Open mind, open world
October 4, 2013
Having an open mind is essential to a productive society
I want to talk about a deceptively simple topic: open-mindedness. How hard can it possibly be to be open to the ideas and opinions of others? For some it is a shockingly difficult concept to grasp. Such failures to accept others and maintain an open-minded position have led to wars and genocides, ravaging the world for centuries, if not millenniums. These events are utterly preventable if people could just find it within themselves to attempt an understanding and construct a compromise. Open-mindedness is paramount with regard to the formation of compromises. It allows one person to see the perceptions of another, understand them and, hopefully, come to a suitable solution to a problem. Compromise is successful diplomacy in its simplest sense and diplomacy is not limited to relations between countries, it can be applied to nearly every aspect of life.
Another benefit of open-mindedness is the ability to come up with new and innovative avenues to solutions. Take, for example, a history problem, the wording of the question is unusual and you just cannot seem to come up with an answer that suits your needs. Now maybe you have a friend in a different major or area of study and you ask for their aid. They would come at the question with a different frame of mind and potentially the two of you could come to a conclusion that neither of you would have ever come up with alone. Such is a benefit of a willingness to listen to others, hear their opinions, understand them and use them to improve your own understanding. For how else do we learn but by listening to the opinions and thoughts of others?
Possessing an open-mind is one of the keys to a happy and fulfilled life. An open mind is priceless, and without one, many easily fixable things can go wrong and ruin a moment or a life. Lord Thomas Dewar once said that “Minds are like parachutes: they only function when open.” I believe we should all take heed of this quote and keep our minds open. There was a time when we were all unbiased listeners, sponges willing to soak up any snippet of information that was made available. That time was our childhood; the time when questions were inexhaustible and a passion to learn drove nearly all of our desires. We need to return to that mindset. With open-mindedness to learning and questioning and offering and receiving we have a grand opportunity to reach new heights. To miss out on such a benefit of life would be great folly.