Closed-mindedness will kill more opportunities than procrastination. It creeps into the mind of each of us over time.
“We have always done it this way.”
“I only use Microsoft products.”
“We don’t need a new vendor.”
We have heard them all, and I am willing to bet that we have also used them ourselves.
A closed mind can be attributed to many reasons. It can be the adage “don’t break what’s not broken”. It can be because we are too busy and simply do not want to hear or try new ideas. It can be because we are being lazy and just don’t want to put in the effort to explore new thinking.
If you are honest, I know you can come up with many more. The fact is, an open mind requires work![tweet_box design=”default”]An open mind requires work. Are you willing to put in the effort to learn new ideas?[/tweet_box]
We are living in extremely fast-changing times. A closed mind will prevent progress and can kill any momentum you or your organization has experienced. Change is not going to be slowing down. Changing your mindset to be open to new ideas and to new thinking is no longer a luxury.
What else is changing is where to learn about new ideas and whom to learn about them. The go-to “experts” of even five years ago are likely out-of-touch with current success requirements unless they are themselves opening their minds to new ideas.
“New tools, old rules” used to be an important focal point for me. The value of that thinking has been dwindling at a rapid rate. Old rules used to be reliable and consistent, yet today, many of those old rules are failing in delivering results. Not all mind you, many can still serve as a foundation if you keep an open mind.
Forbes featured a post “The 5 Secrets of Great People: How To Become Open-Minded” that listed the top 7 benefits of having an open mind:
- Letting go of control. When you open your mind, you free yourself from having to be in complete control of your thoughts. You allow yourself to experience new ideas and thoughts and you challenge the beliefs you currently have.
- Experiencing changes. Opening up your mind to new ideas allows you to the opportunity to change what you think and how you view the world. Now, this doesn’t mean you necessarily will change your beliefs—in fact, the process may actually reinforce your current beliefs more strongly–but thinking with an open mind gives you the option of creating positive change and stronger results.
- Making yourself vulnerable. One of the scariest (and greatest) things about seeing the world through an open mind is that you make yourself vulnerable. In agreeing to have an open-minded view of the world, you’re also admitting you don’t “know it all.” This vulnerability can be both terrifying and exhilarating.
- Making mistakes. Making mistakes doesn’t seem like it would be much of a benefit, but I (and other Forbes contributors) have continually made the case that it is. When you allow yourself to see things from others’ perspectives, you gain the opportunity to “fail up”.
- Strengthening yourself. Open-mindedness provides a platform to build upon, piling one idea on top of another. Everything you experience collectively “adds up,” strengthening the person you are and what you believe in. It’s very hard to build on experiences without an open mind.
- Gaining confidence. When you live with an open mind, you have a strong sense of self. You are not confined by your own beliefs, nor the beliefs of others.
- Being honest. Being open-minded means being honest enough to admit that you aren’t all-knowing. This understanding creates an underlying sense of authenticity that permeates the character of any person who lives with an open mind.
If you are in a leadership or management position, you are even more vulnerable to disappointment with a closed mind. Your team will start to realize your approach is static, that you are not paying attention to the industry, not listening to the needs of your customers, and not open to hear their opinions. Not a strong position to lead anyone.
Look in the mirror. Ask yourself hard questions about your approach. Ask friends and family – they will tell you the truth if you have an open mind.
There is too much opportunity in business right now to ignore something that you can control. Open your mind to new ideas, new thinking and new sources of information. Question the experts and guru’s that you have been following out of habit.
Your career, your customers, and your pocketbook will all benefit.