Sunday, August 18, 2013

Three States of Open Mind

“Every generation needs a new revolution”  -Thomas Jefferson

We have moved into the new age when information is abundance and where creativity becomes a baseline competence. Many say an open mind is more important than talent, as the state of you mind (open or close) will directly impact on how you make decisions as well as how you judge others. What does the open mind mean anyway: Is it like to open the window of mind, let the instinct wind blow up or brainstorm pour through? Is it like to turn on the conscious or subconscious light to brighten up the darkness of thought or shadow pondering? Is it like a magnet to attract wise, seems opposite, but complementary viewpoints? Or is it a wired mind in connecting the neuron from left to right brain, from individual to collective mindsets? Is it like to pull up the analytics string or plugin imagination switch? Is it about mind crafting, digging through, stretching out or strengthening up? What are the states of open mind anyway?

1. An Outlier’s Mind

Our mind has been shaped through education, culture, historical events happened in our lifetime, the growth environment, the books & medias we choose to follow, the “mainstream” mindset of contemporary leaders, therefore, a human thinking is somewhat boxed. We do categorize all phenomena in a number of boxes that are based on individual experience and cognizance. Some people may not have many boxes or they are not able to increase the number of boxes to adapt and accept other meanings. 

  • An outlier’s mind is “out of box” mind: An outlier’s view is upon to see through things from the different angles, keep certain distance from the environment you observe or experience, just like the best photo of earth has been taken from space, the best analytics of problem is from outside-in, it has to keep your mind open, as an open mind is one that holds onto its beliefs while being prepared to consider other perspectives should they make sense. 
  • An outlier’s mind is inclusive. An outlier’s mind is magnetic to attract even “polar opposite” viewpoint as every wise thought always has opposite thought not less wise.  An outlier may not always be “outgoing”, and an open mind is not equal to open mouth. Not only pay attention to what has been said but also aware upon what hasn’t been said, as it takes the time to digest information and leverage viewpoints. Inclusiveness doesn’t over control, let idea flow. 
  • An outlier may also be “skeptical” with a pair of scrutinized eyes, which tests everything and only accepts that is backed by reason and evidence. A skeptical mind is able to assess the value of new evidence and act accordingly. Although a skeptical mind may not be the same thing as open mind as being able to change your mind with good reason is not the same as having a completely open mind, there should have certain criteria for one to accept new ideas, but not absorb everything, be positive and skeptical at the same time.   

2. A Beginner’s Mind 

What’s the closed mind though? It is in human nature, people don't like the unknown because they fear; people don’t like the ones not from them because they don’t recognize; people don’t like new ideas because they fear to fail. People are egoists so, they never confess, they tend to cover the ignorance and weaknesses with exaggerated extroversive behaviors. This is what being called the state of the closed mind...So what’s the opposite open mind supposed to be:

  • A beginner’s mind is “learning” mind, as a beginner’s view is from a pair of fresh eyes: “Don’t know” means keeping an open mind, fresh eyes and responding or proactively interacting according to circumstances, not according to how we assume. The people with beginner’s mind naturally treat each situation with freshness and novelty, no matter how many times they’d seen it or done it before, they would enjoy exploring the new possibilities or pursue the different way of doing things. 
  • A beginner’s mind is a “curious” mind: An opened mouth might indicate a closed mind unless it’s opened to ask questions. An expert’s mind hurries up for answers to show off knowledge; while a beginner’s mind makes inquiries via curiosity. Though a beginner’s mind doesn’t mean negating experience, it means keeping an open mind about how to apply experience to each new circumstance, while not over-burdened by previous experience. Lead by questioning, not answers. 
  • A beginner’s mind is a “change” mind:  Human being is somewhat orthodox, get used to comfort zone, changes are the threat. In the depth of individual and sociological funnel of behaviors, expectation, and group pressure, it might be hard for a person to see with another pair of eyes, toning the tunnel vision, or cross the linear thinking, A beginner’s mind is open to learning, while leveraging broader perspective to help others “look outside the box” 

3. An Entrepreneur’s Mind 

An entrepreneur’s view is usually positive, dynamic, creative, flexible, and resilient - Keep hungry, Keep Foolish. 

  • An entrepreneur’s mind is like a running river: Minds are not closed if they are alive. Looking at the brain, the riverbed of our electro chemical synapse runs on branches out into more complexity. Several things stop the minds ability to expand branches and make changes. One of them is fear. ... When the larger common branch is deeper and more comfortable. People need to come out of ignorance and live with awareness. This will make them less fearful which is very much required to challenge the status quo. 
  • An entrepreneur’s mind is like growing tree: Are you the one always say “impossible” or are you the one challenge the status quo: a growth mind can tolerate the risks and focus on opportunities. Sometimes opening our thoughts and behaviors require some extreme experience... a wake up of something new; A growth mind is open and dynamic, climb up and grow tall. 
  • An entrepreneur’s mind is like elastic spring: It’s hard to imagine an entrepreneur never fails before, the ups and down experience make an entrepreneur’s mind open, resilient, also flexible and strengthened. An open mind is one that holds onto its beliefs while being prepared to consider other perspectives or alternative solutions; An entrepreneur’s mind like spring, bending in order to straight up; retreating in order to move forward; recharging in order to  accelerate, driven, but not extreme, dynamic and elastic.   
The race of human against the machine is running, the knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, just like the “agricultural mind” was lagging behind of the industrial age before, now, the industrial mind could also drag down the digital era. An open mind is for advancement, an open mind is to bridge gaps; an open mind is to brighten the world. Indeed, the mindset is more important than talent! Talent can always be developed by those with the open and right mindset.


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