Pushing out of your comfort zone can be scary and nerve-wracking. When trying to open up to change, it can be hard to know where to start.
The first step you’ll need to take is acknowledging that you’re ready to make the next move — so congratulate yourself on step one! Read on for some more tips on how to cultivate an open mindset. After all, you never know where new paths can take you.
1. Look Inward
Evaluating your current views on subjects is a great place to start. Most of the time, people are so on-the-go that they forget to think about what they think about.
However, sometimes the real thing holding us back is our fixed mindset. In these cases, doing some self-evaluation and adjusting your mindset can be a great way to enhance your personal growth.
Pick a trending topic or opinion of yours. Do you still believe that, or are you just assuming you do? Could you learn more about it? Do you have all the facts, or are you biased? These are good questions to push yourself to learn more about your current opinions and where you stand on matters. There is always more that you can learn about any subject.
2. Start Saying Yes
Being open-minded can also open you up to new experiences. If you’re used to your routine and you’re presented with something new, your first instinct might be to say “no.”
Take a pause — why are you saying no to this? Is it due to fear? Lack of interest?
Whatever the case, breathe deep and try saying yes! New experiences and adventures can help you learn new skills and open you up to new perspectives.
Often, close-minded people keep themselves in a comfortable little box. They tend not to push themselves if they think they’ll fail.
You don’t have to say yes to something huge right away — to start, try saying yes to going to a yoga class with your friend or joining a book club. If being an open-minded person feels like a learning process, that’s okay — after a short amount of hard work, it’ll come naturally.
You don’t have to say yes to every single offer or new thing. Start small, slowly work your way up, and continue learning how the open mindset works. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even seek out new things on your own.
3. Learn To Listen
Have you ever been mid-conversation and realized that you hadn’t heard a thing? This can happen when we scroll our phones, let our minds drift, or don’t practice active listening when we’re engaged in a conversation with loved ones.
Developing a growth mindset involves learning and adjusting behaviors you already have. Try being in the moment and focusing on what the other person is saying.
Each person in your life has a wealth of perspectives that you could learn from. Even if you have similar points of view, you could still find a new perspective or learn from the success of others.
Listening to someone in an engaged way can help you learn that there is always more under the surface. There are no shortcuts in good conversations — and being an open-minded person can start in your connections with others.
3. Practice Self-Care
It may seem counterintuitive, but caring for yourself can help advance your mindset. Developing what is referred to as a growth mindset can help in this area.
Psychologist Carol Dweck coined the term when she was studying students’ mindsets about challenges. According to Dweck’s research, the growth mindset isn’t just something you’re born with — even if you don’t naturally have a growth mindset, you can learn to have one.
When you’re stressed, tired, and worn out, it may be more difficult for you to try to change your perspective. You may feel stuck in a negative spiral, and you may even notice your mental health start to decline as a result.
Your mind wants to learn, care, and experience life. Working on yourself may feel selfish, but to care about other people, you also need to care about yourself.
Try to figure out where you can make small improvements to your mental well-being. Despite some common misconceptions, your mental health and self-esteem can have huge impacts on your ability to perform in other areas.
Give yourself the grace you try to give others. The kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you can be to everyone. Being a growth-mindset person starts from within.
5. Learn From Others
When your mindset is closed off, conversations can turn into arguments. You might get hung up on winning the argument rather than looking for common ground.
Remember that arguments aren’t about who’s correct, and they aren’t about changing anybody’s mind. The importance of talking about hot topic issues is to discuss multiple points of view, new ideas, and experiences one person has that the other may not.
Discussion is important to broaden your understanding, especially about important subjects like religion, politics, morals, and current events. Removing defensiveness in a conversation can help you to explain your opinions, which might open you up to new strategies and ideas, as well.
Try to avoid fixed mindset triggers by being as open as possible. If you need to take a break from a discussion to stay open, that’s perfectly acceptable. And try to avoid giving the other person negative feedback — when you react positively, you can encourage them to continue opening up as well.
6. Stay Humble
Along the same vein, remember that your way isn’t always the “right” way. Just because something works one way doesn’t mean it’s the way it works for everyone else.
Remember that people are allowed to mess up and learn — this goes for you too!
Imagine a new employee learning to build something you’ve built a hundred times. It would be easier for you just to do it, right?
But doing so would deprive the new employee of the opportunity to learn something. Part of having an open mindset is accepting ideas that others may have and allowing others to learn.
Embrace the Open Mindset
Opening up a previously closed mindset can be confusing and frustrating, but ultimately it’s worth it. You can open yourself up to a healthier, more fulfilled life through new experiences, personal development, and new people.
Remember not to expect a sudden improvement in your ability to embrace new opinions, ideas, and experiences. It takes determination and practice.