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How to Be Open Minded

Three Parts:Adjusting Your PerspectiveBroadening Your HorizonsBeing More Open-Minded with Others

Are you tired of looking at the world in the same old way? Have people told you that you never see more than one side of the story? If so, then it’s time to broaden your horizons and improve your life so that you can be more open-minded. Open-minded people live exciting, balanced, and inquisitive lives, and you can be one of them after a little hard work.

Part 1
Adjusting Your Perspective

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    Embrace the unknown. If you want to be more open-minded, then the first thing you have to do is embrace something that is completely foreign to you. Sure, this may sound a bit broad, but the unknown can really mean something as simple as taking a different route to work, finally accepting that coffee date with your neighbor, or seeing a movie by a director you’ve never heard of. If you want to be more open-minded, then you should try to embrace one new unknown thing every week—or even, every day.
    • Have you never checked out that new restaurant in town because you don’t know what it’s like there? Now’s the time to check it out.
    • Have you avoided signing up for that English class you’re interested in because you don’t know anything about Romantic poetry? Go for it.
    • Have you avoided the Barre classes at your yoga studio because you’re afraid you won’t know what you’re doing. Check them out and you’ll see that it wasn’t as scary as you thought.
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    Don’t knock anything before you try it. Close-minded people are famous for forming negative opinions of things they’ve never even tried. They may hate the other pizza place in town without even setting foot in the door, or they think the vegan movement is completely silly without ever trying it themselves. So, the next time you catch yourself espousing a negative opinion about something, ask yourself what evidence you have to support your ideas.
    • If you find that there is absolutely no evidence to prove your case, then you should try that thing yourself before you say anything else.
    • If your only evidence comes from biased sources, such as your favorite blogger or your best friend, who agrees with everything you say, then that doesn’t really count.
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    Just say “yes” instead of “no.” If you want to be more open-minded, then you have to start saying “yes” to the things you would formerly say “no” to. This could be your friend’s standing invitation to go to go on a hike, your co-worker’s invitation to join your company’s bowling league, or even your barista asking if you’d like to try the new latte special. Stop saying no to things and start saying that you’d like to try them. You’ll be surprised by how quickly this changes your perspective.
    • The next time you say no to something, ask yourself what lies behind this impulse: is this fear of the unknown? An unwillingness to step out of your comfort zone? The desire to be hanging out in bed in your pyjamas instead of meeting new people? Face the feeling and find a way to fight it.
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    Learn to examine every situation from multiple angles. This is easier said than done, of course. Let’s say you’re politically liberal and support a serious handgun ban. Sure, you may think your way is the best way, and you don’t have to change that, but you should read some arguments from the other side to see what the other people are saying. You may find that they have some good ideas of their own; and if you don’t, then you’ll feel more justified in your own opinion because you’ll be more informed.
