Wouldn’t the world be a happier, kinder, and more collaborative place if more people were open-minded?
I truly believe so. But this isn’t easy, especially now that we are living in highly polarized societies.
Most of us have strongly held opinions about many things that conversations can quickly turn tough and destructive.
I often struggle with this myself. It can be hard to look at something (or someone) with an unbiased and unfazed point of view.
The thing is, you and I may see the world in vastly different ways. But we don’t have to let our differences and disagreements divide us.
We can talk to each other better and have good conversations across different points of view.
That’s how we can create a future where people are more accepting of one another.
If you’re open to being more open-minded, then this article is for you!
Open-mindedness is a skill that everyone can practice and reinforce. And we can start by learning how other people do it!
Let’s explore how open-minded people approach the world differently.
1) They see the world through curious eyes
Think about the most curious people in your circle. What’s it like to be around them?
You see, an open-minded person is a breath of fresh air. They look at things with childlike eyes, which means they see the world with a sense of excitement and wonder.
They’re fun to be around because they always seek out new insights and experiences.
They’re the first ones to ask about the ‘Hows’ and the ‘Whys’ when they encounter something new.
That’s because they come from a place of not knowing everything. They embrace new ways of doing things, which allows them to learn more about their strengths.
And this curiosity does them well. Many studies have shown that curious people are happier and healthier.
2) They value creativity
I used to view creativity from an “either you have it or you don’t” perspective.
And when it comes to the spectrum of talent, I’ve never really considered myself creative.
It’s only now that I am learning that creativity is not so much about artistic ability and talent but more about critical thinking and open-mindedness.
Open-minded people are creative in the sense that they are open to innovative ideas and can think of novel solutions to problems.
Consider the world’s greatest minds. Most of them are creative geniuses who applied imagination to possibly any situation.
They thought of ways to address today’s most pressing problems by thinking outside the box and challenging conventional wisdom.
3) They embrace diversity in all its forms
We live in a world where more than 8 billion people exist together.
No one is the same as the other, which means you’ll inevitably face people of different religions, gender, cultures, beliefs, perspectives, etc.
What sets open-minded people apart from the rest is their ability to collaborate with people from all walks of life.
For open-minded people, diversity is a strength.
That’s why they respect people’s differences and celebrate how special and unique each person is.
And it doesn’t stop there: They accept and allow others to be as they are. That’s how they connect with different people.
They have so much love and understanding to share with others.
4) They don’t assume or judge
The harsh reality is, we all have biases that affect our thinking. When left unchecked, these biases can be harmful.
More often than not, our biases, deeply held beliefs, and opinions push us to ‘stereotype’ people.
We have this tendency to put people in boxes based on how they look or how they act.
Open-minded people never engage in this toxic behavior. They make a conscious effort to be aware of their biases and challenge them.
Instead of judging someone or making assumptions about how things work, open-minded people ask the right questions.
They strive to understand why people think, feel, and act the way they do.
5) They challenge their beliefs
Much of the division in our societies today is caused by differing opinions.
Sure, everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. The problem happens when we start to think and assert that our opinion is the only ‘right’ way of seeing things.
Open-minded people don’t waste time being defensive about their opinions or telling others why they’re ‘wrong.’
They’re very eager to broaden their perspectives and learn new ways of thinking.
They believe that problems can’t be solved by focusing on just one side of the argument and agreeing with only a group of people.
They rethink assumptions, proactively seek conflicting views, and get to know people who don’t live like them or think like them.
This brings me to my next point….
6) They’re willing to be wrong
Picture this: You’re having a heated discussion with someone and halfway through an argument, you realize that you’re wrong. What do you do?
Do you learn from the experience of the other person and admit that you’re wrong?
Or do you keep arguing anyway and hold on to a cherished belief even if there’s evidence of a plausible alternative?
Open-minded people genuinely believe they could be wrong. Instead of refuting the other person’s thoughts, they ask: What am I missing here?
And the best part? This method of thinking gets them closer to the truth.
They can examine outdated patterns, stories, and beliefs that no longer serve them and let go of them with ease and humility.
7) They’re open to feedback
Consider this: When was the last time someone gave you feedback? How did you react?
For many of us, giving and receiving feedback — whether it is positive or negative — can be very uncomfortable. It often brings up a lot of anxiety for everyone involved.
The thing is, receiving feedback and criticism requires a great amount of self-reflection — something that open-minded people always practice.
They always think, reflect, and consider other views. They see criticisms as opportunities to learn and expand their capabilities.
In other words: They are capable of cultivating a growth mindset. They are open to resetting their thoughts and looking at situations and themselves differently.
8) They empathize with other people
Open-minded people are naturally empathetic because they tap into their curiosities.
You see, empathy is more than just trying to think about what the other person might be feeling or going through at any moment.
It also involves learning about the other person’s worldview.
Open-minded people know that they don’t have to agree with the other person’s viewpoints, but these will help them realize why people act the way they do.
When they listen to someone, open-minded people don’t start with a preconceived idea of what the person should do or say.
That’s one of the many ways they genuinely connect with and care for other people.
9) They step out of their comfort zone
Open-minded people are not afraid to try things that other people might deem ‘crazy.’
Whether it’s talking to a stranger, starting a new hobby, or going somewhere they’ve never been, they’re open to doing something out of the ordinary.
They always find ways to get out of their bubbles to engage with people, communities, and cultures different from their own.
That’s how they gain a deeper appreciation for diversity and a more sophisticated lens for understanding the world.
And it gets better: They discover new things about themselves and make changes in their lives that lead to personal growth.
10) They don’t fear the unknown
Being comfortable with uncertainty is something that I’ve been working on for many years.
I tend to feel anxious when faced with ambiguity. Sometimes, it’s paralyzing to not know what will happen next.
But I’ve learned to be patient with myself and trust the journey, knowing that I won’t have everything figured out.
It helps that I’ve met so many open-minded people who showed me how to appreciate the unknown to a greater extent.
Here’s the deal: Life will inevitably throw us a curve ball at some point.
And for open-minded people, the key is to allow themselves to adjust to new situations, improvise, and take positive action.
11) They live in the present
Open-minded people find peace in the here and now.
They don’t get caught up in yesterday’s regrets or tomorrow’s worries.
They take time to focus on the world around them and everything that unfolds naturally. No matter where they are, they see the world for what it is.
This art of living in the present is easier said than done, especially when we’re all drawn to the fast-moving pace of everyday life.
That’s why open-minded people practice connecting to the present moment.
It empowers them to appreciate everything that happens — the good and the bad — with a calm mind and a courageous and hopeful heart.