Open-mindedness is a quality that we hear about constantly. We see it in self-help books and we hear it while we’re in the midst of arguments. It’s easy to agree that being open minded is a good thing, but what exactly can it do for us? How can it enrich our lives?
When we’re set in our ways, it’s easy to ignore every other point of view. Our ignorance can even be unconscious—we may simply look at those who don’t live or think like we do and say “That’s their way of doing things.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly closes us off to new and interesting ideas.
All of this changes when we allow ourselves to be open minded. We learn new things and see new perspectives. When we see the world through more than one lens, we can understand humanity and even life itself much better than before.
Curiosity is underrated.
We spend our childhood curious about everything. During those first two decades or so, we’re building the arsenal of knowledge we need to live fulfilled lives. It’s sad that we often close ourselves off to learning once we’ve built our own way of life. Let yourself be open minded, and let new ideas flow from those around you. (Traveling is a great way to do this! Check out 7 Things to Do While Traveling That’ll Open Your Mind for ideas.) Even those you’re close with have their own ways of doing and thinking about things. Walk through life and try to understand the people you share it with.
Everything is more interesting.
When you’re open to learning, nothing is really boring anymore. Learning doesn’t stop when we become capable of self-reliance—in fact, there’s an infinite amount of information to soak up out there. (Learn how to embrace it in this post.) It’s easy to tell that those who lead the happiest lives are the ones who are interested in life. You won’t be happy if you’re always bored, or if you become jaded. As I’ve said before, it’s simply not worth it to trudge along with tunnel vision. Open your mind, and everything will become brighter, clearer, and more engaging.
You’ll be respected for it.
In this day and age, people tend not to confine themselves to one way of living. With more and more young people attending college and the Internet facilitating intelligent discourse, the benefits of being open minded are becoming easy to recognize. When you make the effort to understand others’ perspectives, you have the information you need to better formulate your own. The example of political discussion springs to mind right away—understanding those who oppose you will allow you to develop better-informed views. Of course, this principle can apply to any topic you feel strongly about. You’ll appear more intelligent, more considerate, and more rational. Plus, it’s never a bad thing to know where others are coming from.
It’ll be easy to discover new things.
Your parents probably told you, back when you were a kid, that trying new things was good. Often, there’s something within us that resists this—for example, even curious, adventurous kids tend to avoid trying new foods. Though it may not manifest in the same ways, adults experience the same aversion to novelty. Like it or not, if you let yourself become set in your ways, you’ll miss out on so much of what the world has to offer. Be open minded, and you’ll find that trying new things will come easily to you. You’ll discover things that you never otherwise would.
To be open minded is to live freely. You don’t close yourself off to anything. You’re always informed and knowledgeable. You embrace what life throws at you.
Open-mindedness is a fantastic step to take on the road to a happy life. Be open to new things: new people, new ideas, new experiences, new mindsets. They’re everywhere—all you need to do is learn to look for them.