As human beings, we are prone to mistakes – both in thought and in action. However, think back to the time when you were arguing about your point with someone and mid-argument, you realized that your side of the argument no longer makes sense! But you let your arrogant mind overpower you and you keep defending your wrong side of the argument even though you didn’t want to. Here’s why you should be open-minded: it shows that you accept the fact that humans are prone to errors. When you acknowledge your mistake, you train your brain to think better and clearer. This will make you happier too. When you accept your mistake and tell that to the person you were arguing with, it does not make you a lesser person, but rather a stronger individual who saw the error in his ways and was brave enough to admit his mistake. Only when we admit our mistakes, we correct them and hence we grow.
There’s another deeper reason to be open-minded. There’s this concept about confirmation bias. This concept basically means that when we have a certain belief, we will try and find evidence to prove it right and neglect every evidence to the contrary. For example: you believe there are much lesser women than men in your city, and you think about this when you go around the city. You will notice men everywhere and seldom any women. Suppose the statistics show an almost equal number of people belonging to both sexes in this city and they all travel to and fro on the streets; but your bias made you confirm what you know, not what actually is. Here, in reality, although there were both men and women on the streets, your brain only noticed what it believed to be true, hence confirming it’s own biased view.
Similarly, suppose you think your life is negative, useless, unhappy and depressing. You will look for past and present evidence to prove it. You will even hypothesize that you have a horrible future ahead of you. You will ignore all the happy times you had because your brain is trying to prove it’s own theory right. If you overcome this mental barrier and keep an open mind; learn the ability to think from the other side too, you will know that the reality is far from what your brain believes. Try to challenge yourself to think the opposite of what you are feeling now. What if the opposite of your belief were true? Think of every problem from different perspectives to search for creative solutions. Don’t fall prey to the confirmation bias.
Having an open-minded approach to life will help you learn more and absorb experiences deeply. You will learn that no person is completely wrong or completely right. Each person may be right from their own perspective. Whenever you feel anger for someone who insults you, think about this situation from their side. If you were in their shoes and had those experiences and circumstances in life, maybe you would have behaved the same way. Adopt that same thought process for every negative emotion you experience and see how your mind feels calmer. This skill – the ability to think from the other person’s perspective; experiencing life standing in their shoes- will take you far ahead in life. Develop this skill and you will reach a deeper understanding of human emotions and lead a happier life.