Published On: Mon, May 7th, 2012

Are You Truly Open Minded?

I’ve always considered myself to be open minded. This year I realized that I was so wrong. I take a lot of pride in being independent, whether that means financially, physically or just being able to figure stuff out on my own. “If you can read, you can learn do anything on your own” – is one of my favorite quotes. I hardly ever sought out advice from friends and family. I’ve always assumed there was a “best” way to do things and that I knew what that was. Getting older didn’t help either because now I had more experience to draw on and had become more set in my ways.

So what was the turning point for me this year?

Being closed minded is a lot of work because everything has to fit into your “box” or way of doing things. My responsibilities this year grew to a point where doing it “my way” would have meant working 24/7. I got sick, stressed and developed insomnia and workaholic tendencies. I had no choice but to start trusting others to help in all areas of my work and personal life. The best part of it all, beyond getting more sleep, was that I learnt a TON. Everyone has a slightly different way of doing things and when all parties involved are accepting of this it is a beautiful thing. Things become so much more efficient, everyone is emotionally invested and the whole process becomes better. It can be so simple as taking a suggestion for a different route or letting someone else drive for a change. It can be as complicated as writing a software program with a different coding language.

Realizing the benefits of being open minded when trying to “get things done” I decided to turn over a new leaf and start trying out suggestions that people give me.

One was yoga. I am really inflexible and figured yoga is for Gumby people who can touch their toes. I had always flat out refused to try it for fear it wasn’t “me”. How wrong was I. I wish I had started years ago. My athleticism has improved dramatically, my stress levels are down and to my amazement I’m becoming flexible.

Another was letting someone else cut my hair. I know it sounds dumb but I didn’t trust anyone to cut my hair; not even a professional. It was shocking to me to find out that professionals are better than me at cutting my own hair. Why have I been living with sub optimal haircuts all these years? Because I was closed minded. I can’t count the number of times someone recommended that I go to a professional barber.

Here are some strategies I use to remain open minded:

Don’t get mad when your idea is rejected (even if it is the best thing since sliced bread). Give someone else a chance to shine.

Don’t make a big deal out of small things. Making it a big deal makes you less apt to take a risk and try something new. Just ask yourself “so what?” – “so what if it doesn’t work?”

Just let someone else figure it out for a change. Take a breather and shut up.

Try to do a few things you could have “never seen yourself doing”.

Overall – just lighten up :)

Bikram Choudhury

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