Monday, September 27, 2010

Open Your Mind - Let New Knowledge Come Rushing In

As the saying goes, the more you learn, the more you realize what you don't know. I know this has been true in my life. It's humbling.

But some people act as if they have all the answers. They have fixed opinions about things, and they fall on their sword defending them.

They're in big trouble.

The truth is, every person you'll ever meet comes from a different background of learning, and they know things you don’t know. If you want to get smarter as you go through life, and if you want your decisions to be based on the best information and wisdom, ask the people around you what they think, listen to what they say, and keep an open mind.

It’s not easy to accept another person’s point of view, even if it’s better than your own. For one thing, you may not understand it at first. The person may not express himself very well, and because it’s a different perspective, you may find it difficult to grasp. Besides, what you hear may contradict what you already believe. If that belief means a lot to you, you may not want to hear something that challenges it.

Learning is a life-long adventure. We learn from experience, and we learn from each other. If you want to expand your knowledge, you need to be willing to examine other people’s opinions. Even if you usually stay with what you believe, every now and then you’ll discover a new point of view that’s more useful than the one you hold now.

You have astounding potential for growth, and you can expand your horizon as far as you want. So instead of avoiding people who disagree with you, seek them out. When they speak, don’t give in to the impulse to argue. Learning isn’t about proving that you’re right. It’s about discovering something new. Listen carefully, get clarification and ask for more information.

Open your mind, and new knowledge will come rushing in.

You don’t have to accept everything you hear, but you can hear the person out and then decide if it’s worth considering.

Some wisdom...

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” - George Bernard Shaw, British playwright (1856-1950)

“In the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.” - John Kenneth Galbraith, American columnist (1908-2006)

“Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue - to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.” - Socrates, Greek philosopher (B.C. 469-399)

“It is never too late to give up our prejudices.” - Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher (1817-1862)

“Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” - Mark Twain, American novelist (1835-1910)

“We should not only use the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.” - Woodrow Wilson, American president (1856-1924)

“When learning about life and people, make no more assumptions than are absolutely necessary. Ask and observe.” - William of Occam, British philosopher (1285-1349)

“Old paradigms die hard, even if they don’t work.” - Karl Albrecht, American author (1941- )

“From a worldly point of view, there is no mistake so great as that of always being right.” - Samuel Butler, British novelist (1835-1902)

“We are complacently caught in our particular view of the world, which compels us to feel and act as if we knew everything about the world.” - Carlos Castaneda, American author (1926-1998)

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (License to use photo purchased from

No comments: