Since we’re all facing this challenge together, what can we do? The following are the top 5 things successful people do differently in this regard. They are simple tactics you can use and adopt as well to become more open minded in 2013 and beyond. Follow them carefully, and you will achieve unprecedented success. Here they are:
- Listen More Than You Talk This idea harks back toStephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This single truth makes strong and obvious sense; yet is still far too often ignored (particularly by bosses—but ignored by spouses, team leaders and employees as well). We don’t learn new ideas while our own mouths are moving. We learn when we listen intently, thoughtfully, and silently. Stop typing. Stop texting. Stop multitasking at all. Listen genuinely and deeply for at least 70% of the time you are interacting with others, and like the Grinch’s heart, your brain will explode with the new ideas and new approaches you’ll learn as well as the sensitivities you’ll gain about how to make those ideas most successful with the individuals you work with. Each individual is different in their thinking and their motivation. These are critical nuances that you miss entirely when you jump in too quickly to speak.
- Avoid Making Snap Decisions (First things first: Get the Facts)How many times has an occurrence hit you straight in your blood pressure? A call goes unanswered. An email goes unreturned. A bad surprise happens that you learn about through a second party, through a memo, or—worst of all—in the press. What do you do? Typically, you react immediately, with guns “loaded for bear.” I am here to assure you, it’s a bad idea. Imagine the possibilities that open if you suspend judgment until you’ve carefully, and without bias, gone to the source to pursue the actual facts. Early in my career, a wise boss made a profound set of statements: “I just heard XXX. Before I draw any conclusions about this, I need for you to tell me about it. What happened?” What a great boss! Without judgment or anger, she was able to determine exactly what had happened, sleep on her decision, and then decide how best to proceed. If only we could adopt this policy for living, always, when emotions and tempers are high. Beyond getting the facts and considering them carefully, consider this question as well: “What is it that I want to happen? Is what I’m about to do the best and clearest path to that outcome?” I am personally convinced that 95% (at least) of angry words, punishments, and damaged relationships would melt away if we were to take this one simple step. Worst case—even if the situation really is as bad as it looks—your angry tone (emotion) will become emphatic(a position of strength and power) instead. Can you see the difference?
- Thank People for Their Suggestions One of the biggest causes of consternation in business settings is the lack of gratitude for a great idea. Employees feel a great sense of injustice when bosses “steal” their good ideas to present as their own, without stopping to give credit where due. Will your employee or team be likely to offer their best creative thinking again? Likely not. Oh, they’ll still create—but they’ll save their ideas and thinking for their own company—or for somebody else’s company—where they can feel respected and appreciated for the work they have done. We should never fail to keep this common and underlying courtesy in mind.
- Encourage Frankness How many times has someone asked you to give them the straight and unvarnished truth, and it’s then been immediately evident that they didn’t really want to hear it? A wise executive noted recently that he’d come to realize he had sensitive feelings—he knew that criticism—particularly in the press—would affect him deeply, and knew that in his leadership decisions, this factor would be a weakness for him. Knowing this in advance allowed him to compensate for his known weakness with greater care within his executive team, to prevent it from slowing his company down. However, one of the greatest traits you can assume–and can teach others to assume with you—is the ability to speak the truth with high diplomacy and tact. The respect you hold for another person should be evident, and with it, your motivation for sharing a strong feedback should be evident as well. If you can master this skill, your ability to speak, to hear, and to share fully and with an open mind will increase many fold.
- Hunt for New Opportunities If you have an open mind, one of the most tremendous results of that trait will be your ability to perpetually seek and discover new opportunities, new ideas, and new approaches to solving the challenges you face. There are no new ideas? Really? You’ve looked at every possibility and every angle for solving a problem? I sincerely doubt it. The world’s greatest inventors have a single trait in common—they realize that when you think you’ve tried every approach to solving a problem, inevitably you are wrong. How many attempts did Thomas Edisonmake before he invented the lightbulb? Reports say it took him 10,000 tries. Colonel Sanders reportedly tried his chicken recipe 1,009 times before his 1,010th idea met with success. Truly open-minded people are never weary of the effort, and always alert to new ideas and opportunities to try.
Can you resolve to become a more open-minded business owner or employee in 2013? Truly? If you feel you are there, congratulations. If, like the majority of us, you have room to improve, I challenge you to take these steps to heart as we enter the year. And I look forward to hearing your astounding results.
