• Jacqui

Keeping an Open Mind?

Updated: Jul 18, 2018

As Carl Sagan quotes, “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” Good point. But do you find it easy to keep an open mind under pressure?

My husband recently shared an article, written by the Alumni Careers Manager from his old college. It was titled ‘The stressful moment when it is most difficult to be open-minded, is when it is most important to be open-minded’. Also a good point.

Why keep an open mind even when we’re up against it?

  • It helps us stay curious - learn by having our assumptions tested.

  • We become better listeners - an open mind helps suspend judgement to see more than our own view.

  • We can seek out the upside in a tricky situation - balancing out the cons with pros

  • We cope better with change - no one and no thing stays the same.

  • We can see more than one side in times of conflict – nothing is ever truly black and white.

If it's true that being open-minded is a counter-intuitive mental task, then it’s reasonable to assume that when we’re under pressure it can be even tougher to maintain.

Here are some tips from a Fast Company article ‘‘4 ways to train your brain to be open minded’’

  • Talk to a neutral party – get some objectivity about the situation

  • Re-frame negative thoughts – train your brain to seek the positive

  • Get out of your Comfort Zone – spend time with others you wouldn’t normally hang out with

  • Practice mindfulness meditation – learn to observe what’s going on with you. Everyone has time for a mindful minute or two in the day, no matter how pressured or busy they are.

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