To truly have an open mind, we need to see past physical appearances and practice communicating with others whom we initially might not believe we share any common interests. Different people, all genders, race, job positions, income classes. Using differences to close your mind off to others is a way to lift yourself up by putting others down. We all want the same things: respect, love, and justice, and to live life on our terms without judgment.
The greatest joy for me is to go any place and make friends with any person by being kind and respecting who they are. It could be a gas station attendant, waitress, CPA, tow truck driver, street sweeper, anyone. We all are unique and all are rich in experiences. Why not be a vampire and suck in others’ experiences and see if they apply to your life, your success? The more people you can relate with, the more information you will gain through osmosis which, in turn, will help you grow personally, financially, educationally, and corporately. You learn from books —well why can’t you learn from the experiences of the millions of people around you, whether they are rich or poor, esteemed by society or not.
Let’s be clear: Having an open mind and kicking “judgmentalism” to the curb doesn’t mean that you have to like everyone. You won’t. What you are achieving here is the realization that you are accurately assessing current situations, you are evaluating them on their own, without bringing the mental baggage of projected outcomes into play. There is another huge benefit to approaching people with an open mind. As stated before, having an open mind allows you to tell another person how their behavior affects you, but now you realize that you cannot change them. You realize that perhaps they are caught in their own projected outcomes, and they haven’t broken free. Rather than waste energy in the “rat hole,” you can set your own boundaries. You have control of this — not of the actions and words of others.
Bottom line is we cannot change people; we can only discuss how their behavior affects us. From there, we need to understand that it is up to that person to modify or make changes if they are willing for the sake of our friendship. After that discussion of boundaries, anything negative directed at you from that person should be viewed as not being about you. If you take it personally and allow that person to negatively affect you, it will close your mind and bring a reactionary stance. This is what we want to avoid. Also, taking things personally will affect your openness to be more positive with other people and activities. Closed-mindedness can lead to assumptions versus reality and can drag you way out to sea. Assuming is only going to get you as far as what you assume, then you come to a screeching halt. A life raft can drift without a motor, but who knows where it will end up.
• Assuming that your message and or conversation is being understood by another is always a risk. Don’t assume — ask the person to comment on what you said.
• Assuming that someone agrees with you and shares your philosophy can be disastrous. In the future you could be left wondering why they took a different path than the one you presented.
• Someone agreeing with your words could mean nothing. They might be thinking about what to have for dinner and are not absorbing any of your communication.
• Assuming what the other person is thinking is like trying to rationalize with a fish. Don’t assume, ask. Talk less and ask open-ended questions.
When I first went out to get a job, an interviewer assumed I was not prepared to take on the job because I was too quiet. After the interview, I called him back and in a diplomatic and forceful way attempted to increase my interview quotient. He did not ask questions and, therefore, I knew that he was not listening. He had assumed and reached a conclusion without an open mind. Within six months I was a top rep at his competitor, and his hiring days were over. Don’t be that guy. Ask questions and find reality before you assume.
“The Power of Breaking Fear”
“Tim S. Marshall has gone out of his way to arm his readers with a seemingly endless number of vitality strategies that are easy to incorporate into one’s daily life. The Power of Breaking Fear belongs on every bookshelf.”
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– Independent Press Award (IPA)
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