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Leading with an Open Mind

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Realizing the value in all things will allow you to live a more respectful life as a leader. To realize the value in all things, you’ve got to keep an open mind. When you have an open mind, you free yourself from prejudices, stereotypes, and discounting of people, places and things. Your curiosity might lead you to want to know more, but keeping an open mind allows you to get an even clearer sense of reality. If you’re curious without an open mind, you’re hosed.

Close minded people show little consideration for other people, places, and things. Close minded people look to confirm prejudices and stereotypes rather than find out the truth. If you keep an open mind, honor the value of everything, and believe that everything is worth learning about without prejudgment, you will show people that you care and are willing to consider their side of the story.

The Damage of a Sealed Mind When someone tells you something, at any level of authority or status in society, it’s important not to accept the claim as fact until you’ve investigated it thoroughly. A high level of curiosity means that you don’t accept claims outright until you’ve had the opportunity to investigate.

I remember in middle school that people always used to tell me how strict and uncaring one of the teachers was. She was a real witch according to all of my friends. “She gives out at least 20 detentions a day for stupid things like glancing up at the clock.” Surely she wasn’t that bad. I had never encountered her before, so how could I know?

I was always curious to meet her and figure out if the horror stories were true. I kept an open mind. I finally got the chance to meet her at the end of my eighth grade year. The kids that didn’t go on a field trip had her as a substitute. Sure enough, she was just as mean and witchy as anyone could have ever predicted. Someone dropped their pencil on the floor and she gave them a warning that she’d give them a detention if it happened again.

When the bell rang, 5 people had detentions: one student didn’t raise her hand to speak, one accidentally dropped his pencil twice, one got out an eraser while the teacher was talking, one talked back when she warned him about putting his head down on his desk, and one to a student who told her that she sucked after she gave out 4 detentions.

On the other hand, they told me the same horror story about a teacher in high school. Using my past experience as a guide, I prejudged my high school teacher and thought she was going to be just as bad. In reality, she was nice, respectful, and was genuinely interested in teaching. The fact is you just don’t know until you know, so it’s important to keep an open mind.

Super Mind Opening Activity: What kind of prejudices or stereotypes might you hold without realizing it? What haven’t you been open to in the past that might be helpful if you were open minded about it today?

Answer the following questions about open mindedness:

Question #1: How can I be more open minded in my relationships?

Question #2: How can I be more open minded in my career?

Question #3: How can I be more open minded in my finances?

Question #4: How can I be more open minded in my health?

Question #5: How can I be more open minded in my education?

Question #6: How can I be more open minded in my spirituality?

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