What It Means To Have An Open Mind

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The US presidential election, which has been ongoing for several months now, got me thinking about Liberals and Conservatives.

Leaving politics aside, let’s consider the differences among liberal mindsets, conservative mindsets, and open-mindedness in this week’s article.

open_mind_Black-and-White

 Have you ever heard of an open-minded conservative?

Probably not.

When we think about the values that Conservatives hold on to, we’d probably think of the words obsolete, anachronistic, or religious.

On the other hand, the values that Liberals practice tend to be relevant in current culture, promotes freedom, or open-minded.

Yet, being open minded is extremely different from being liberal.

“Open” and “liberal”, though similar in concept, are different when applied as mindsets.

Here’s an analogy that differentiates open-mindedness, liberal-mindedness and conservative-mindedness:

claypotAn eating trend started spreading in Rosewood Secondary School. Instead of using metal utensils, more and more students are switching to personalised carbon fibre utensils.

Since the advent of this trend, research has been conducted to find out why this is happening, and have produced numerous articles for and against it. Yet, not every single student was willing to forgo metal utensils for personalised carbon fibre ones.

Soon, some students who have switched to using personalised carbon fibre utensils frowned upon students who refused to do so, calling them backward-thinking and unwilling to keep up with times. Vice versa, some of the other students who refused to follow the trend hurled nasty remarks at those who did, calling them excessive and self-gratifying.

Where students who have followed the trend are “liberal,” and students who have not are “conservative”, students who did not attack one another for their differences are considered “open minded”.

To be open-minded means to coexist with mindsets that conflict with yours, most of the time agreeing to disagree until proven otherwise.

That being said, here are seven golden rules to being open minded:

  1. Be Open To New Ideas. In the sense that one does not turn down every new idea because it seems unrealistic, but considers it thoroughly.perspective-light-mark-papke
  2. Welcome Changes. Very often changes are exactly the things that provide us with new opportunities for growth and lead us to new discoveries.
  3. Examine Every Situation From Different Angles. Being open-minded means to notice tiny details, take them into account and analyze an issue using various approaches.
  4. Argue less, Act More. If you are a strong believer of your values and opinions, just continue staying true to them through your actions.  Disagreements and personal attacks are not needed.
  5. Engage In Conversations. The best way to better understand a different point of view is through an honest and respectful dialogue with people who have different perspectives from yours.comment-bubbles
  6. Never Be Too Surprised. Know that the world is big, with dynamic cultures waiting to interact with one another.
  7. Self-ReflectIt’s always good to ask ourselves questions that are useful for our personal growth, such as:1. Am I using my time wisely?
    2. Am I employing a healthy perspective?
    3. Am I living true to myself?
    4. Am I thinking negative thoughts before I fall asleep?
    5. Am I letting matters that are out of my control stress me out?meditation

Credits to Max Lukominskyi for contributing the first three rules!

Read here for the 3 secrets every genius knows.

Final thoughts:

Open mindedness frees us from a lot of trouble, especially ourselves. Whether you are a Liberal, a Conservative, or anything else, just keep an open mind. Breathe, and everything will be alright.
Care to share your thoughts? Comment below or email me at serene.chao@webimp.com.sg.

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