I think about openness as almost like a prerequisite of a transformation. Like when you study, some courses just aren't available to you unless you've done a course that's a prerequisite, or you're at a certain level. Openness is kind of like that, in that in order to cultivate transformational personal growth, you really need to be open. If you have a closed mind you might overlook something that is entirely necessary for your next step in transforming your life.
My mind was extremely closed before I started to change my life. I had a certain set of belief systems and a certain way of thinking and I had no concept or openness to the idea that there was even a different way of thinking at all let alone the idea that it was my own thinking that was what was keeping me from growing.
I thought that my life was hard and that was why I couldn’t achieve anything great. I thought I was a loser and I wasn’t worthy of love or care and so I didn’t care much about myself at all, so I had no faith in anything else and no faith in myself and a very very bleak future was staring me in the face. My life sucked. Or at least, in my head, my life sucked. I had to learn to change my view of the world. I had to learn to change my view of myself. I had to learn to love - to give love and to be open to it as well. But you don’t learn anything with a closed mind. You have to open the doors to new thoughts, new ideas, new information and you have to let go of some stuff in the process. Words like ‘can’t, and ‘should’, and ‘never’... and replace them with ‘possibly’, and ‘could’, and ‘maybe one day’… I had to learn to stop locking out the possibility of change and start embracing the different. The more I learnt, the more I realised I didn’t know. So the more I learnt and the more I realised I didn’t know. I am hungrier for learning now than I ever was and my life is pretty damn fantastic!
Open your mind to the idea that you don't have to struggle with anything all on your own. Open your mind to the idea that you are not a failure by seeking the help of someone else. You don’t look stupid when you ask for help. That’s a common misconception. You actually look more intelligent. Smart people seek help. Smart people know there are people out there who are better in certain areas than they are. We cannot all be brilliant at everything. So why not lean on each other and learn from each other in ways that increase the quality of our life?
You want to lower your stress levels? Open your mind to the possibility that there is a whole other way to think about things. Open your mind to the idea that there are techniques out there you may not have tried that may still work for you.
One of my favourites is when someone says that they went to counselling once and they didn't like it. That person you went to might have been an imbecile! Just because someone has a degree in something doesn't guarantee that they’ll be excellent at their job. Some people have all the credentials and none of the communication skills. Or they may have the information inside of them but don’t have a great ability to connect with you personally. We are all humans after all. Like I said, we can't all be great at everything. But if you open your mind to the possibility that someone out there can help, the chances of finding someone increase exponentially. If after the first try you close your mind to the possibility then of course, your chances of finding someone return to zilch.
You will never find the answer while you believe one doesn't exist. Or while you keep writing everything you don't know off as weird or hippy or ‘woo woo’ or too hard or too expensive or too whatever. If your mind is open, you’ll find willingness follows, and where there’s a will there’s usually a way.
I think it’s arrogant to think that my way of thinking is the best way or the only way of thinking. I try to avoid that mindset because I know it limits me. I don’t have all the answers. We don't have all the answers. We, as a human race cannot prove much at all really. Science is expanding our horizons all the time. Something with think was for certain one minute is disproven with a totally different theory the next minute. We are growing and evolving and expanding and if you think that you can just stay with the same mindset and thought programming you've always had, your spirit will diminish. Your zest and enthusiasm will waver and life will get harder to sustain.
Look at LIFE. The main sign of life is growth. If you stay the same and never change the way that you think then you will not grow. You will not change. Ahhh, but you will change. If you do not grow, you will shrink. You will wither and become more and more cynical and negative unless and until you learn to be open. So challenge your own mind set. Ask yourself “is this the actual truth or could there be another answer”? “Is this situation that keeps coming up for me serving my greater good”? If it's not then ask yourself “could there be a better way”? If the situation isn't serving you, I'd bet money there's a better way. It might be as simple as a better way of thinking about the situation. But you'll never know if your mind is closed.
Listening to one of Wayne Dyer's audio programs; “The road less travelled” he talks about a mind that is open to anything and attached to nothing. His point is driven home when he talks about not letting other people dictate what you think. If you belong to a certain tribe, or community, or religion, don’t let that tribe close your mind. Don’t rule things out because it doesn’t fit that model of thinking or that someone else told you that that doesn’t exist or that is bad. Use your own intuition. Walk your own path. Use your own radar for what is good and right and yes, measure it up against something, but don’t eliminate paths just because someone else won’t take that path. Often people stick to belief systems that fundamentally don’t work for them simply because they lack the courage to rock the boat or do something outside of what is deemed ‘normal’ to their peer group. Which is a shame, because no one has done anything great or brilliant or life changing or world shattering without encountering opposition from the ‘norm’.
Even Einstein said
“Great minds will always encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds”.
Don’t settle for mediocrity. Open your mind to the potential for greatness.
Try new things. Do not let fear or pre-programming dictate your curiosity. Be curious. Be an investigator in life. Find new ways of looking at things. Find better ways to operate. Be open to the weird and the wonderful. It's often when you go back to where you had closed your mind to a certain path because you thought you'd never find the answer there, you find that that is where it was hiding all along.