Choosing An Open Mind | #MyFridayStory №327

Frans Nel
3 min readApr 5, 2024
Image | Pexels

If there’s one aspect of my character I’d want to influence, it would be to become more open-minded.

Progress often requires someone to change their mind about a long-held, false belief. Our world has become increasingly polarised, and we are more suspicious of one another than ever before. We are being driven further apart, with each side believing they hold the right answers. What was once a small crevice is now a widening canyon, with no side willing to back down. Wherever compromise and tolerance are replaced by hatred and revenge, closed minds are to blame.

It’s true that unless we learn to re-evaluate our long-held, incorrect or ill-informed beliefs, humanity won’t make meaningful progress. How can we if we don’t have a level playing field? A starting point where we can agree to disagree? To reach such a place, each side must be willing to reconsider their perspective before any meaningful dialogue can begin.

Being prepared to admit when you’re wrong is the first step towards having an open mind.

Leaders who rule through fear and authority, rather than cooperation and open-mindedness, aim to stifle dissent, killing creativity and innovation in the process. Embracing diversity in all spheres gives any project, company, or country a greater chance of success. But it’s only in an inclusive society that celebrates our differences and allows them to unite us rather than divide us, that real progress can be made.

Imagine initiating a campaign of reconciliation through finding common ground in South Africa. It would have to start at every level and infiltrate every aspect of society — from preschools to large corporations. There should be festivals, gatherings, and organized events to promote the message, accompanied by an advertising campaign across relevant media. Educational programs and open dialogue sessions could further drive the narrative.

If such an effort had begun 30 years ago, how far might we have come in addressing our cultural differences? Apartheid forcibly kept us apart for 46 years, until a referendum in 1992 saw white South Africans overwhelmingly vote to abolish the system. Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 paved the way for his election as our first democratic president in 1994, with the ANC winning 62% of the vote that year, and steadily declining support in the following elections.

Long-held beliefs have often been perpetuated by politicians peddling lies to an unsuspecting public. This kind of dominant thinking can only take hold in a closed-minded society — one that has not been allowed to discover the beauty in each other through sensible, structured dialogue. When the goal is a mutually beneficial outcome, and there is a willingness to learn and consider new perspectives, progress is inevitable.

Have you ever challenged a strongly held belief of your own? Felt the humility required to admit you were wrong, and the sting of guilt for the pain it may have caused others? How hard is it to change, even after recognizing the belief was flawed? Might other firmly held perceptions use a wider, clearer view?

Open-mindedness requires humility and courage. Stepping out of your comfort zone to consider alternative ideas isn’t easy, but it’s essential for any meaningful progress to occur. I hope and pray we can move the needle this coming May 29, 2024. I feel inspired by our diverse rainbow people and believe that good will overcome evil.

Have a great weekend and please remember to be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading. 🙏

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