When I was a child, I was quite opinionated and had trouble understanding why everyone didn’t think the way I thought. As I got older, I still had trouble understanding how people could think so differently, but I wasn’t quite as outspoken. It was a whole lot safer and life was more peaceful, I found, if I kept those strong opinions to myself. However, I still was convinced I was right and they were not.
Over the years I’ve learned there are multiple ways to look at things, and even if my opinion differs (strongly) with another, it is best to keep an open mind.
If you are anything like me, you might also find it tough to keep an open mind at times. After all, there’s a certain comfort in being set in your ways. However, opening your mind to the possibilities of new opportunities, knowledge, adventures, and even relationships will most definitely bring greater fulfillment and happiness to your life.
Find out why you want to open up your mind
In order to make it possible for you to embrace new ideas, it’s important to motivate yourself to try new things. Why do you want to become more open? Are you committed to it? Are you willing to take action to make it happen?
These are tough questions, but they are worth taking the time to answer. You must be sure that you are doing this for you – not to make anyone else happy or to meet someone’s expectations or approval. You have to genuinely be doing this for you and you alone. The other things are just a side benefit.
Decide where you want to explore and open
In what specific areas of your life do you want to open up to new ideas? A simple example would be if you find that you’re eating the same things all the time, perhaps you’d like to try some variation in your menu. You may be a little uncomfortable trying new things, because you’ve grown accustomed to the ease of what you’re doing right now. To get your mind used to the idea, try at least one new food or recipe each week. It’s a simple and realistic approach!
This seems like a really small step – and that is probably the best way to begin. You could start with one small area to open up to new ideas, and then gradually include more areas of your life. Starting small can help you ease into having an open mind, instead of making a sudden, drastic change in your life.
What about the ideas you don’t create yourself? Sometimes it’s not that big of a deal to make small changes so long as they are on your own terms. What is the best approach when it’s coming from somewhere else?
Consider these options
It’s easy to get riled up when someone challenges the way you think Fight the urge to react in anger when you hear differing opinions. Instead, take a moment to breathe, then remember that everyone will not hold the same opinions as you. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things their way.
Avoid putting up a wall and closing yourself off. Welcome new situations that are different from those you’re familiar with. When you’re exposed to differing opinions, look at them as learning experiences.
Get used to that place of comfortable discomfort. Make the effort to step out of your comfort zone often. If you have certain reservations about new situations, still take the step – just make it a baby step. Find something that is non-threatening. Go to new places you thought might be interesting and try new things that you have always wanted to try.
Be social and make new friends. You’ll find that you’re more likely to discover new opportunities to try new things when you remain social. Your friends might be trying new things that they can introduce you to as well. It often feels safer to try new things in a group. Also, when you make a new friend, they’ll likely have a unique set of interests for you to learn about to broaden your horizons.
Always keep asking questions. Sometimes the only way to learn more about a certain situation and keep an open mind is to ask a lot of questions to gain a better understanding. While you don’t want to intrude on someone’s personal life, if they’re willing to share information, you should be willing and eager to listen.
See for yourself. Go out and live the experience before you form opinions about something. Rather than blindly believing what someone else says, or assuming that you won’t like it, find out for yourself if you like something or not. This could be as simple as trying a new food, activity, or hobby.
Finally, as I always say, like attracts like. Be positive! When you have a positive attitude about new experiences, you can open yourself up to new discoveries every day. It’s a great way to keep your life fun and exciting.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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