Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness

As an international student, I think it is essential that we should keep an open mind.

Living in a foreign country requires an open mind as one would be exposed to different cultures and beliefs. We all grow up differently with different sets of beliefs and ideas, and it would be beneficial to everyone if we are able to be open-minded. It improves relationships with other people and encourages personal development. However, not many people fully understand what being open-minded means.

We can all agree that sometimes it is hard to stay open-minded when we are so used to seeing one perspective for so long. No one is born with the gift to be open-minded, it is a thinking skill that one should develop as we grow older. We live in a world where perfection is expected from everyone and that being wrong or making mistakes is embarrassing. Being open-minded, however, shows eagerness to gain knowledge and courage to be wrong. Expanding our knowledge in anything depends on our willingness to consider new ideas.

To be open-minded, one needs to eliminate biased judgements, but it also refers to the ability to be able to understand and respect different perspectives, especially one that is different from our own. Some people misinterpret being open-minded as being able to accept other people’s ideas and views as well, but that doesn’t have to be the case most of the time. No one should have to change their stand on something just to be open-minded. Being open-minded is knowing which ground you stand on but willingly accepting that other people can have differing views. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing.

Although some people claim to be open-minded, what they don’t realise is that sometimes they are conditionally open-minded. They are only open-minded to a certain extent which mostly favours their attitude and opinions. Being conditionally open-minded is often referred to by the researchers as “myside bias”. This open-mindedness is limited to only how far their beliefs and ideas could be stretched to their liking which makes them opposed to contradicting beliefs. This bias affects the way people think objectively and makes it difficult for us to see logic in other people’s perspectives.

Open-mindedness can reflect one’s emotional maturity. There’s a sense of humbleness in admitting that we could be wrong and we may not know all that there is. When it comes to being open-minded, there’s no need to find out who is right or wrong. Maybe one could say that there is no such thing as being wrong, and even if there is, it usually means that there are more things and other views to consider. The mindset of being right could hinder our personal growth.

An open-minded person is able to choose how to think instead of what to think. It focuses on intelligent thinking and it is an admirable skill.



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