How open-minded are you?
Speaking for myself I can say that I have some fairly strongly-held opinions and wouldn’t consider myself all that open-minded.
At the same time, I’m a very curious person and I like to hear people’s ideas, beliefs and motivations.
This is the first question of all that starts all the rest.
It opens the doors to finding out more and to discovering what you don’t know.
Even if you’re fairly certain about your beliefs and interests, when you ask why you open the gates to finding out so much more.
You may not think you’re open-minded, but if you ask why about anything, you’re more open-minded than you think.
2) “Tell me more…”
This gives people the chance to tell you a lot more and is a very open-ended question.
If you say this then you are showing that you’re open to finding out more and aren’t as closed off as you might think.
No matter how firmly set your beliefs are, when you ask this question you give other people the opportunity to share more knowledge, open up to you and expand your mind.
You don’t have to agree, but you’re listening, and that’s more than a lot of folks.
3) “What do you mean?”
This is a question that asks for clarification and is also a sign of open-mindedness.
Instead of just smiling and nodding or pretending to understand, you ask what somebody actually means.
This allows you to at the very least experience new things and have something explained to you more fully.
It may be wrong, but at the very least you want to know how it’s wrong.
4) “What led you to that conclusion?”
This is another clarification question you can ask somebody that shows a fairly strong sense of open-mindedness.
It can also be something you ask yourself in a way that leads you to self-awareness and critical thinking.
Being curious about the conclusions you reach and about the conclusions reached by other people isn’t a sign of hostility.
It’s just you wanting to know more.
And wanting to know more about yourself, others and the world around you is actually very open-minded.
5) “Let’s find out together”
This is an open-minded statement that invites somebody else to come along on the discovery journey.
You’re not stating conclusions and you’re leaving at least some of what happens up to chance.
You’re willing to find out instead of jumping to foregone conclusions.
Far too many people judge a book by its cover or decide they know something before experiencing it.
You’re willing to walk the walk and collaborate, which shows you’re open-minded and willing to work on a team.
6) “I honestly don’t know”
When somebody admits this, they are actually leaving a lot of space for an interaction and relationship to grow.
Admitting that you just aren’t informed enough about a subject, situation or issue is a very open-minded thing to say.
You don’t need to always reach a conclusion.
You don’t need to know all your plans or be completely sure how you feel right now about yourself or your relationship.
Sometimes this acknowledgement that you’re just not sure is the biggest power move you can make.
That brings me to the next point…
7) “I haven’t made up my mind”
Not being sure what you believe isn’t necessarily indecisive or vague.
It can be the most genuine thing you say.
When you admit that you haven’t made up your mind, you allow an open space for others to also admit they haven’t made up their mind.
This doesn’t mean you don’t care. It doesn’t even mean you won’t make up your mind.
It just means that at this time you’re still in a receptive phase, a learning phase.
And that’s perfectly fine: in fact most growth and relationships start and grow in that phase.
8) “I’m still finding out where I belong”
There’s no shame in this. None at all.
In fact, I honestly believe that if more people were willing to admit that they don’t really know where they fit in life then we could all not fit in together.
Instead, far too many of us are willing to be socially conditioned and told where we fit in by industry, by partners, by friends and by marketing executives.
Seizing your own destiny often starts with being open-minded enough to admit that you do seek a tribe of some kind but you honestly are not sure right now what that tribe may consist of.
Or perhaps you’re on your way to building your own family, tribe or community!
9) “The world is a mystery”
This is another very open-minded statement.
Even if you hold strong beliefs, admitting that the world is in some ways an ongoing mystery is a very freeing statement.
You allow others the chance to share their perspectives and you allow yourself to exist to some extent in that mystery without having to define it.
Life is strange. The world can be strange! Sometimes you just have to marvel at the mystery of it all.
10) “On the other hand…”
This is a way of switching roles and playing devil’s advocate.
It means that you have an analytical mind and are willing and able to consider various points of view and contrasting opinions.
This can be very valuable, especially in professions like the law or counseling.
It shows that even if your mind is made up, you’re willing to look at opposing arguments and consider other points of view.
Which brings up the next point…
11) “When you look at it from their perspective…”
This willingness to look at something from another person or group’s perspective is both self-aware and open-minded.
You have your position and other people and collectives have their opinion and experience.
Considering the validity of other experiences that aren’t your own is deeply open-minded.
Even if you don’t fully understand, just thinking about how it might feel and look in someone else’s shoes, shows that you’re opening your mind beyond its typical capacity.
12) “Can you share more about your beliefs?”
When you invite somebody to share more about their beliefs it’s a very open-minded thing to do.
You’re not promising to convert or join their spiritual path or business or whatever their core beliefs are they want to discuss.
But you are giving them your ear.
And you’re showing that you have an interest in hearing more about what motivates them and why.
That’s very open-minded of you.
13) “I didn’t know that, can you tell me more?”
This is another great way to open yourself up to find out more.
When you show that you’re open to finding out more, you invite people to share with you whatever they want.
This is a great way to move forward with connecting to new people and finding your way in life.
People who love to share their interests and
14) “Is there a way I can help you?”
Taking care of your own needs is vital, and you should never be a doormat for anybody.
But it doesn’t hurt to ask.
When you ask how you can help somebody, you immediately offer value and show that you are at least open-minded to hear them out.
You take the focus off what you can get from them or what value you can extract, and you switch the focus immediately to what value you can add.
This is a huge shift, and many lives have been changed just by this one power move.
Always take care of your own needs, but don’t be afraid to be open-minded enough to ask somebody if they could use a hand and see if it’s doable.
15) “What are your plans for the future?”
When you ask somebody’s plans for the future, you’re opening the door for them to open up to you.
The most open-minded thing you can do is to allow people to be themselves and be heard.
In our soundbyte age this is sometimes seen as not having your voice heard, but the truth is that you’ll only be truly heard once you truly hear others.
And to do that requires listening and asking as many open-ended questions as possible.
Asking somebody about their plans is about as open-minded as you can get, and is a great way to get closer to someone in business and personally.