The other day I had a thought. I thought to myself, “Man I love open-mindedness. It’s so damn sexy and it get’s me excited.”
Immediately I was embarrassed with myself. To find a personality trait to be sexy instead of the physical features is a little weird.
I’m a little weird so that’s cool.
What created this somewhat interesting thought in my mind was an interaction with a young lady. I was chatting with her about a business opportunity. I was painting the blue sky vision I had for what could create a seriously cool business.
Normally people want to shut down your ideas if they’re too “out there.”
She didn’t. This young lady was open-minded.
Rather than think I was a madman on some endless rant, she kept an open mind. She gave me the benefit of the doubt and listened.
While she may not have agreed with the idea I was presenting, she didn’t shut it down like so many would have. She refused to allow her assumptions to take over.
What was also cool was that she brought a positive mindset to the conversation. Instead of thinking the worst, she assumed the best until proven otherwise.
The hack I’ve seen work so well in business and in life is this:
It’s the one hack that makes you appear different to everybody else, on another level, portrays you as empathetic, and most of all, it makes you an optimist by default.
This hack of open-mindedness is used in sales all the time. When you go to buy a new TV from the local store, the salesman rarely says “I can’t do that price.”
The salesman will always say “Let me see what I can do.”
There’s no guarantee with this statement. What you get instead is a promise of open-mindedness.
Guaranteed that if the salesperson that ends up selling you the TV has the trait of open-mindedness, you’ll want to deal with them again.
Open-mindedness is sexy. Here’s why:
Optimism and open-mindedness are linked.
“Open-mindedness overrides your reptilian brain that wants to shut down everybody else and assume the worst. Open-mindedness is a promise to yourself that you’ll start from a position of seeing the best”
What’s been a real game-changer for me is that when I commit to being open-minded, I don’t rush to any particular judgment too quickly. I reserve judgment until the end which means I end up making a more informed decision. Informed decisions lead to better results.
Options stem from open-mindedness.
Having an open-minded approach to life creates options. It’s a carefree way to live and it forces you to have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. When you’re dealing with people and they know that you want to give them options, they feel good. They feel like you care.
Knowing that the path forward is flexible meets our human needs of both certainty, uncertainty and significance. That’s why when you meet someone who is open-minded like I did, you feel drawn to them.
Your assumptions matter.
Jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story puts you in a weak position. Open-minded people slap assumptions in the face. When you assume, you tell us all that you know everything. You put yourself in an imaginary elitist class that has figured out the answer to every human problem.
What you’ll learn is that no one has all the answers.
“The people you think are crazy successful have just as many problems as you. The only difference is they’re committed to working them out and they know that problems are going to be a part of life forever”
The opposite of being open-minded is to have an out of control ego. Your ego makes you close-minded and you fail to see what’s right in front of you.
Listening is at the core.
Being listened to feels good. We’re naturally all drawn to people that listen to us. You can’t be open-minded without hearing the full story. Being open-minded is a commitment to hear people out and understand them.
If Elon Musk hadn’t spent time with people who’d worked on the NASA space program, then he may have never believed it was possible to create Space X and do it better.
“When we listen without applying the harsh filter of judgment straight away, we hear chunks of information that otherwise would have appeared as white noise that carried no meaning”
You’ll find these sexy creatures are positive.
That’s right. Open-minded people are positive by default because they don’t let their human programming of finding the negative in everything take over. You have to be positive to be open-minded. Many of us jump at shadows because rather than be open-minded, we look for the problem or threat first.
We can become so focused on the threat that we become blind to the fact that most things that appear to our mind to be dangerous are in fact not.
There are no absolutes.
Nothing is 100% one way. There’s always an outlier. There’s always an exception to the rule. In fact, there are no rules. Rules are made up by people who are closed-minded. What has been done before doesn’t have to be done the same way forever.
As a human race, we can’t move forward unless we throw away the rules. Rules lead us down the same path which could change, adapt, or even fall apart in the future. Nothing is for certain. No one has all the answers.
Challenge your own thinking.
Delay casting judgment.
Realize you’re not as good as you think you are.
Listen to what people have to say.
If you do these things, then people will be attracted to whatever it is that you want to do in life. You can’t build Rome all by yourself. You need people and people need you to be open-minded.
That’s a pretty good trade I reckon.