June 2018

It’s what we all hate. You’ve spent countless hours working on perfecting an article, a pitch, a spreadsheet only to hear your boss, co-worker, or that pesky devil’s advocate of the team turns it down. What’s the point of presenting if the audience is so set in their ways they won’t be open to new ideas, thinking, and innovations? The power of an open-mind is what executives and employers of the most successful businesses around the world are exercising to ensure they are receptive to team members and constantly evolving.

Conflicting ideals in life push us to our limits both emotionally and physically. Even in the smallest instance, how we handle these situations will pay a toll on our emotions not only for the short term but for longer than one would think. As Vincent van Gogh once stated, “Let’s not forget that even little emotions are the captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing.”

Having an open-mind to challenges and adversity is one of the most essential traits a person can have as they look to grow and live a fulfilling life. When we realize that we are imperfect and that others have views, thought processes and ideas that may challenge our own - and can accept this – you’re on the road to open-mindedness.

Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that in order to be open-minded we have to work against three basic tendencies:

This is when we maintain (or protect) our beliefs by selectively exposing ourselves to information that we already know is likely to support those beliefs.

The biases that emerge when we tend to lean on evidence that we hear first versus evidence we might hear later.

The theory that says we tend to be less critical of evidence that supports our beliefs than evidence that runs counter to our beliefs.

So how can we work towards being more open-minded? There are many exercises that research suggests work to challenge the mind to think outside of its normal tendencies such as taking an emotionally charged topic like politics, and writing down five valid reasons why the other person could potentially be right in their thinking. You might be fascinated by the results. Another exercise might be to recall a time you were wronged, or actively engaged in adversity/conflict, and attempt to develop three substantial positions that could perhaps validate the other person’s stance. These types of exercises are not meant to necessarily “change your mind”; rather they are to help you learn to be open to points-of-view that may challenge and slightly alter your thinking.

I challenge you to be, well, open to some new practices in your thought process. Trust me; you will be better for it. Whether it’s the co-worker who always plays devil’s advocate during your presentation, leadership conflict, or cultural-based dissension- use an open mind to see life through the other person or groups eyes and even in the smallest instance, it may lead to inner peace and growth.

What do you think? Let us know.

Connor Griffis
Summer 2018 Intern, 78Madison
Student, University of Florida

78Madison is a full service marketing communications firm – advertising agency – located in the heart of Central Florida – Orlando/Altamonte Springs, Florida