The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Importance of Keeping an Open Mind

Taken from Unsplash

I’m sure that most people have feared the dark at some point in their life. The idea that something may be lurking within the shadows, or just the fear of being unable to see your surroundings is something that many have experienced. A lot of that fear mainly comes from not knowing what’s there, the idea that anything could be hiding within the dark, cavernous depths of your bedroom, can be terrifying.

However, what if I were to tell you, rather than fearing what you cannot see, you were to embrace it?

What if you were to replace that fear of the unknown, with a curiosity of it? It may seem silly, but replacing the presumption that everything you do not understand, is automatically a threat, with intrigue, curiosity and willingness to embrace new, unknown things, is not only good for self-improvement, it also aids in making the world a more accepting place.

The importance of having an open mind should not be understated. It’s what allows people to embrace new challenges, become more accepting, and open to learning new things. To be open minded is to be open to considering new ideas and opinions, it means that, when you encounter something new that you do not understand, rather than recoiling in fear, you attempt to learn about it.

This is in contrast with close-mindedness, which is to be unwilling to accept new things, and to automatically fear and reject the unknown.

This way of thinking is terrible for a multitude of reasons.

The main one being that close-mindedness has been the cause of so much prejudice and hatred in the world. When you perceive unknown things as sinister or scary, you only end up hurting others. By rejecting things that you do not know, you are by extension, rejecting other people, which makes those you choose to reject feel unwanted, and hated, which is a feeling that no one should be subjected to for simply expressing themselves. Close mindedness only creates prejudice, which only divides and hurts people.

So, what does keeping an open mind entail?

When something is new and unfamiliar to you, whether it be a new idea or opinion, do not instantly reject it. Instead, acknowledge that someone might know something you do not, and attempt to learn from it. Do some research about whatever the new topic is, attempt to understand it. You’ll find that, when you do this, your understanding of the world around you grows, and you’re therefore, able to be more accepting and modest as a result. Being open-minded gives you the ability to have new experiences, learn and generally become a more vibrant person through these new ideas and opportunities.

Whilst adjusting your mindset may be hard, it’s not impossible. Much like fearing the dark, it takes time to break out of that habit, and adjust. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though, adjusting your mindset takes effort, and resilience. It may initially be difficult to acknowledge things you aren’t used to, but the reward is a more modest and accepting version of you, which not only increases your understanding and empathy of others, it makes people around you feel more welcome and loved.

The more people choose to open their mind to new ideas, experiences, and opinions, the more our world benefits. We could make the world a more empathetic and accepting place to live in, through learning about other people’s perspectives, opening ourselves to new experiences and respecting other’s inputs. Although that’s just wishful thinking to want the entire world to be more open minded, you can make a difference by making these changes within communities. Whether it’s your family,

friend group, or neighborhood, if you begin to be a more open minded individual, it could encourage those around you to do the same.

So next time you find yourself afraid of the unknown, let it be an opportunity for curiosity rather than fear. The Earth is an eclectic and expansive place with many different personalities and cultures, and so when you come across something that you’re unaware of, attempt to learn about it. Whether it’s an opinion, or a new idea, learn from it, acknowledge it, and accept it. By opening our minds, we help to make the world a more accepting, empathetic, and interesting place to live.

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