First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
– Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.
As therapists we walked a fine line between trying to understand and sympathize with clients’ points of view while not taking on their pain. It taught us to be open-minded.
When I took this short quiz I realized that open-minded is not just defined by “understanding” but can also be about taking action on behalf of others.
Here’s the quiz to find out where you stand. Score each answer using a 3 for “often,” a 2 for “sometimes,” or a 1 for “rarely.” Add them up and see where you rank.
- I like trying new things, such as foods, restaurants, music, and activities.
- I like traveling to places I have never been.
- I’m comfortable meeting new people.
- If my parent/child wanted to marry someone outside of our race I would be supportive
- I’m respectful of people of different cultures, genders, races, sexual orientation and religions.
- I’m comfortable if I am the only person of my race in a large gathering.
- If someone is being bullied, I speak up for them
- I listen patiently to another’s viewpoint, even when I disagree
- When I hear gossip, I get the facts and make up my own mind before making a decision
- When I hear racist comments, or see racial injustice, I speak up
- I treat everyone with equal respect
- I learn about world events and believe we are all connected to some degree
- I am open to new ideas
39-33: Congratulations! You are a world citizen, with an open mind.
32-26: You try to keep an open mind, but might consider expanding your horizons.
25-13: You might be closing yourself off too much from the rest of the world.
There are some studies that indicate open-minded people tend to be happier, more successful, and more charismatic than those who close themselves off or isolate.
This quiz and the six suggestions below came from a Baha’i blog that I read to help me think . . . and rethink . . . about my place in the world, my beliefs and whether I am behaving in accord with spiritual tenants.
Here are the author’s six suggestions:
1. Be more approachable
“Being honest, vulnerable and authentic will facilitate more genuine and lasting friendships. Your body language can be an important factor, making you look closed off or open to others.”
2. Let go of your preconceptions about other people and give them a chance
“We often surround ourselves with people like us, but there is a lot to gain from enlarging our social circle. Being respectful of others is the best way to receive it in return.
3. See things from another perspective
“Walking in another person’s shoes helps to open our minds and makes us less likely to be critical. When we judge less, we are less likely to be judged.”
4. Be more flexible and curious
“By being more flexible we trust that we can handle new situations. Being flexible and curious are perfect opportunities for growth.”
The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. – Albert Einstein
Be curious, not judgmental. – Walt Whitman
5. Be more trusting
“Human beings are all basically the same—in fact, we are far more alike than we are different. We share 99.9 % of our DNA. We all have insecurities, fears, talents and beauty. Focus on the positive in people and show them your best:”
6. Don’t make snap judgements, especially when it comes to people
“According to Business Insider, people typically form a first impression within 7 seconds of meeting someone new. Therefore it takes a conscious, concerted effort to not judge hastily. Try to see each person or situation with unbiased eyes—without letting prejudice, superstition or tradition get in the way. Make your own decisions rather than listening to other’s opinions. Trust yourself once you have investigated for yourself.”
“… every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality.” – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 433.