    • Read up on how other countries run their governments. America could learn a thing or two from Sweden and vice versa. Seeing how other people do things can give you a better sense of any situation, whether it’s fighting crime, dealing with adoptions, or offering easier and cheaper access to healthcare.
    • Let’s say you’re a very devout Christian. Can you try reading up on other religions, or understanding the reasons why someone might not believe in God at all? Make a list of these reasons and see if it makes it easier for you to understand your differing perspectives. This doesn’t mean you have to change your mind, but it will help you have a more open-minded outlook.
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    Think of three positive things for every negative one. Though being close-minded doesn’t necessarily equate with being negative, many close-minded people tend to look at most things at the world as being negative or threatening and tend to stick to the things they know. So, the next time you catch a negative thought crossing your brain—or even the next time one escapes your lips—counter it with a positive thought.
    • It’ll feel good. Let’s say you catch yourself saying, “It’s freezing today. This weather sucks.” Can you think of anything good about the cold day? Try: “But there’s nothing like drinking a pumpkin spice latte in your favorite café when it’s cold outside.” Or: “Maybe it’ll snow later. I love snow.” Being more positive will help you embrace the things you thought you hated.
    • The same goes for whining and complaining. If you catch yourself whining and complaining about something, immediately counter your complaints with praise or excitement surrounding that thing.
    • You can find the good in almost any situation. Maybe you hate your 2-hour commute from Sacramento to Berkeley, but you can love the alone time you get to listen to your favorite audiobook.
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    Pick up a completely new hobby. This is another great way to adjust your perspective and to become more open-minded. Try karate, hiking, oil painting, power yoga, photography, or any other activity that you have never tried before, don’t know much about, and don’t even particularly think you’d be good at. Sign up for a class in your town or at a local college. You will meet new people also interested in that thing and will learn to look at the world in a new way.
    • Who knows, your new hobby may even turn in to a passion. And if you really find yourself having a passion for something new, your outlook will improve. A love for photography, for example, will change the way you look at the world.
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    Mix up your routine. Close-minded people tend to do the same thing every day because they’re convinced that they wouldn’t be happy if they did something different, had a different breakfast, or took a different route to work. So, do just that. Don’t eat the same bagel and cream cheese and go for some oatmeal and a fruit salad. Don’t go to the gym after work; try running in the morning instead. And don’t go straight home after work or school, either; hang out with your co-workers or friends instead.
    • You’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll start looking at the world in a new way when you get out of your old rut.
    • Routines are a good way to bring order and stability to your life and there’s nothing wrong with them. But if you want to be more open-minded, mixing it up once in a while will show you that there’s more than one way to live your life.
    • Let’s say you planned to stay in all weekend and watch that ‘’Law & Order’’ marathon you’ve been craving. Your friend invites you to her beach house at the last minute—if you want to start changing your life for the better and to be more open to new experiences, then you better say yes.