Open-minded people live exciting, balanced, and inquisitive lives, and you can be one of them after a little hard work
Open-mindedness is receptiveness to new ideas. Open-mindedness relates to the way in which people approach the views and knowledge of others, and “incorporate the beliefs that others should be free to express their views and that the value of others’ knowledge should be recognized.” There are various scales for the measurement of open-mindedness. It has been argued that schools should emphasize open-mindedness more than relativism in their science instruction, because the scientific community does not embrace a relativistic way of thinking.
Open-mindedness is generally considered an important personal attribute for effective participation in management teams and other groups. According to What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, closed-mindedness, or an unwillingness to consider new ideas, can result from the brain’s natural dislike for ambiguity. According to this view, the brain has a “search and destroy” relationship with ambiguity and evidence contradictory to people’s current beliefs tends to make them uncomfortable by introducing such ambiguity. Research confirms that belief-discrepant-closed-minded persons have less tolerance for cognitive inconsistency.
Being open-minded can be really tough sometimes. Most of us are brought up with a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs. Therefore, it can be difficult when we’re faced with ideas that challenge our own and, though we may wish to be open-minded, we may struggle with the act of it from time to time.
I’d like to say I’m a fairly open-minded person, but, like most people, I do have some pretty strong views about specific topics and find it hard to sway from those opinions — no matter how others might try to persuade me. Of course, I fully believe that having strong beliefs can be a wonderful thing and I believe we should all stay true to what we believe in, but having strong beliefs doesn’t have to mean having a closed mind.
Though it can be tough to do sometimes, I’ve always found that when I open my mind, I’ve reaped a lot of rewarding benefits. There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in. Here are just a few of the benefits I’ve uncovered when I’ve taken the time to view the world around me with an open mind…
The 7 Benefits of Being Open-Minded
- Letting go of control. When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be in complete control of your thoughts. You allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have. It can be very liberating to look at the world through an open mind.
- Experiencing changes. Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you to the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world. Now, this doesn’t mean you necessarily will change your beliefs, but you have the option to when you think with an open mind.
- Making yourself vulnerable. One of the scariest (and greatest) things about seeing the world through an open mind is making yourself vulnerable. In agreeing to have an open-minded view of the world, you’re admitting you don’t know everything and that there are possibilities you may not have considered. This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating.
- Making mistakes. Making mistakes doesn’t seem like it would be much of a benefit, but it truly is. When you open your mind and allow yourself to see things from others’ perspectives, you allow yourself not only to recognize potential mistakes you’ve made, but also to make new mistakes. Doesn’t sound like much fun, but it’s a great thing to fall and get back up again.
- Strengthening yourself. Open-mindedness provides a platform on which you can build, piling one idea on top of another. With an open mind you can learn about new things and you can use the new ideas to build on the old ideas. Everything you experience can add up, strengthening who you are and what you believe in. It’s very hard to build on experiences without an open mind.
- Gaining confidence. When you live with an open mind, you have a strong sense of self. You are not confined by your own beliefs, nor are you confined by the beliefs of others. For that reason, you are able to have and gain confidence as you learn more and more about the world around you. Open-mindedness helps you to learn and grow, strengthening your belief in yourself.
- Being honest. There is an honesty that comes with an open mind because being open-minded means admitting that you aren’t all-knowing. It means believing that whatever truth you find might always have more to it than you realize. This understanding creates an underlying sense of honesty that permeates the character of anyone who lives with an open mind.
For some, being open-minded is easy; it comes as effortlessly as breathing. For others, having an open mind can be more of a challenge, something that they have to work on and make an effort to obtain. Whether or not you consider yourself to be open-minded, you can certainly see from the list above that there are great benefits to viewing life with an open mind. It’s not always an easy thing to do (believe me, most people struggle with this), but the effort to think openly and embrace new ideas will be worth it when you’re able to take part in the benefits that come from opening your mind.
Open-mindedness is the single most important characteristic we have as human beings. To be open-minded means to remove your personal biases and prejudices from any situation and completely immerse yourself in another experience. But open-mindedness is a muscle. Since we have been indoctrinated since birth with everything we currently know, it involves practice. You must actively place yourself in another person’s head, allowing yourself to think their thoughts and see things from their point of view. And it may not come with age. Open-mindedness takes time, energy, and patience.