Do you know any closed minded people? Perhaps you live with them? Perhaps you are one of them?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a closed minded person is someone who is “not willing to consider different ideas or opinions.” They are often stubborn and have already made up their mind about a topic long before they know the specifics of it. Sound familiar?
Well that’s probably because you have a number of people who live around you who are closed minded, and as aforementioned, perhaps it is you. Deep down, we all strive to be open minded. We describe ourselves as open minded people. But in reality, most of us aren’t actually open minded. We walk into a room, size up the situation and pass judgement. We assume that we are right, after all, we always are. We are naturally gifted, and have an innate intuition, and are more plugged into reality than most people. We almost feel bad for the “others” who don’t understand things as well as we do.
Well, let me introduce you to the other side - to those individuals who are more naturally happy-go-lucky, optimistic, and who see the innate good in others. They come into a room and pass no judgements. If the room is messy, they assume it’s been a busy day. If it is neat, they feel intense gratitude for the one who cleaned it. What a breath of fresh air.
By now I’ve probably confused you. I bet that, unless you know me, you can’t even decide which type of a person I am – the judgmental realist or the non-judgmental optimist. But I’ll tell you. I’m actually none of the above, or best yet, I’m a hybrid of both.
I am a natural pessimist realist. In my mind, I have a good sense of reality and I can often tell when others don’t. I’m naturally judgmental and that character trait, as with all traits, has been my biggest strength as well as my biggest weakness. It’s allowed me to be committed to my beliefs, to persevere and trudge forward, all the while not giving others the benefit of the doubt or the time they need to tell their stories. While I understand my nature, I also see the other side, that of the more positively inclined, and although I can’t really relate to them, I can appreciate their wholesome attitudes. They see the positives quickly and are open to new ideas. Fixedness is not in their vocabulary because they are open to new possibilities at every turn. If I had to summarize, and I’m sure by now you wish I did, I am the closed minded individual who understands the benefits of the open minded one, and who strives to be that person. I may need gentle reminders, but when I receive them, I have learned to recalculate quickly.
So what should you do with the close minded people in your lives? I’d say have patience with them. Show them the benefits of seeing things differently and how being open to new ideas will greatly help them in life. My-way-or-the-highway isn’t a helpful mantra and they’ll need to find a new one in order to learn, grow and accept others. Their change isn’t going to happen quickly. Serve as a positive role model for them, and they will come around. And if the close minded person is you, keep reminding yourself of the opportunities of change and growth. Those reminders, together with learning the S.I.T. templates, will give you the necessary tools in your toolbox to break fixedness in a quick and efficient manner. Over time, you will look back and see how you’ve become a different person.