Do You Have a Closed Mind or an Open Mind?

We all probably feel as though we are generally open-minded. Generally. Do you have a closed mind or an open mind?

Success in life generally finds itself in the company of the open-minded individuals while it is more elusive for those with closed minds. Knowing your propensity for having either a closed mind or open mind might give you insight into your level of struggle for survival or tendency to have life evolve more naturally.

For instance, if you are more likely to seek to be understood rather than the need to understand others, you’re probably less open-minded than you might think you are.

When encountering a person with a difference of opinion, are you more likely to try to understand why they feel the way they do? Or do you try to convince him or her that you’re more knowledgeable and have a greater sense of expertise about the subject at hand?

An open-minded person is more interested in hearing, understanding, and may be interested in trying to understand how it might feel for someone else to have a different perspective. While a closed-minded person will assert his or her beliefs.

“I already know that.”

When someone tries to tell a closed-minded person something they already possess some knowledge about, they are likely to cut them off mid-share with, “I already know that.” In contrast, if the open-minded person knows a lot about a subject, they are willing to ask questions and listen to information, even if it represents knowledge they already possess, with the chance that they may uncover a previously undiscovered nugget or idea to consider.

A closed-minded person will state facts and statistics, rather than ask exploratory questions, like an open-minded person.

Opinions and thinking are the inalienable rights of the closed-minded person, while open-minded people are more concerned about learning more about the opinions of others and how they feel about things.

An open-minded person is always interested in raising their knowledge or awareness, with a hint of the potential knowingness of the possibility of believing something that might be expanded upon or even be wrong. Truth evolves over time. That’s why they’re more apt to be so inquisitive, as opposed to being stuck in their ways.

Open-minded people can contemplate two opposing ideas for a period of time, filtering, balancing, and comparing them to each over for a while, instead of quickly adhering to a single thought, belief, or perspective without being open to new ideas or information.

A closed-minded person is more apt to interrupt or talk-over those who are attempting to communicate their thoughts on any given subject. They are content with hearing their own voice and exerting their expertise. What others think is of little interest to them, which could create a potentially toxic energy in relationships.

Wrong-But Maneuver

If you’re a closed-minded person who wants to come off as an open-minded person, you may use the “wrong-but maneuver.” That is, to exert a bit of superiority while coming off as being understanding, like saying,

“I might be wrong, but…”

then exerting your opinion, belief, or highly regarded statistical data.

Close-minded people exert their superiority and do not engage in discussion or battles that might challenge their beliefs.

Open-minded people are more likely to exert their humility rather than their superiority.

People who are more likely to be open-minded often have a past which includes failures from which they have learned valuable lessons, while the closed-minded individual is hardly able to admit to having made mistakes in the past.

Closed-minded people are more likely to claim they have been victimized or blame others for what might have been considered a failure.

If you’re seeing some of the signs of being closed-minded in yourself, don’t be too concerned about it because you can become more open-minded, but not if you don’t know.

Most closed-minded people have no idea that they are. In most cases, they think they are completely open-minded. Seeing the inconsistency within yourself can be the key to overcoming closed-mindedness.

And if you’re open-minded, there is no judgment for those who are closed-minded, they are only doing the best they can with what they have. Maybe one day, they can change. If they don’t, it’s okay.

It takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. We all have different parts we play in the symphony of life.

Listen: Help Someone in Personal Crisis

I’ve been in the people-helping business for a long time. Although the focus of my ministry (that’s how I refer to my work, so get over it) is not helping those in crisis, it is not uncommon for a regular client to come to a place where their life intersects with a crisis scenario.

This is one reason why I am thirsty for new modalities and methods of helping people dealing with unforeseen circumstance. Having these tools in my collection can help keep the client from being derailed and thrown off-track from their progress or goals (though it is not my specialty, so if the crisis is significant, it may be time for a time-out and referral to someone who specializes in this type of challenge).

All of us have the opportunity to help someone within our social inner circle – people we know or are well-acquainted with – who need a helping hand when encountering a life crisis.

In our attempt to help someone in crisis, are we more apt to help or harm?

Therapists, counselors and clergy all hold, “help and do no harm,” as the basis of their approach when helping others; as do the rest of us. Of course, in our attempt to help someone along their life’s journey, we would hope that our assistance would be more helpful that harmful.

When people are in crisis, they are in an altered state of mind. It is easy for us to forget this when we see someone that we care about – a friend, co-worker, relative or client – suffering when dealing with an unforeseen crisis.

Your first response to anyone in this altered state of mind is critical.

For example, let’s say your best friend from high school just happens to be in town on business, has been recently diagnosed with cancer and has been given three months to live. He or she wants to meet with you for lunch to talk.

You think, “This is great,” I know so many people who have been diagnosed with cancer and kicked it, naturally, I can’t wait to share all this information with my friend. You go about collecting all the data (personal testimonials, googled information, scriptures and sample nutrients) you can find, throw them into a wheelbarrow and rush over to help your friend kick their cancer to the curb. Hooray!


When someone has just recently engaged with significant tragedy or bad news, their tendency is to sink into a somewhat depressed and/or angry state.

Your first interaction with them will either open them up to your assistance, or shut you out.

Being too aggressively helpful when someone is in psychological pain will result in them not being able to hear you. Unless they are asking you for ideas (and even so, please proceed with some restraint) their most important need is to be able to get rid of some of the frustration that they feel inside.

What they really need is someone to listen

In most cases to help someone in the best way possible is to just listen to what they have to say.

Establish trust by promising them confidentiality in regards to anything they might say – and be true to your word. Anything that they say doesn’t leave this room.

Let them use whatever terms or phrases that they feel like using, without judgment or interjection. Allowing them to vent freely without restriction is the best help you can offer in an initial sitting with someone in crisis.

Simply nod, actively listening, agree and/or encourage them to continue while they are letting it all out.

Then, when they have said all they have to say… pick your best five words to say – no more – and make an appointment to meet them to talk again.

The best way to help someone in crisis is to listen to them until they are done sharing

In doing so, you have established – with this person who is currently in a weakened state of mind – you care. If they are agreeing to meet with you again, then you can slowly and gently, offer advice (suggestions, not demands) and interact with them more, being careful not to appear non-compassionate, intolerant, have a lack of understanding or result in their alienating you.

If you truly want to help, consider, “being there,” for the people that you care about with compassion.

Show them you care by letting them share.