6 Things Open-Minded People Do

  Open-Mind-Positively-Present

Recently I've been working on a (very exciting!) presentation on open-mindedness, and it occurred to me that it's been awhile since I've written about it here. (Though 7 Benefits of Being Open-Minded is still one of my most popular posts!) To me, this is one of the most important topics in our culture right now (so much so that I'm even thinking of writing a book about it!), so I'll probably be sharing a lot of that here, but first, let's start out with what it means to be open-minded.

The dictionary defines "open-minded" as "willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced," but to me it's so much more than that. Open-mindedness is like positivity: it requires self-knowledge, patience, and, depending on your culture and temperament, lots and lots of practice. It's much more complex that just being open to new ideas. Here are the six traits I consider essential for open-mindedness. 

OPEN-MINDED PEOPLE... 

  1. Consider different perspectives + beliefs

    Those with open minds are open to considering different points of view, perspectives, beliefs, ideas, etc. This might seem incredibly obvious, but it's trickier than you might think. Consider, for a moment, something you believe strongly in (a religion, the rights of a certain group of people, someone you love) and then think about the last time you openly thought about a different perspective. It's easier to do when encountering a new idea, but it's something truly open-minded people do even when it comes to deeply held beliefs.  

  2. Recognize + fight against desires for generality + closure

    As humans, we have strong desires to label things clearly so we can understand them. We want to put things into neat little boxes so that we can identify them. Likewise, we have a desire to get answers that are clear and final. We love closure. Those with open minds recognize that concepts like generalization and closure are alluring, but they aren't always useful. Open-minded people see these built in human desires and fight against them to seek truth rather than answers.  

  3. Accept + embrace the concept of ambivalence

    The concept of ambivalence, or having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone, isn't always an easy one for people to grasp. As stated in #2, we want answers and clarity. We want to know that there is a conclusion or at least an explanation. Open-minded people realize that this isn't always the case, that there are often many situations in which feelings will be mixed, in which they might hold two contradicting ideas about something. Rather than resist this, open-minded people accept it and strive to embrace it. 

  4. Understand thoughts are warped + distorted

    All the thoughts we think are distorted in some way. We are influenced not only by our moods, cultures, stress-levels, surroundings, etc., but we're also limited by what we can humanly observe with our five senses. Open-minded people seek to recognize the ways in which their own thoughts (or the thoughts of others) might be warped, and factor those distortions into account when making decisions, taking action, or aligning themselves with a belief. 

  5. View open-mindedness as a skill requiring practice

    Open-minded people recognize that open-mindedness, like any worthwhile skill, requires practice. It's something that comes more easily to some (depending on how they were raised, what culture they come from, what kind of personality they have, etc.), but regardless of what skill level they started with, open-minded people know that they need to keep practicing to keep their open-mindedness ability sharp.  

  6. Create opportunities to rethink assumptions

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, those with open minds give themselves opportunities to rethink assumptions and consider new perspectives. They recognize the limitations of their own minds and cultures, and they actively seek out sources that will help them explore new ways of thinking. They know that what they believed at one point might not still be true today, so they work to rethink about assumptions. In a world that makes it easy to surround yourself with what's familiar, open-minded people create opportunities for themselves to learn new ways of thinking and explore a variety of points of view. 

Staying open-minded is a skill, and a particularly challenging one to cultivate in an age when we're all being fed information, advertisements, articles, etc. that align with what we've already said we like. We're all in individual bubbles, tailored just for us, which is why we have to work even harder to keep our minds (and hearts!) open. 

If you consider yourself an open-minded person, what would you add to this list? If you struggle to keep an open mind, what would you like to learn more about to enhance that skill? Also, if you have any great stories about being (or struggling to be) open-minded, I'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

 

PPGTL-Footer Love-Self-Footer Find-Self-Footer


 

 


10 Tips for Being More Open (Video!)

 

YouTube-Open-Thumbnail

 

This week I revisited an old blog post — Unlock 10 Ways to Be More Open, the first post I ever even mentioned my name — to help my current self explore ways of opening up to others. Check it out to see my former self giving advice to my current self so my future self can be better at opening up! 

Watch me flip through it and chat briefly about each monthly spread here: 
 


Can't see the video? Click here to watch on YouTube

 

I learned a lot about being more open by revisiting my old blog post, and I hope my lessons inspire you to be more open, too, if, like me, it's not something that comes easily to you. Remember: it's a skill and, even if you're not at expert level right now, you can learn to be more open with practice and patience!

 


 

Check out my new print shop!
If you love my illustrations, you can get your very own prints in the print shop

Positively Present Print Shop

 


The Positively Present Print Shop!


Positively Present Prints

NOW OPEN!
Click here to check out the
Positively Present print shop!

 

Today Positively Present turns nine!

It's crazy to think I've been doing this for NINE years. While the messaging and concepts -- living a positively present life through optimism, awareness, and self-love -- have remained the same, so many things have changed, particularly in recent years. If you've been following for awhile, you've probably noticed the shift from shared art to photo/quote art, to hand-drawn illustrations.

In the past year, I've gotten really into illustrating (check out the latest on Instagram!), and, after many requests for prints, I finally discovered a way to make it happen! This week, I'm launching my first ever print shop, filled with my original illustrations. I've been working so hard on these for so long and to see them in print has been so amazing! 

 

Anxious Print
Shop the "Anxious" print here.



The prints -- available in a variety of sizes, mounted (my personal favorite), borderless or with borders, lustre paper or canvas -- are perfect for adding a bit of inspiration to your home, office, or school. 


Click here to check out the
Positively Present print shop!

 

I'm so excited to kick off the tenth year of Positively Present with this new addition to the brand. When I create illustrations for Instagram, it makes me so happy to hear from people around the world who enjoy and feel inspired by them. My hope with the print shop is that my illustrations can be a bit of inspiration in real life, something you can hang up and look at whenever you need a little boost of positivity! 

Positivity Print
Shop the "Rain" print here.


The prints work for all kinds of environments -- everything from a nursery to a workplace to your bedroom -- and I absolutely love how vibrant and colorful they are in person. I've tried a number of print shops, but the colors are often duller than they appear on the computer, but not with these! The beautiful, high-quality paper keeps the colors vibrant, which allows you to bring the exact illustrations you see on Instagram and here on Positively Present into your real life. (And don't we all need a bit more of that in this digital age? There's something wonderful about tangible, in-real-life art, isn't there?) 

 

Take Care Print
Shop the "Take Care" print here.


I'm not sure where in the world you get a cool frame like this, but doesn't this look adorable framed like that? (Speaking of frames, AC Moore has some great square ones in a variety of colors, which are perfect for framing the 8x8 size.) I know you're going to love them in person as much as I do! So go celebrate Positively Present's birthday and treat yourself to a vibrant illustration for your home or office! 


Click here to start shopping in the
Positively Present print shop!