Open and Closed

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These days, you don’t need to go far to hear the terms “open” and “closed” minded. The general idea is that when you’re open minded, it means you’re more receptive to new ideas and concepts, closed minded being the opposite. Obviously, I’m talking about the common use of the terms and not the psychological term and history that it implies, so, no, I’m not about to delve into anything Jung said.

Because I have an affluence for searching for the balance in all things, I have a hard time accepting that there are only two ways of being however appealing and simplistic that may be. So, as usual, I’ll go through my pros and cons list to try to view the idea as a whole. Generally speaking, when someone calls someone else closed minded, they usually mean that they are “stubborn”, closed off to new ideas and show resistance to new ways of dealing with life things, be it job or just everyday stuff. What often gets disregarded is that there is stability and security in this mentality. Someone who is consistent in their behavior. You could go as far as say “predictable” though that’s sometimes seen as an insult. It’s easier to regiment your life when you keep to one idea and resist any others.

Open mindedness is usually seen as the better alternative to being closed because it shows an acceptance to more modern or new ways. Being closed comes off as being old and so being open is seen as being new. In our society, new is often associated with being young, fresh. Part of the culture that glorifies the values of being young and not old. The positive qualities of this open mindedness usually entail a better receptivity to new ideas, it opens the doors to creativity and allows someone to really experiment and find better ways to past solutions. The down side is the inability to hold on to a single idea or to become easily fooled by whatever comes off as being new. It’s like risk, the bigger the risk, the better the rewards. That being said, the opposite is also true. The bigger the risk, the more severe the consequence. But, if you manage risk wisely, you can have the benefits and consequences of both. Taking smaller risks but more frequently.

Like most everything in life, you need to find the balance in both extremes. Too closed and when the environment changes on you (as it always does) the harder it is to change with it. Too open and you find yourself constantly at odds with yourself because you change too often.

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