In order to be innovative, open minded, and open hearted you must invest more time in critical thought. Where this gets trick is that we often go to the quickest answer, the canned response, or what we know from our personal experience. To break free of this limited, and biologically driven, response—I like to ask myself if there another option?
Here’s An Easy Example
I’m from a small town where public transportation is minimal so growing up you had to have a car. The only people who didn’t have a car typically couldn’t afford a car. I moved to Chicago in my 20s, with my car—but with high parking costs (excess of $500 per month) I ditched my car for public transportation, ride shares, Uber, and taxis. I didn’t think twice about it, but everyone at home decided I was broke as it was the only explanation they knew for not having a car. When I explained it they got it but until it was brought to my attention I didn’t even consider needing to explain.
How Do You Know That To Be True?
We are all guilty of viewing the world through a lens that looks similar to our own. So, when meeting new people we must challenge ourselves to see them as they are, not as we are. By this is I am referring to both out experiences, and our assumptions about the group we have sorted them into. Our differences are good and must be celebrated, but first they must be acknowledged. This means that we must try our best not to judge, assume or draw conclusions. We must ask questions such as how we know our immediate response to be true. This is a question we must ask ourselves to keep our mind open as we cannot expect others to be an open book.
Our brain burns the most energy of any other organ in our body. To conserve energy our brain’s pathways will search for the most common thought, answer, or solution—but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one. In most cases, it’s one of an infinite number of options.