Open-mindedness is the willingness to search actively for evidence against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evidence fairly when it is available. Being open-minded does not imply that one is indecisive, wishy-washy, or incapable of thinking for one’s self. After considering various alternatives, an open-minded person can take a firm stand on a position and act accordingly.
Life is not black and white. There are plenty of grey areas. Everyone has beliefs, opinions, and goals. Sometimes our opinions are so strong that nothing can make us change them. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but sometimes that can hinder your personal growth. There are times when accepting other people’s criticism is beneficial, but there are also times when it just brings you down. The great part about us having free will is that we can determine when we take someone’s advice or when not to take it. Also, we are blessed to be given the right to free speech and the freedom of expression. One thing that a lot of us forget is that other people also have these rights. We may not agree with others on everything, but we need to remember that they have just as much right to express themselves as you do no matter how “wrong” you think they are. So, the best thing that you can do is to listen to others with an open-mind. Maybe you can learn something.
When you start to be receptive of other people’s ideas, you get the chance to see where they are coming from. Once you get the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, you become less apt to pass judgement on others. This isn’t something that comes naturally, but it’s something that you have to train yourself to do. For some people it comes more naturally, but for others it may seem like a lost cause. Once you give yourself the ability to be receptive of other people’s ideas, you become more understanding of them and you will become more patient.
When you take the time to listen to others without going back on your beliefs or opinions, you are giving yourself the opportunity to explore a side of an issue that you never thought about before. You may not agree with what the other person has to say, but the different perspective can be refreshing at times. Listening to different views on certain topics is healthy because it encourages you to explore multiple sides of an issue instead of focusing on one part of the problem.
Once you become more receptive towards others, you will naturally emit positive energy and people will gravitate towards you. Unfortunately, negative energy and close-mindedness is more common than positive energy and open-mindedness. When you are able to assess situations with an open-mind, you won’t just jump to conclusions, but you will be able to realize that there are multiple reasons why someone is acting a certain way.
Which type of person would you rather be around, someone who goes around preaching his beliefs to anyone and everyone who will listen or someone who is willing to listen to what you have to say and will lend a helping hand whenever you need it? Chances are, most of you will say the second one. It’s not your place to tell anyone the difference between right and wrong.
When you become more open-minded, there are more possibilities for specific outcomes. For instance, if you’re looking for a job, you are restricting yourself if you only want to work in a certain area or only want to do one thing. Broaden your horizons and see what’s out there that you can do. There may be a company interested in you that you never thought of because of where they’re located, but if you don’t take the chance to check them out you might be missing out on a job that could help you grow as a person and financially.
As lawyers, we have to be open minded when handling matters for our clients. We have to look at all the options and situations, before we can advise correctly. Judges listen to the counsels of the opposite sides with an open mind, and only then pass judgment. In our profession, not being open minded is not an option.
This is just my opinion, and no matter what your stance is, it’s fine with me!