If you’ve ever tried to convince a stranger on the internet that they are wrong and you are right, you understand the concept of narrow-mindedness. But whose?
not willing to listen to or tolerate other people’s views; prejudiced.
Because we choose what we see on the internet, we tend to choose things that please us and ignore things that make us consider other points of view. This leads to polarization and the inability to understand people in our own society.
It’s how families, friendships and even countries are split apart.
We will not willingly visit an unpleasant website when there are so many better choices, any more than we will eat vegetables when pie is available.
But we can take other steps to open ourselves to possibilities and broaden our thoughts and opinions.
Here are a few:
Try new things. When you eat in a new international restaurant, you smell new smells and taste new flavors. The same is true for new experiences of all kinds. Get a massage, swim in a river, listen to a new radio station or watch a different news station for a week or two. It will show you just how much you have been missing.
Close your eyes and pay attention. When you see a man in a dirty shirt, he may just be a messy eater. He may also be in the middle of a dirty project, have a small child that just vomited on him, or have a broken washing machine. Likewise, when you see someone dressed in fad clothing, they may be passing through a phase of their life in which they are questioning. Judging them will not change them, it will only alienate a person who may have a lot of new ideas and perspectives.
Read and watch non-fiction. When you strengthen your skill set or learn about historic or current figures you put yourself out of your own pattern of thinking and absorb pure information.
Widen your circle of influence. When you make new friends you learn from their habits as well as their opinions. There is an old saying, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” to improve, move.
Travel. New sights and new people are the single most important mind broadening experience you can have, even if the only traveling you do is across your own town. (Reading is a very close second.)
Stop criticizing. When you look for reasons to tear another person down, you are not seeing their potential and you are damaging your own. When you lift another person, you find new ways to improve your own life and the lives of people around you. (You also find yourself loved and appreciated, which is never a bad thing!)
Listen. You already know what you think and when you use your time talking about your own thoughts, you miss important ones others may have. Instead of formulating an answer to a question while the other person is talking, hear what they are saying and respond to them without trying to persuade. Your opinion will matter more to someone who feels their opinion matters to you.
Emulate. Choose a hero or two and do they would do. Would the Dali Lama talk over the words of a friend with whom he disagreed ? Would Mother Teresa yell insults out a car window?