Benefits Of Being Open Minded And Tolerant To Other People

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As we grow up, we are told to keep an open mind, as it is equated with growth and positivity. It helps people find opportunities, take risks, manage uncertainty, and understand other people. However, there are certain events in our lives which make us close-minded. People need constant reminders to be open-minded because it’s such a hard state to sustain. This happens because our brains are constantly instituting shortcuts that cause us to close our minds.

Previous studies have shown how keeping an open mind can benefit our overall well-being. One study found that an individual’s openness to experience changes what people see in the world and allows them to have certain visual perceptions. According to an article by QZ, a business news organization, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia conducted a personality test with 123 participants. They measured an individual’s openness to experience, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extroversion. They found that the first personality trait involves the willingness to try new things, imagination, and creativity. 

While some people think that being open-minded and engaged is tiring, it is not true. Being mindful and sensitive helps in alleviating stress and anxiety. As Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychology professor said, ‘The mistake most people make is to assume it’s stressful and exhausting—all this thinking. But what’s stressful is all the mindless negative evaluations we make and the worry that we’ll find problems and not be able to solve them.”

Additionally, being open-minded to our environment has a wide range of benefits. Just being in tune with the outside world and being more aware can make people charismatic, creative, productive, and alert to new and interesting opportunities. Trying to understand another person’s thoughts and point of view can change and free our minds in a way we would never have expected, even if we disagree with them. 

What it Means to Keep An Open Mind

Although it seems easy to be open-minded, it is one of the most difficult things to practice. Being open-minded means that you are open to everything and everyone that comes your way. With this, you are allowing yourself to embrace different interests, suggestions, views, opportunities, and possibilities. It is also one of the best tools that we can use every day. We observe, listen, feel, and comprehend every situation on our paths. 

According to an article by Very Well Mind, an online mental health resource, being open-minded is a necessary ability so people can think critically and rationally. It is difficult to see all the reasons which cause problems if we are not open to other ideas and perspectives. It is important to consider other people’s ideas and perspectives and step out of our comfort zones, especially because we are living in a highly polarized world. 

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There are several aspects to keeping an open mind. For instance, being open-minded is about believing that all of us have the right to express our beliefs and arguments even though we disagree sometimes. It also involves being active in searching and asking questions that challenge your beliefs. At the same time, the term is used to describe people who consider others’ opinions or try out new experiences.

However, it is important to understand that not all ideologies or beliefs need to be accepted, especially if it harms the oppressed and marginalized sectors. It would still be helpful to make an effort to understand the reasons or factors that might lead to people believing in those beliefs. As what Yale neurologist Dr. Steven Novella wrote in his book titled ‘The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe,’ ‘Being open-minded also means being open to the possibility that a claim is wrong. It doesn’t mean assuming every claim is true or refusing to ever conclude that something is simply false. If the evidence leads to the conclusion that a claim is false or a phenomenon does not exist, then a truly open-minded person accepts that conclusion… Open-mindedness works in both ways.’

Additionally, there are several characteristics of an open-minded person. This includes being curious to hear what others are thinking; being able to have their ideas challenged; having empathy for other people; being humble about their knowledge and expertise; believing others have a right to share their beliefs and thoughts, and others. 

Benefits of Being Open-Minded

Sometimes, being open-minded is difficult, especially if we already have a set of values and beliefs. However, people who have constantly practiced it have reaped a lot of rewarding benefits. According to an article by Positively Present, an online site which helps people live a positive life, being open-minded means that you’re allowing yourself to experience new thoughts and ideas. At the same time, it challenges your beliefs. 

It allows people to change how they look into the world. However, this doesn’t mean that you are required to change your current beliefs. This only gives you an option to think outside of your comfort zone. Keeping an open mind also means that you are making yourself vulnerable because you are admitting that you don’t know everything. It shows people that there are many possibilities that we can consider. This vulnerability can be both exhilarating and terrifying. 

Additionally, being open-minded means that you are allowing yourself to grow. Learning new things can be rewarding, especially if it is being used for your development. Everything that a person can learn in keeping an open mind can be used in strengthening who they are and what they believe in. 

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