I work with a woman who is a wonderful person and with whom I generally enjoy working. However, whenever we go out for lunch as a department, she wrinkles her nose at the thought of any ethnic food whatsoever. Some people just don’t have the taste for it, and that’s fine, but following that, she doesn’t like to do anything outside of her ordinary routine. She also doesn’t make an effort to understand other cultures, which is unfortunate as our workplace is very culturally diverse.
There’s a general consensus out there that nobody really likes closed minded people. They really aren’t any fun to be around, their closed-minded attitudes usually come with some negativity, and it’s hard to learn anything from somebody who refuses to try anything new.
I think all of this can be agreed upon, but if we are being honest with ourselves, we aren’t all as open minded as we like to think we are. It’s fun to imagine things, sometimes, but when it comes to doing them, there is a whole different struggle.
I think staying open minded is difficult if you are not naturally open minded, but not impossible. There are a few ways to help yourself along.
Staying curious can help immensely when it comes to being open minded. When you meet somebody who is different from you, or an interesting hobby, find out more about them or what they are doing.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss their culture, interests, background, or whatever it is that makes them different from you. Try not to take the conversation as an opportunity to talk about yourself, but rather just find out where they are coming from.
If you are discussing something with somebody who has a different opinion from yours, ask questions to probe into why they think that way. They might have a point that you hadn’t considered before.
Close minded people refuse to even hear others out, or take an argumentative stance when they encounter a differing opinion. Open minded people can still debate and stick to their guns with their opinions, but being open minded is about being open to new ways of thinking, even if you aren’t going to adopt them.
Be Around Open Minded People
Just like being around inspirational people can keep you inspired, being around open minded people can help you be more open to trying new things or accepting new ideas. Surrounding yourself with people who are willing to explore and try new things is infectious and very effective.
As a bonus, open minded people are often more enjoyable to be around.
It’s easy to be closed minded about concepts about which you are ignorant. There is a factor of fear when it comes to trying new things or accepting new ideas that fall into the territory of the unknown. That’s why research is your friend for opening your mind.
Use search engines and other databases to your advantage to get to know what is behind the concept in question, as well as the different arguments for and against it.
Try not to formulate an opinion of something until you’ve researched it thoroughly. Rushing into an opinion or deciding you’ll never do something without all of the facts won’t be much help to you.
Try Everything Once
Before you automatically say no to something, like trying a new food or sport, try it at least once. If you still don’t like it, at least you’ll know that you’ve tried it and decided you don’t like it instead of ruled it out automatically.
Have you ever heard somebody say that they don’t like something, or won’t do something, before they’ve even tried it once? It’s usually followed by a list of reasons why they don’t like it. But how can they not like it, if they haven’t tried it?
Don’t fall into this closed-minded trap.
Being open minded can be difficult, but it will be well worth it as you learn new things.
How do you stay open minded?