BEGINNING THE YEAR WITH AN OPEN MIND

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief”

–   Anonymous 

After many years of making resolutions upon resolutions when the New Year was approaching, I grew wary of few or none of them ever happening. It was tiring having so many expectations which were never getting met. I was losing hope, getting miserable and discouraged and after a few years, I chose to find out how I can better live. How I can get the most of every single year that God gives me.

The first thing I noticed was the power of choice. Among the many things that God chooses to intervene in, He leaves out Human choice. He chooses to leave humans with the ability to make their own choices and live with the consequences. The essence of choice is in the fact that our lives are currently the total sum of our choices. However you choose to live is a choice you make; happy, sad, rich, poor, content, purposeful or meaningless is all choice. Man is in a constant process of becoming – whatever he becomes is his choice- you can’t pause, stop or rewind you can only play; that means that whatever you choose consciously or unconsciously is what you are constantly becoming.

This emphasizes how important the mind is in the process of Life. We should not take for granted the fact that we can process thoughts and make decisions because thoughts have the potential to make a man. I am sure you have heard that a man is as good as his thoughts.  The mind I believe is the single most powerful organ that God created in man. Its abilities and potential are limitless – that means we choose how much of our mind we use. It’s so sad to know how much we limit ourselves in life and yet we could do so much more with life – we can live and not just exist; we can enjoy life to the fullest and it all begins with an open mind. Unfortunately, even the mind though it is a very powerful organ, if not cultivated, will not be productive so go on and exploit your mind; you will be amazed at how much your mind is capable of. This was best put in this quote below

“As the soil however rich it may be cannot be productive without cultivation, so the mind without culture can never produce good fruit” – Seneca

 

An open mind is an open channel, an open window. It is a mind that is dynamic, flexible, and open to new ideas, opinions and arguments. An open mind can also be a broad mind; one that is accommodative and respectful of views different from its own.  A mind that is not afraid of change or venturing into the unknown; it’s a mind that is willing to explore the possibilities.  An open mind is free, liberal, balanced, objective, reasonable and enlightened. An open mind is one that has let go of the past; it carries no baggage from before. An open mind is one that is not afraid since Fear is one of the most mind paralyzing elements that impede the mind’s abilities.

An open mind shapes the way you look at the world – your world view and it affects the way you live your life. Open minded people always seek for better ways of doing something, or of solving problems and of making life better while closed minded people are conservative and inflexible and live in the past glory.

The problem with an open mind is that anything can get into it – good or bad.  But just because you choose to have open mind doesn’t mean your mind should be open to everything. It’s like a window. We may need it open during the day to let in fresh air but may need it closed at night so we can keep warm and safe. Having on an open mind doesn’t mean we accept everything from anyone and everywhere. We have values and beliefs that make us who we are. The fact that we can process thought means that we weigh and evaluate whatever our mind is being presented with after which we make a choice. Just because we can make a choice does not mean we are always right. Now this is where open minded people learn from their mistakes and make better choices.

We can choose to live with an open or closed mind either of which determines what life we lead and how we lead it. Choosing to have a closed mind makes life dull, less rewarding, unsatisfying and uninteresting While an open mind fosters creativity, fun and adventure making life more interesting, satisfying and less stressful. Below I show you some of the benefits of being open minded and why you should begin this year with an open mind.

1. Having an open mind is the only way we can learn new things. It’s the only way we can consider growth and progress in life. There is a whole world out there with so much to learn and explore imagine what would happen if you learnt nothing new and chose to be ignorant of all that is happening for the next 20 years with all the worlds existing knowledge. As individuals, we can’t exhaust all the worlds’ knowledge but we should learn as much as our mind can accommodate or that which is relevant to our existence. It’s fun and interesting to learn new things

2. Open minded people make the most of life, they stress less, are more open to change, more adventurous, more knowledgeable, better risk takers, better problem solvers,  interesting and fun to be with (have better relationships), have a more positive approach to life, are less judgmental, more accepting and  are generally more mature

3. Many open minded people know who they are. Identity and self-actualization are one of the very essential human needs. It helps us define our purpose in life. One philosopher said that a life not examined is not worth living. Knowing one’s self is a deliberate journey that we all have to take at one point. Living with yourself when you don’t know who you are is hard enough and worse if you are closed minded.

Try starting the year with an open mind and go ahead and explore the possibilities of your mind.  Stretch and see how far you can go. Try some new things and drop whatever is not working for you. Next, I will share with you how to practice open mindedness and to cultivate a productive mind.

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