Sometimes we talk like we know everything, but in reality, we know so little. We have beliefs that were put into us from an early age and we don’t really know exactly where they came from. Those beliefs that are now ours came from people who had those beliefs as well. What makes their beliefs right though?
How do we know that our principles are the correct ones?
We have the option in this world to pick and choose what we want to believe in. I think that sometimes we get too spoiled with this concept and before we know it we become “know it all’s.” How can you expect someone to listen to what you’re saying when you won’t even take the time to think about what they’re saying. In a sense this is good though, being able to have different beliefs than other people is what makes us unique.
How well do we really know ourselves? How well do we really know the people we consider to be close to us? Being able to have an open mind in most situations would be ideal for everyone. This ability will allow you to make more friends and learn more about the work from a different point of view. This can lead to a question that I’m always asking myself which is “how do I become influenced?” It’s a deeper question than you might think it is. Take a step back and ask yourself the same question.
The truth is that we hear people that we have respect for and have an idea of what they’re talking about. Isn’t it interesting how some statements just sound correct? There’s no written rule that says that this person knows exactly what they’re talking about. Certain certificates may give somebody the credibility to know a lot about a subject but the information they learned is only correct to a certain number of people.
The point that I am trying to make here is that no matter where you are in life, having an open mind can give you some of the keys to the world’s largest secrets, you’re just going to have to be able to listen. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to have an open mind here are a few tips and tricks that will get you started.
1. Read All Kinds of Books
Books are the gateway to knowledge, they’re easier to look at as a bunch of paper pages piled up but they’re actually filled with knowledge and life hacks. How often do you read? This can be anything, we read more than we think we do. We read directions when going to a party or we read the menu weekly of our favorite fast-food restaurant.
Once you understand that reading is a natural part of life, then you can take this skill and transfer it over to books. There are more than enough ways in today’s day and age to read a book. You can go the classic way (which is my personal favorite) where you have a physical copy of the novel. There are ebooks that allow you to read a novel on your mobile device which seems to be more convenient and efficient for most people.
Lastly, there are audiobooks where you don’t even have to do the job of reading you can just follow along to the voice of the author or narrator. Finding titles that you find interesting is a great way to pick books, once you start getting comfortable with the habit of reading, then you can start picking books on different topics that will expose you to new ways of thinking. Take on the concept of new ideas through reading and you will naturally start having an open mind.
2. Make An Effort to Talk to Someone New Each Day
This step will definitely get you out of your comfort zone and will cause you to make a change in how you view things. Walk up to someone new, that you have never met before and try to make conversation. I know this seems very intimidating but what you will soon come to find out is that most people are just as shy as you.
The first person is always the hardest, once you get that conversation over with then the rest will become easier. There’s no time limit on the conversation, just being able to hear that person talk and look at you is all you need to experience. What this does is it gives you the ability to listen and observe how someone responds to what you have to say.
You will learn how to approach different people and how to adjust in awkward situations, you will have more empathy for how that person is feeling during that conversation. A bonus tip that you will learn from this process as well is that you will become more confident in your daily conversations.
3. Learn More About What Your Friends Are Into
Another method that has an easier approach than the last is to begin learning about what things your friends are into. Now, I don’t mean the things that you are both into, I mean the weird things that they’re always doing but never talk about. Ok maybe, it doesn't have to as weird as it made it sound but find something that they are into that is never brought up in conversation between you guys.
One of my closest friends that I’ve known for many years has always been into different hairstyles. He’s always talking about hair but I just never found it that interesting. So, one day I asked him about what’s the difference between braided hair and dreaded hair. He lit up and the conversation went from a quick check-up to a three-hour conversation about the history of hair and what motivated him to start growing his out. This caused me to do some more research on my own and learn more about different hairstyles and how people take care of them.
Do this with one of your friends and you will see a different side to them that you would’ve never thought they had.
4. Instead of saying “No,” Ask Why
Have you ever heard someone tell you that you should learn how to say “no.” What’s interesting to me is that I think everyone knows when to say no but they never actually say it. It’s easier to say ‘I don’t know about that,” or “That doesn’t sound right?.”
It’s funny how we can say yes to so many things when offered something of value but we are quick to say no when somebody is trying to tell us something that is valuable to them. So, instead of quickly closing your ears and not listen to what someone has to tell you, be more open-minded and ask them why they think what they think. Don’t be aggressive when asking but be genuinely curious and willing to learn. Just like that, your respect for that other person will go up.
Think of the many successors that you’ve heard of and how they became successful. People didn’t want to listen to them, they simply thought that their ideas were crazy. Look at Walt Disney, “Walt Disney’s many ideas including Mickey Mouse were initially badly rejected. Disney was told a giant mouse would “frighten women.” Walt Disney also suffered several financial blows. But eventually, Disney’s resilience paid off, and the Walt Disney Company turned out to be a huge success (https://www.lifehack.org/290675/10-successful-people-whose-ideas-were-thought-ridiculous-the-beginning-2).”
Open your ears and listen to what people have to say, question their theories in a respectful way and they may become the smartest person you’ve ever met.
5. Study One Different Person of Interest Each Week
If you already have a catalog of people who you look up to or admire then this should be easy. You can start with somebody from ancient history or somebody from more modern times. Doing research on how this person became successful will show you a different path than yours. The work ethic from somebody from a long time ago may have you surprised.
People from decades ago didn’t have computers like us or super-fast internet to help them with their journey. You’ll start to become more curious about how they got to where they were. Have fun with the process of doing this, the whole idea of this technique is to realize how different people are from you. Some of these successful people will have different beliefs than you and may totally change what you thought you already knew.
There are are many celebrities who grew up in very hard circumstances, how did they make it out of hardship? Mixing it up each week will keep you entertained and more open-minded to the discovery of information you'll learn from these people.
Who’s to say that you can’t become more open-minded? We have much to learn from people and their ideas. What if you could understand what people are saying all of the time? That would be no fun, take advantage of the ability to ask questions. Never stop learning while you can, the more you know the more you will be able to figure out this game we call “life.” I leave my readers with a quote from Playwright George Bernard Shaw that says
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”