The young mind is like a sponge. It absorbs and retains knowledge with incredible alacrity. It is also highly sensitive to emotion as it learns and assimilates nuances of new feelings. Perhaps that’s why our childhood memories are so vivid and vibrant.
As we get older, however, we can still retain images with a similar clarity- but their colors are more muted, their textures less lively and their emotional resonance (even for joyous memories) can become dulled. As we become more confident and assured in who we are, we also become more rigid in who we are. We cling to our knowledge and beliefs like an island in a stormy sea.
And while this may bring us comfort and surety, we must also be wary of becoming too inflexible in our thoughts and closed-minded in our beliefs. Here we’ll look at the importance of an open mind for intellectual growth and personal fulfillment.
An open mind is capable of wonder
The temptation to live in an emotional and intellectual echo chamber is understandable. We humans are hard wired to want to exert control over the chaos that is life. And the uncontrollable can be intimidating to us. Still, when we open our minds and are flexible in our thoughts and beliefs, we can experience that same feeling of wonder we experienced as children.
When the world seemed new and exciting and learning was a pleasure rather than a burden. For instance, some may scoff at notions of telekinesis or psychokinesis- but leading neuroscientists maintain that this science fiction trope is a scientific fact waiting for further discovery. Check out this article on the difference between telekinesis and psychokinesis. Maintaining that open mind and that sense of wonder is what allows us as a species to redefine what’s possible. Without it, we’d all still live in certainty that the sun revolves around the Earth.
An open mind forgives
Bitterness and resentment darken the mind and poison the spirit. When someone has wronged you, there may be many reasons why their toxicity cannot be allowed to pollute your life. Nonetheless, if you dwell on your anger and resentment your future relationships will be guarded and tainted by cynicism.
An open mind is capable of forgiveness. And forgiveness implies a belief that people who do wrong can change, and that people who have been wronged can grow. Forgiveness is important for the person you forgive. But it’s even more important for you!
An open mind can change its outlook
There’s a fine line between savvy and pessimism. The more we learn, the more we come to believe that we can chart the trajectory of every life experience before it’s happened. But this is how pessimism and cynicism are allowed to taint our outlook. An open mind is flexible and can change in its outlook. It can reframe rejection as redirection. It can see failure for the learning opportunity that it is. It can see even the most negative experience as fuel for further growth.
Conviction is important, but it should never come at the expense of an open mind. Allow yourself to experience wonder, and don’t be afraid to let yourself grow.