Most people, whether they recognize it or not, have a closed mind when it comes to many subjects. The Academy Award-winning film The Big Short (2015) quotes Mark Twain as having once said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Whether he actually said it or not is unknown, but does not detract from this quote’s wisdom.
Keeping an open mind when you’re trying to better your life or circumstances is essential, and even more so when you start learning about what has worked for successful people. Success leaves clues, and it would be foolish to disregard tried-and-true concepts and/or approaches based on an unfounded belief that “it just won’t work.” In short, the person standing in your way is usually you.
Being a contrarian has somehow become hardwired into most people. Successful people aren’t like that, though. In fact, they try to emulate other successful people—and you should, too. Whether it’s adopting a particular mindset or mirroring certain habits, we should all leave open the possibility that someone else’s approach might just be the right one for us, as well.
Similarly, I’ve heard it said that one’s perception of the problem often is the problem. It takes some effort to be open-minded in the midst of a disagreement or even in a spirited discussion. Listening to someone’s point of view—not merely waiting to speak again—really helps to appreciate what the other person is saying. Even if you still disagree in the end, actually listening intently to their position might help you to formulate a better response aimed at getting your own point across. Being open-minded is a sign of intelligence, patience, and respect; it is also a sign of maturity. People will respect you for it, and you’ll benefit from it in the long run.