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Opinion and Editorial

It pays to keep an open mind

Shilpa Bhasin Mehra
Filed on September 13, 2020


Unfortunately, negative energy and close-mindedness is more common than positive energy and open-mindedness

Open-mindedness is the willingness to search actively for evidence against one's favoured beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly when it is available. Being open-minded does not imply that one is indecisive, wishy-washy, or incapable of thinking for self. After considering various alternatives, an open-minded person can take a firm stand on a position and act accordingly.
Life is not black and white. There are plenty of grey areas. Everyone has beliefs, opinions, and goals. Sometimes our opinions are so strong that nothing can make us change them. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but sometimes that can also hinder our personal growth. There are times when accepting other people's criticism is beneficial, but there are also times when it just brings you down. The great part about us having free will is that we can determine when we take someone's advice or when not to take it. We are blessed to be given the right to free speech and the freedom of expression. One thing that a lot of us forget is that other people also have these rights. We may not agree with others on everything, but we need to remember that they have just as much right to express themselves as we do no matter how 'wrong' we think they are. So, the best thing that we can do is to listen to others with an open-mind. Maybe we can learn something.
When we start to be receptive of other people's ideas, you get the chance to see where they are coming from. Once you get the ability to put yourself in other people's shoes, you become less apt to pass judgement on others. This isn't something that comes naturally, but it's something that you have to train yourself to do. For some people it comes more naturally, but for others it may seem like a lost cause. Once you give yourself the ability to be receptive of other people's ideas, you become more understanding of them and you will become more patient.
When you take the time to listen to others without going back on your beliefs or opinions, you are giving yourself the opportunity to explore a side of an issue that you never thought about before.
Once you become more receptive towards others, you will naturally emit positive energy and people will gravitate towards you. Unfortunately, negative energy and close-mindedness is more common than positive energy and open-mindedness. When you are able to assess situations with an open-mind, you won't just jump to conclusions, but you will be able to realise that there are multiple reasons why someone is acting a certain way.
Which type of person would you rather be, someone who goes around preaching his beliefs to anyone and everyone who will listen or someone who is willing to listen to what you have to say and will lend a helping hand whenever you need it? Chances are, most of you will say the second one. It's not your place to tell anyone the difference between right and wrong.
When you become more open-minded, there are more possibilities for specific outcomes. For instance, if you're looking for a job, you are restricting yourself if you only want to work in a certain area or only want to do one thing. Broaden your horizons and see what's out there that you can do. There may be a company interested in you that you never thought of because of where they're located, but if you don't take the chance to check them out you might be missing out on a job that could help you grow as personally and financially.
No time has been more unprecedented and forcing us to innovate at a rapid speed. Covid has made learning in schools and colleges online, business meeting on video conferences, retail has been converted to e-commerce. Being open minded is not an option any longer. Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest has changed to survival of the most adaptive. Open mindedness is the only way forward.
Shilpa Bhasin Mehra is a legal consultant based in Dubai and the founder of Legal Connect

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