Open-mindedness (quotes)

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What is an open mind?

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What does it mean to have an open mind?

  • Open-mindedness:  The quality of being willing to consider ideas and opinions that are new or different to your own. Cambridge Dictionary
  • Having an open mind does not mean that one never comes to any convictions in life. It is perfectly possible to have an open mind and live a very principled life, without holding one’s beliefs dogmatically. Having an open mind means being prepared to question even your most central beliefs if there is occasion to do so. It means being open, when the time comes, to having your mind changed by an argument better than one’s own. It means being able to think both sides of an issue, both the side you think is true and the side you think is false. It also means being able to suspend your beliefs, to play devil’s advocate, and to detach yourself somewhat from your own beliefs, actions and feelings. Only living with an open mind gives us a chance to grow and change, for change is inevitable, while growth, unfortunately, is not. Jeff Mason
  • We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel- visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode.  John Clees
  • A mind that’s open and spacious can absorb lots of useful information. On the other hand, a mind that’s already full—of assumptions, beliefs about the intentions of others, preconceived ideas—misses important details or contexts, jumps to conclusions, and has a hard time learning anything new. Rick Hanson
  • OpennessListeningExplore new ideas and perspectivesClosed mindednessToleranceBeginner’s mind
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Open mindedness versus close mindedness

  • Distinguish open-minded people from closed-minded people. Open-minded people seek to learn by asking questions; they realize that what they know is little in relation to what there is to know and recognize that they might be wrong. Closed- minded people always tell you what they know, even if they know hardly anything about the subject being discussed. They are typically made uncomfortable by being around those who know a lot more about a subject, unlike open-minded people who are thrilled by such company. Ray Dalio
  • Closed-mindedness
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How to keep an open mind

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Keep an open mind

  • Above all, remember that the most important thing you can take anywhere is not a Gucci bag or French-cut jeans; it’s an open mind. Gail Rubin Bereny
  • Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart. Phil Jackson
  • Be very, very patient and very open-minded, and listen to what people have to say. J. McLean
  • Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
  • Minds are like parachutes–they only function when open. Sir James Dewar
  • Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Malcolm S. Forbes
  • If you never change your mind, why have one? Edward De Bono
  • Over 7 billion people in this world and a single reality? Not very realistic. Open your minds. Lucas T. Andrietti
  • Despite my firm convictions, I have been always a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth. Malcolm X
  • Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen. George Saunders
  • Even as you grow wiser and wiser with age you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later.  Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view.  Since life is continuous growth and movement, choosing a fixed point of view is essentially a declaration of death.  Marc and Angel Chernoff
  • The fewer facts you have in support of an opinion, the stronger your emotional attachment to that opinion.
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Don’t blindly disregard something just because it is widely discounted

  • If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance. Orville Wright
  • I cannot give any scientist of any age better advice than this: the intensity of a conviction that a hypothesis is true has no bearing over whether it is true or not. Peter Medawar
  • The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd. Utterly Russell
  • It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people. Giordano Bruno
  • The truth is not always the same as the majority decision. Pope Jean Paul
  • Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. Albert Einstein
  • We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth. Lucretia Mott
  • The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie–diliberate, contrived, and dishonest– but the myth– persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
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Don’t automatically judge something

  • Judging is preventing us from understanding a new truth. Free yourself from the rules of old judgments and create the space for new understanding. Steve Maraboli
  • There is little room left for wisdom when one is full of judgment. Malcolm Hein
  • Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances. Wayne Dyer
  • Let go of the need to judge
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Free yourself by actively seek out new experiences and ideas

  • A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints. Wilfred Peterson
  • Be an explorer. Actively seek out new ideas. There are new worlds, options, products, friends, methods and ideas waiting to be discovered. Venture off the beaten path. John Kehoe
  • Be an explorer…read, surf the internet, visit customers, enjoy arts, watch children play…do anything to prevent yourself from becoming a prisoner of your knowledge, experience, and current view of the world. Charles Thompson
  • Explore new ideas and perspectives
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Learn to adopt beginner’s mind in all things

  • You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you. Barabra Sher
  • My advice to any young person at the beginning of their career is to try to look for the mere outlines of big things with their fresh, untrained, and unprejudiced mind. Hans Selye
  • Do it like it’s the first time. A beginner’s mind is open and an open mind innovates. Danielle LaPorte
  • Cultivate a beginner’s mind moment to moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. Shunryu Suzuki
  • Beginner’s mind
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Explore and open up to other points of view

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Be open to other points of view, opinions and perspectives

