The need to be right is often a stumbling block to learning and progress.
We all wish we were right all the time. Most of the time we believe we are right in our beliefs and thinking to the point of being blind to anything else. The fact that we could be wrong is not up for discussion. The need for introspection lost and stubbornness sets in.
In her article From closed mind to open mind, Anne-Laure Le Cunff unpacks the challenge we all face. If you consider yourself an open-minded person, you’ve inadvertently shown you’re closed-minded for not considering it. Our thinking gets shaped and formed by the people and experiences we witness around us daily. We can’t get all the correct signals to inform our impressions — we certainly could do with more perspective.
Having either a closed mindset or an open mindset is a choice.
We all fluctuate between the two, depending on the situation. A closed mindset is rooted in fear. Fear of being wrong, fear of the unknown or change. The fear of failure or embarrassment keeps us from being open to other possibilities. At its worst, closed-mindedness breeds discrimination. Homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism — are all extreme forms of a closed-mindset.
Having an open mind takes constant effort.
There are many areas in our life where we may be closed-minded. You might believe the culling of elephants is an evil practice while another person sees it as conservation. You might have an open mind about abortion and women’s rights but have a closed stance when discussing a sensitive issue with your parents.
According to Ray Dalio in his book Principles, 7 main signs may signal you’re closed-minded.
1. You don’t like your ideas being challenged. Closed-minded people get frustrated when others don’t agree with them.
2. You make more statements than asking questions. Open-minded people tend to ask a lot of questions.
3. You focus more on being understood than on understanding others. The tendency is to think that when someone disagrees with you, they are not understanding you.
4. You say, “that sounds fair, but…” Ray Dialo calls it, “A perfunctory gesture that allows people to hold their own opinion while convincing themselves that they are being open-minded.”
5. You prevent others from speaking. Closed-minded people like to own the conversation and not allow other people the chance to speak.
6. You have trouble holding two thoughts simultaneously in your mind. Open-minded people can hold several conflicting concepts in their minds and go back and forth between them.
7. You lack a deep sense of humility. Most folks would tell you they’re humble. But our ego gets in the way of our thinking. Humility only comes from experiencing failure, something open-minded people are familiar with. Closed-minded people avoid it at all costs.
Setting the record straight is not easy. It asks that we have an open mind and become vulnerable — with humility — to other perspectives.
If you don’t stand in the shoes of the other, how can you possibly try to set the record straight?
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
PS — A #MyFridayStory has been going out every Friday for 4-years this week and I’d like to thank you for the support and for reading. It’s been an honour and a pleasure and I’m so grateful for every person that’s ever read one.
Again, thanks for reading 🙏