, you’re not alone. However, here are few tips that might help you to embrace new ideas and perspectives:
Practice Mindfulness. Various mindfulness principles, including self-awareness, maintaining a non-judgmental attitude, and practicing gratitude, are essential tools for fostering a thoughtful, open, and welcoming perspective on the word.
Try to widen your horizon. The attitude of “I know it all” keeps you from learning new things. Challenge your thinking by embracing differing viewpoints rather than limiting conversations to like-minded people. When you’re exposed to different opinions, look at them as learning experiences. Talk less and listen more; when you are willing to spend more time listening than talking, your mind will fill up with amazing new ideas to consider and work with.
Be open to asking questions. Sometimes the only way to learn more about a particular situation and keep an open mind is to ask as many questions as possible. While you don’t want to intrude on someone’s personal life, you should be eager and ready to listen if they're willing to share information.
Expand your comfort zone. Welcome new situations that are different from those you’re familiar with. Doing something you never thought you would do or could do should help build your confidence and empower you to be more receptive to less controlled changes.
Remember. Trying new things can be scary, challenging, and risky. But it’s also how we grow. It’s how we learn. It’s how we decide what we like and what we don’t like. It’s how we get better at being uncomfortable. The more we practice, the less anxiety and fear we have over trying new things. When you are practiced at being uncomfortable, the fear doesn’t arise as much. And when it does arise, it doesn’t take hold in the same way because you’ve built up your tolerance.
Benefits of Open-Mindedness
Research suggests the following benefits of open-mindedness:
Less prone to stress: An open-minded approach can make it easier to walk through life with a lighter spirit as you won't be constantly stressed out by close-minded frustrations and the fear of not knowing.
Having more empathy: Opening your heart and mind to other people and cultures creates more empathy within you, and you will be able to see things from a broader perspective and try to understand other people’s points of view.
Fulfilling relationships: When you let go of passing judgments, you are more likely to have a greater ability to love and be loved, make more friends, and allow yourself to have deeper, more meaningful relationships. When you have an open mind, it is much easier to give and accept love more freely and accept others as they are.
Polished Skills: When you open your mind to new information and try to learn more and more rather than thinking that you know it all, you will be able to polish your skills. You will learn new skills and improve yourself.
Enhanced confidence: Opening your mind to possibilities and opportunities will give you the power to think positively and be more confident in life. When you think outside the box, you will see endless possibilities.
Creative Insights: Have you ever felt like life is on the same routine and a bit boring? Opening your mind breaks the chains of restrictive views that push you into a box of normality and stagnation. Try opening your mind to new ideas and hobbies. There is nothing like an open mind to unleash creativity. When you are open to possibilities, the sky's the limit.
Feel more optimistic: Being open can help inspire a more favorable attitude toward life and the future.
Opening your mind to new opportunities, knowledge, adventure, and even relationships could lead you to the doors of countless possibilities and opportunities. Even if being open-minded does not come naturally to you, you can work to cultivate a receptive attitude that leaves you open to new perspectives, knowledge, and experiences.