A willingness to consider new and different. i.e. ideas, people, change.
Why do We Need to be Intentional about Open-Mindedness?
Since the dawning of human kind, our brains and minds have developed to quickly judge and in many ways, be closed i.e. Is this life or death? Will I live or die? Is this friend or foe? Will I succeed or fail? Will I like or dislike?
Not all judgments are bad. The concern is when we are judging, particularly prematurely, and are unwilling to consider anything new and different. Imagine the damage to teams, organizations and the world if we are always judging and closed to new and different?
Four Essentials to Being Open-Minded
There are four essentials to auditing and opening our minds.
- Essential #1 – Objectivity: This is about considering what are the facts versus our beliefs with our points of view? This is so important, because our brains are full of stories, and like the world, our brains have both nonfiction and fiction stories. Without conscious attention, our brains and minds don’t differentiate between the nonfiction and fiction stories when we are interpreting and judging. This is why we need to intentionally consider what are the facts – being verifiable truths – versus our beliefs – being trust or confidence that we have in someone or something.
- Essential #2 – Probe: There are two points to probe. First, challenge, which is all about challenging our own point of view and our own stories. Second, empathize, is all about getting out of the pages of our own life stories and get into the pages of someone else’s story to understand what’s on their pages in the stories of their minds.
- Essential #3 – Expand: This is all about taking probe to the next level, where we not only challenge our own stories and empathize with other peoples stories, but we also check out other books. This is where we get curious, get new experiences and ask questions. We get a more informed point of view. There is a big difference between a point of view and an informed point of view.
- Notice #4 – Notice: This is where we put it all together. Our information from Essential #1 Objectivity, Essential #2 Probe and Essential #3 Expand and Notice what new understanding that we have. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we have changed our point of view or mind. Again, this is about what new understanding that we might have through the essentials of being objective, probing, and expanding. This is the truest test of being open-minded – new understanding. Almost always, the outcome of being open-minded, involves new understanding.
How do you help someone who is Closed-Minded?
How do you help someone is not being open-minded? Someone who is always closed-minded? And how do you help someone, if that someone is yourself? The answer – The Four Essentials to Being Intentionally Open-Minded: Objectivity, Probe, Expand and Notice.
What are the Benefits of Being Open-Minded
The Four Essentials provide us with the opportunity to put the brakes on our default, automatic, cruise control mode of judging and being closed-minded. It provides the opportunity for us to consider new and different. And by considering new and different, it gives us the opportunity to gain some new understanding and thus to be more open-minded. Again, new understanding is almost always the end result and testimony to being open-minded.
Activity for Increasing Openness to Diverse Perspectives, Opinions and Points of View
Next, reflect on yourself and reflect on your team and explore areas where you might be able to be more open-minded. Then go through the Four Essentials to see what new understanding that you might achieve.