Open-minded is something I think comes with the territory when you work in the hypnosis field as a hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy trainer. I instruct and request my clients, students and attendees to adopt an open-mind as a prerequisite to my courses, seminars, books, lectures or one-to-one sessions. Why would I do that? What does it mean to be open-minded? That is what today’s article is all about.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard
Being open-minded can be really tough sometimes. Many of us are brought up with a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, tend to surround ourselves with people who share similar values and beliefs. Therefore, it can be difficult when we’re faced with ideas that challenge our own and, though we may wish to be open-minded, we may struggle with the act of it from time to time.
Like most people, you may have some pretty strong views about specific topics and find it hard to sway from those opinions — no matter how others might try to persuade you. Of course, having strong beliefs can be a wonderful thing and we should all stay true to some of what we believe in, but having strong beliefs doesn’t have to mean having a closed mind.
There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs come in. People who are open-minded are willing to change their views when presented with new facts and evidence. In a paper entitled When self-perceptions of expertise increase closed-minded cognition: The earned dogmatism effect published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers from Loyola University of Chicago found that those who consider themselves to be experts in their fields are often more closed-minded to alternative viewpoints.
This is a BIG bug-bear of mine in my own professional field. I attend conferences whereby delegates simply want to have what they already know confirmed, rather than learn anything new, or have what they already know challenged. Instead, they often defend their own stance and attack aspects of anything new or challenging. I’ve written about this theme a couple of times, have a read of these articles:
a) Why Prominent Hypnotherapists and Hypnotherapy Training Schools Need To Know How To Take Criticism.
b) Critical Thinking: Its Importance and Ways to Improve It.
c) The Cult of Anti-Intellectualism and Ignorance In the Field of Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis.
d) Anecdotal Hogwash From Hypnotherapists and Why Hypnotherapists Need Critical thinking Skills.
Being open-minded, however, goes beyond accepting new ideas or expressing flexibility. It includes the understanding that sometimes your expertise can only go so far – and that’s okay. Though you may disagree with other’s opinions, it’s important to be open-minded and accept that they might be onto something that’s worth pursuing, yet is outside your repertoire of successful tactics. This may require an added dose of patience and humility on your part, but in the end, you will both benefit from the learning opportunity and develop a stronger relationship.
So, before you communicate with anyone personally or professionally, keep these tips on being open-minded in your back pocket and watch them work wonders for you:
1. Be present:
Stop texting. Stop typing. Stop all the multitasking and really be present in whatever you are doing. It’s amazing how many people don’t fully invest themselves in their activities. Their mind and focus are elsewhere and they miss at least half of what is going on in the moment. Put ALL your focus on the people you are with. Others will notice the difference immediately. On the inside, feel tuned in and be tuned in to whoever you are with. They’ll feel it if you are off somewhere else in your mind. Connect sincerely and genuinely by being present.
2. Listen more than you talk:
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.” —Robert Baden-Powell
“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.” —Alan Alda
That’s active listening right there.
Make the effort to understand others first and only then attempt to be understood. This seems rather obvious but is often ignored by many of us. Our first instinct is to speak quickly to assert our ideas but we really don’t learn anything when our mouth is moving. We learn when we listen intently and fully absorb what is being communicated. Each individual you relate with is different in their thinking and their motivation. You miss these subtle differences when you speak too soon and may make snap decisions that you’ll regret later.
Listen deeply and actively without wanting to jump in, without having your reply all set in your mind and see how more open-minded you become.
3. Accept change:
One of the traits of an open-minded person is the perpetual pursuit of new ideas to solve challenges and create new opportunities. Opening up your mind to new ideas enables you to change what you think and how you view the world. This means examining a situation or problem from many varying angles. Getting comfortable with change will also help you to reframe problems as “challenges” and to relish those problems, seeing them as opportunities to develop, more on that here:
a) Learn To Enjoy Life’s Problems.
b) Apply Problem Solving To Yourself and Solve Your Own Problems.
4. Be honest:
Be honest enough to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Create a safe space for colleagues, friends, professional peers, clients and others you encounter to give you frank and open feedback. Be open to hearing these comments without judgement and listen with the intent of improving the situation if necessary. Creating this type of open dialogue encourages all concerned to step-up and take greater ownership.
5. Let go of what you no longer need:
Challenge your current beliefs by letting go of control and experiencing new ideas and thoughts. Start by giving yourself permission to let go and ‘grieve’ the loss. Even though it is tough to let go of the familiar, allowing the experience and emotions of letting go is a healthy revitalising process. Know that it is normal to feel a sense of emptiness, or frustration which typically happens when there is nothing to fill the void that comes with loss. One way to get unstuck is to consider the benefits of moving beyond what is no longer serving you or others. Look for the good in what has happened and count your blessings.
Think about how light you will feel when you are free from the weight of holding on. Embrace the idea of moving on and then do something, such as creating ideal outcomes, to change your perspective. Try asking someone you admire for an objective and honest opinion, and keep an open mind when listening. Test these ideas to think objectively as you begin to release what needs to go.
6. Allow yourself to make mistakes:
Making mistakes doesn’t seem like it would be much of a benefit, but it truly is. When you see things from another perspective, you gain the opportunity to fail and learn. Doesn’t sound like much fun, but it’s a great thing to fall and get back up again. Here are some more articles on that:
a) How To Learn From Failure.
b) Owning Your Life and Being Responsible For Who You Are Today.
c) How to Bounce Back From Being Knocked Down.
By practicing being open-minded you will often find that the approach gives you gifts of heightened insight and wisdom shared by others and that you learn much as a result. Imagine what is possible to learn from others if you can be open minded and let go of ‘your way’! Stop digging those heels in!
“One of the best paradoxes of leadership is a leader’s need to be both stubborn and open-minded. A leader must insist on sticking to the vision and stay on course to the destination. But he must be open-minded during the process.” — Simon Sinek
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.