  • In all tests of character, when two viewpoints are pitted against one another, in the final analysis the thing that will strike you the most, is not who was right or wrong, strong or weak, wise or foolish…. but who would go to the greatest lengths in considering the other’s perspective. Mike Dooley
  • Many of the “truths” you cling to are simply a result of one point of view—yours. Stephen Covey
  • In reality, there are an infinite number of perspectives, but we act as if there were only one. Genpo Roshi
  • There is no truth. Only points of view. Dame Edith Sitwell
  • Always respect another’s opinion and another’s point of view. Sri Sathya Sai Baba
  • It’s okay to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by other people. That doesn’t give you the right to deny any sense they might make. Nor does it give you a right to accuse someone of poorly expressing their beliefs just because you don’t like what they are saying. Learn to recognize good writing when you read it, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what is comfortable.  Ashly Lorenzana
  • Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul. Mark Twain
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Remember there are many valuable perspectives

  • Right view is having no particular, fixed view, which means seeing that all views are limited, that no particular view is the only view. They’re all restricted, they’re all limited, they’re all fragmented. Actually, the right view is no view. Genpo Roshi
  • I let go of my need to convince others of my point of view. When I remain open to all points of view, my dreams and desires will flow with nature’s desires. Deepak Chopra
  • In reality, there are an infinite number of perspectives, but we act as if there were only one. Genpo Roshi
  • Let’s consciously evolve as individuals and as a culture to a “second- tier” level of consciousness. Here, for the first time, we can hold multiple perspectives. No one is smart enough to be 100% wrong. Ken Wilber
  • There is no truth. Only points of view. Dame Edith Sitwell
  • To believe the world is only as you think it is, is stupid. Carlos Castaneda
  • If we agree on everything, only one of us is necessary. Dan Millman
  • Always respect another’s opinion and another’s point of view. Sri Sathya Sai Baba
  • We find comfort among those who agree with us–growth among those who don’t. Frank A. Clark
  • Over 7 billion people in this world and a single reality? Not very realistic. Open your minds. Lucas T. Andrietti
  • You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. Friedrich Nietzsche
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Realise this will take courage and discipline…

  • It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. Alan Cohen
  • It takes a disciplined person to listen to convictions which are different from their own. Dorothy Fuldman
  • The being without an opinion is so painful to human nature that most people will leap to a hasty opinion rather than undergo it. Walter Bagehot
  • CourageSelf-discipline
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… for our natural tendency is to be closed to what differs from our view

  • The human mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with a similar energy. W Beveridge
  • Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Who do you want to barbecue today? Someone who doesn’t see things quite our way? Bash ‘N the Code
  • People are very open-minded about new things–as long as they’re exactly like the old ones. Charles F. Kettering
  • People only see what they are prepared to see.
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Explore differing views rather than battling them

  • A discussion should be a genuine attempt to explore a subject rather than a battle between competing egos. Edward De Bono
  • The next time you find yourself in an argument, rather than defend your position, see if you can see the other point of view first. Richard Carlson
  • The next time you find yourself in an argument, rather than defend yourself, see if you can see the other point of view first. Richard Carlson
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Stephen Covey
  • It does take great maturity to understand that the opinion we are arguing for is merely the hypothesis we favor, necessarily imperfect, probably transitory, which only very limited minds can declare to be a certainty or a truth. Milan Kundera
  • Explore new ideas and perspectives
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Realise there is great value in diversity of opinions and perspectives

  • If we agree on everything, only one of us is necessary. Dan Millman
  • We find comfort among those who agree with us–growth among those who don’t. Frank A. Clark
  • You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note. Doug Floyd
  • Diversity
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Let go of the need to always defend your point of view

  • Today my awareness will remain established in Defenselessness. I will relinquish the need to defend my point of view. I will feel no need to convince or persuade others to accept my point of view. I will remain open to all points of view. Deepak Chopra
  • Let go of the need to be right
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Sit down before fact like a small child and shed preconceived notions

  • Guarding knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion. Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. Thomas H. Huxley
  • Sit down before fact with an open mind. Be prepared to give up every preconceived notion. Follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads or you learn nothing. Don’t push out figures when facts are going in the opposite direction. Hyman G. Rickover
  • Nurture your inner child
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Be wary of ideology and dogma

  • I have what I call an iron prescription that helps me keep sane when I naturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another and that is: I say that I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people who support it. I think only when I’ve reached that state am I qualified to speak. This business of not drifting into extreme ideology is a very, very important thing in life. Charlie Munger
  • Don’t drown your soul in ideology and dogma
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See in colour, not black and white

  • Some people like living in black and white worlds. Let them stay there. Appreciate all the colors you see in your world though. Ashly Lorenzana
  • It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view. George Eliot
  • Colour
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The rewards of an open mind

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Being open mindedness brings great rewards…