Part 2
Broadening Your Horizons

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    Educate yourself. If you want to be more open-minded, then you have to broaden your horizons any way you can. Educating yourself is a broad idea, and you can achieve this through going to school, taking some night or online classes, or just by reading more books and watching online tutorials about how to do more things. The more educated you are, the less like you are to fall victim to bias.
    • Spend three hours on wikiHow next Sunday and learn how to do ten new things. Then, try them out.
    • Being more educated will make you more informed and less likely to form close-minded opinions.
    • Being educated will also help you hold your ground in your position if you like to argue, and it will also help you become more open to the point of view of the person you’re arguing with.
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    Read more. It’s hard to be open-minded without reading. You should read widely: non-fiction, literary fiction, magazines, newspapers, blogs, or almost any kind of reading materials will enrich your life and make you understand that there are an infinite amount of ways to live and enjoy your life. Read a book about a country you’ve never been to, or a book about a political movement you don’t know much about. The more you know, the more power you’ll have to make educated decisions and to be more open-minded.
    • Start a Goodreads account and try to tackle at least three books a month, at first. See what other people are reading and get inspired.
    • Spend hours at a bookshop perusing the shelves until you find a book that speaks out to you. Then, make a goal of finishing it by the weekend.
    • Join a book club. This will make you even more open to a wide variety of literature and will expose you to a number of new opinions.
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    Travel as much as you can. Though many people have a limited budget, you should make a habit of traveling when you find the money. If you only have a little bit of money to spare, just travel to a fun destination a few hours away from your hometown and try to learn something new. If you have more money to work with, go look at the Mayan ruins in Mexico, check out the plethora of museums in Paris, or spend a weekend in Montreal.
    • If you can’t afford to travel, watch the Travel Network. Though it won’t be as exciting as the real thing, it will give you more perspective into how people live in other countries.
    • Volunteer in a foreign country. This is a great way to give your time while exploring a new place.
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    Learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language is a great way to broaden your horizons right from the comfort of your own home. Order Rosetta Stone, get another language learning guide, or even invest in a private tutor or take a class in the language. You’ll understand how anything linguistic system works and will end up having a better understanding of your own. You’ll also pick up some information about a foreign culture and will understand more about the world.
    • If you get really committed to the language, you can find other native speakers to talk to. This will help you learn even more about the world.
    • You can watch foreign films in this language to get a better sense of how people speak. You’ll also gain valuable insights into the culture you are learning about.
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    Get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’re afraid of heights. Go stand on the roof of a building (if it’s allowed). Hate going to noisy restaurants? Make a dinner date and see if you survive. Afraid of meeting new people? Go to a singles’ mixer or a meet-and-greet in your town or let your friend drag you to a party. Make a habit of doing this as often as you can and you’ll slowly feel your mind opening up.
    • Write down five things that make you really uncomfortable. Find a way to do as many as you can. This will take time and courage but you’ll feel better for it.
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    Educate yourself when you watch TV. Whether you watch just two hours of TV a week or if you watch two hours a day, you can make a habit of watching something that opens up your mind instead of closing it off further. Put away those reruns of crime shows you’ve seen a million times and change the channel from Maury Povich. It’s time to watch the History Channel, see if a classic film is playing, or watch a documentary about the environment.
    • Don’t watch anything that you feel is only making you stupider. You’re better off staring at the wall.
    • Check out Turner Classic Movies. You’ll gain a new appreciation of classic films and may change your opinion of anything made before 2010.
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    Eat food from a cuisine you’ve never heard of. You may like eating your three favorite foods, but if you want to be more open-minded, then you should check out the new Burmese or Ethiopian place everyone has been talking about. Never had food from El Salvador? It’s never too late to try.
    • Sure, Mexican, Italian, and Chinese are old favorites, but if you want to be more open to new experiences, then you’ll have to try new things, even if you have no idea what they’ll taste like.
    • If you’re trying a completely new cuisine, try to go with a friend who is an expert and knows exactly what to order. This will increase your chances of having a good time.
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    Have dinner with your friend’s family. The next time your friend invites you over for dinner with his or her family, don’t make a lame excuse for staying in. Sure, meeting a friend’s parents or siblings can be a little intimidating, and understanding the dynamics of another family isn’t always easy. But hanging out with your friend and his or her family will make you see that there are multiple ways to live, and that the way you were raised isn’t the only way to live.
    • Your friend’s parents might be more funny, strict, entertaining, exciting, quiet, or friendlier than yours. No two families are alike, and you’ll see that every family has its good and bad sides.
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    If your friend's family have different political or religious opinions, take it as an opportunity for an intellectually exchange, as long as it stays friendly. If your friend's parents come from another culture, then learn about it to broaden your horizons!
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    Listen to talk radio instead of pop music. When you’re heading out for that soul-crushing morning commute, turn off Katy Perry and put on KCRW. Sure, pop music may give you some pump-up points to help you feel even more caffeinated in the morning, but nothing will wake you up and make you feel better than some food for thought. Make a goal of listening to talk radio when you get in the car next time and see how much you learn.
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    If you desperately need your music fix, try something new! Genres like classical and jazz can ease you into the day, while upbeat Latin or reggae music can wake you up quickly to prepare for the day ahead.
    • Listening to other experts talk about a variety of political and social topics will give you a better sense of what’s going on in the world. It’s like reading the news without picking up the paper.
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    You can also download podcasts on a variety of topics on the iTunes or Android stores.

