Being open-minded can make a huge difference in how well we work, conduct business and form relationships according to Harvard Business Review. While it is always good to be confident in your ideas and beliefs, you may limit yourself if you are never willing to change your mind. No one can be right 100% of the time. That’s why it is so important to allow yourself to learn and grow by being flexible and willing to admit when you’re wrong. This may be hard, especially with matters that are very important to us, but it is a crucial trait for success.
It can be hard to define and judge how open-minded you are, but a key factor is ‘intellectual humility.’ This is how willing you are to change your ideas and having the right judgement to know when you should. Professors from Pepperdine University in California came up with ways to measure intellectual humility. This includes an assessment focusing on the following four traits: having respect for other viewpoints, not being intellectually overconfident, separating one’s ego from one’s intellect and willingness to revise one’s own viewpoint. People who are open-minded will score highly on this test.
Jason Baehr, Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in California, thinks there is one more important factor to consider. This is a trait from the Big 5 Personality Assessment, developed from research by D. W. Fiske, called ‘openness to experience’. This means how willing you are to try new things and apply new information. Combined with intellectual humility, it can be an indicator for how likely you are to listen to people and actually implement what you learn.
Although 95% of people already rate themselves are more open-minded than average, it is important to be honest with yourself about how flexible you really are. There are also certain hobbies that are useful for developing this skill. One experience that improves our open-mindedness is traveling because you must adapt to new customs and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, this is a great way to grow. Another is reading more fiction, especially stories from cultures much different than your own. This gives you a different viewpoint and presents ideas you may never have thought about before.
By assessing yourself and implementing a few new skills, you can be on your way to becoming a much more open-minded person. Developing this quality will help you become a more successful person in both your personal and professional life, so don’t be afraid to push yourself towards new ideas.