  • If people could regard the events of their own lives with more open minds, they would frequently discover that they did not really desire the things they failed to obtain. Andre Maurois
  • Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate, or despise, serves to defeat us in the end.  What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind.  Every moment is a golden one for those who have the vision to recognize it as such.  Henry Miller
  • Only living with an open mind gives us a chance to grow and change, for change is inevitable, while growth, unfortunately, is not. Jeff Mason
  • An open mind leaves a chance for someone to drop a worthwhile thought in it.
  • Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier. Charles F. Kettering
  • Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed. Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni
  • The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size. Albert Einstein
  • Flexibility requires an open mind and a welcoming of new alternatives. Deborah Day
  • Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling. Deborah Day
  • Without an open-minded mind, you can never be a great success. Martha Stewart
  • I had an immense advantage over many others dealing with the problem in as much as I had no fixed ideas derived from long- established practice to control and bias my mind, and did not suffer from the general belief that whatever is, is right. Henry Besseme
  • Open minds lead to open doors.
  • I understand that my way is not the only way – that inner peace comes from respecting the ways of others, and that, if I am open, I may gain great insights and happiness from the ideas and traditions of others.  Jonathan Lockwood Huie
  • In the world of mind, as in that of matter, we always occupy a position. He who is continually changing his point of view will see more, and that too more clearly, than one who, statue-like, forever stands upon the same pedestal; however lofty and well- placed that pedestal may be. Arthur Helps
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… while having a closed mind comes at a heavy price

  • A closed mind is a dying mind. Edna Ferber
  • Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
  • The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Terry Pratchett
  • Keep your hands open, and all the sands of the desert can pass through them. Close them, and all you can feel is a bit of grit. Taisen Deshimaru
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How we see the world should change as it changes and we change…

  • The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life. Muhammad Ali
  • We need continued new experiences throughout our life in order to develop a broader perspective. The world is constantly changing and how we see the world should also be changing.  Our perceptions can sometimes stop us from moving forward, so they need to be challenged and changed if necessary.  Phyllis Reardon
  • Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. Bernard Berenson
  • Change
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… for we need to learn and adapt throughout life

  • Never stop learning and adapting. The world will always be changing.  If you limit yourself to what you knew and what you were comfortable with earlier in your life, you will grow increasingly frustrated with your surroundings as you age.  David Niven
  • Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.  Henry Ford
  • Learning
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If we don’t change, we don’t grow

  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. Albert Einstein
  • If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self- deception and ignorance who is harmed. Marcus Aurelius
  • If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Gail Sheehy
  • Growth
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If you’ve never questioned an opinion or basic belief, you run the risk of being ignorant

  • It’s a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another. Ignorance is our deepest secret.  And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don’t know it or don’t want to admit it.  Here is a quick test:  If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.  Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.  It will do both of you good.  Vera Nazarian
  • Ignorance
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Open mindedness is a balancing act

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Open mindedness is a balancing act …

  • It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble. If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world.  On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones.  Carl Sagan
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… for we need to be able to shut our minds too, sometimes

  • You can have such an open mind that it is too porous to hold a conviction. George W. Crane
  • An open mind is all very well in its way, but it ought not to be so open that there is no keeping anything in or out of it. It should be capable of shutting its doors sometimes, or it may be found a little draughty.  Samuel Butler
  • Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • The open mind never acts: when we have done our utmost to arrive at a reasonable conclusion, we still – must close our minds for the moment with a snap, and act dogmatically on our conclusions. George Bernard Shaw
  • An open mind, like an open window, should be screened to keep the bugs out. Virginia Hutchison
  • The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. Terry Pratchett
  • I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out. Harold T. Stone
  • If we keep an open mind, too much is likely to fall into it. Natalie Clifford Barney
  • An open mind is not an end in itself but a means to the end of finding truth. Peter Kreeft
  • Be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out. Stephen A. Kallis, Jr.
  • Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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On a lighter note

  • An open mind is generally an empty mind since all things both easily enter and fall out.
  • Confucius say don’t confuse an open mind with one that’s vacant.  Confucius
  • If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
  • A narrow mind and a wide mouth usually go together.
  • Education: A technique employed to open minds so that they may go from cocksure ignorance to thoughtful uncertainty.
  • I believe in an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out.  Arthur Hays Sulzberger
  • I used to have an open mind but my brain kept falling out.
  • Now there’s a man with an open mind – you can feel the breeze from here!  Groucho Marx
  • The trouble with having an open mind of course is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.  Terry Pratchett
  • If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
  • A narrow mind is usually accompanied by a wide mouth.
  • He was so narrow minded he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.  Molly Ivins
  • People with narrow minds usually have broad tongues.  Proverb
  • Religion: A broad concept trapped in narrow minds.   Bowles
  • She’s got such a narrow mind when she walks fast her earrings bang together.  John Cantu
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