Part 3
Being More Open-Minded with Others

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    Don’t judge a person until you know his story. Many people who struggle with being open-minded are also known to judge people before they really know them. If you tend to judge people when you first meet them, or even when you just first hear about them or see them across the room, then you need to work on approaching every new person on a case-by-case basis without judging him based on his background, appearance, or accent.
    • This can be tricky if you’re used to quickly forming opinions on someone based on his appearance or the first five minutes of a conversation. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Do you think people will be able to know everything about you after looking at you for five minutes? Probably not.
    • The next time you meet a new person, try to really understand where he or she is coming from before you form any kind of an opinion.
    • You may be the kind of person who is prone to jealousy and who instantly hates any friends that your friend brings around because you’re possessive. Instead, think of it like this: if your friend likes this person, then there must be something good about him. Try to seek it out.
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    Ask people lots of questions. If you’re close-minded, then you may tend to think that you don’t have anything to learn from or about other people. So, the next time you meet a new person or talk to an old friend, ask him or her more questions than you normally would without sounding like you’re in the interrogation room. Ask the person what he’s been up to that week or if he read anything good lately. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll learn.
    • If a person just came back from a trip to an exotic place, ask for all the details.
    • If you know the person well, ask him about what his childhood was like. You may hear some really interesting details and will learn something new.
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    Be friends with people from different walks of life. If you want to be more open-minded, then you can’t just be friends with your five best friends from high school or college, all of whom basically share the same interests, and expect to have a broad perspective on life. Make friends from work, your ceramics class, your favorite neighborhood bar, or from different classes in school.
    • Though you shouldn’t hand pick your friends based on their diversity, try to hang out with people that have a variety of jobs, interests, and backgrounds.
    • Being friends with people from diverse backgrounds will give you insight into different perspectives on the world.
    • If you have really eclectic friends, some of them may not even end up liking each other, and that’s okay.
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    Let a friend introduce you to his favorite hobby. If your friend is really passionate about printmaking or yoga, let her take you to a class or show you how it’s done. You’ll be able to gain expert knowledge from your friend and will have a new appreciation of something you never considered before. Try to challenge yourself and pick something that you previously scoffed at; you’ll be surprised by how much it can change your life.
    • Seeing your friend get really passionate about something you know nothing about can also help you have a more open-minded approach to how other people choose to spend their time.
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    Accept more invitations. This is an easy way to be more open-minded. Though you don’t have to say yes to every invitation, you can make a habit of saying yes 50% more and going to parties or places where you never thought you’d end up. It could be a potluck at your neighbor’s house, your aunt’s yearly barbecue that you always skip, or even a poetry reading your friend has been trying to get you to go to for months. Exposing yourself to a wide variety of events will make you more open-minded.
    • Try to accept invitations to different types of events. Just saying yes to party invitations may not necessarily broaden your horizons if you say no to everything else.
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    Engage in friendly debates. If you’re close-minded, then you may love to argue about a topic because you’re convinced that you’re completely right. Well, the next time you find yourself in the middle of a little debate, take a friendlier, inquisitive approach. Don’t tell the person all of the reasons why he is wrong, but ask him to tell exactly why you should believe his perspective. You won’t change your own mind, but you will definitely like something new.
    • You don’t want to develop the reputation of being the guy who argues with everyone until he clears out the room. Instead, be easygoing, not aggressive, even if you’re really passionate about a topic.
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    Befriend a person you don’t think you would ever like. You might have never thought you would be friends with a staunch Republican, a girl who is obsessed with her modeling career, or a guy who chain smokes and covers his body with tattoos. Though it may be hard to seek these people out, if you do find people that you feel you would not be compatible with in your social circle or around you, be friendly and invite them out for a cup of coffee. You’ll become more open-minded and may even end up making a new friend in the process.
    • If you don’t get along, then that’s fine, but at least you can’t blame yourself for trying.
    • Remember that people may also be stereotyping or thinking negatively about ‘’you.’’ You can help others be more open-minded by sharing your perspective, too.


  • Try thinking things over before doing or saying them.
  • Always be opening to learning. You will die inside when you stop learning. The world is changing. Don't die with the old times, live with the new.
  • We all have things we can learn from others, so when truly open minded, you'll implement those discoveries in your own life.
  • Try teaching other people about your ideas, instead of arguing about them.
  • Charismatic people always attract your attention. It's good to be around them, but also try to approach introverted people or shy people. They might have interesting things to talk about and share.


  • Just because you're open minded doesn't mean that you should accept everything! Always listen to someone else's point of view first, but think it out rationally before you automatically believe it.

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