open-mindedness: overcoming fear of meeting new people

As we talk about the idea of open-mindedness we do not need to lose our convictions or preferences, but being open to new approaches or new way of doing things will help us to grow.  One way of doing this is to meet new people and be willing to listen to them and their story.  

One of my instructors talks to us on a regular basis about “who do you hang out with?”  If we are choosing to only be with people that think the same way as we do then our ability to grow and expand our thinking and creativity will be limited.  But this is hard at times to do because of the fear we have inside us.

I have that fear.  When going into a room of people I do not know, all kinds of questions run through my mind.  Will I meet anyone I know?  Will the people I meet like me?  Will I say something stupid?  But here is what I have learned.  Be open to meeting new people with the idea in your mind of – What can I do to help you?  Yes, what can I do for you?  Not what can I get from this person.  
Once you have this point of reference the conversations flow easier and it really puts us at ease.  Just as important, you will listen more closely to the person speaking so you can hear their point of view.  When that happens is when being openminded will really pay off, with increased knowledge and awareness of other ways of thinking.

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