Life Skills: Open-mindedness is listening to new ideas

Teaching character and life skills to students

Being open-minded is not just about trying new things – it is also about trying new ideas, or at the least being open to listen to new ideas.  One of the best examples of this is the reaction of the giant organization IBM in the brand new age of computers.  IBM was a company that had built themselves on their service and “main frame” computers.  These were huge and powerful and used by large corporations.  However along came the idea of a “personal” computer, one that would sit on your desk and used by the common person in an office.  The reaction was that this was a silly idea, one that would serve no purpose and not useful.  But as time has passed we see that not being open to this ‘new idea’ caused IBM to fall behind in that area of business and they had to scramble to make up for this lost time.

Being open to new ideas though also means that we have to use our common sense and measure the ideas against our morals, values and ethics.  Not all new ideas are good for everyone, not all are legal, not all are healthy.  How do you know when a new idea is a good one or bad one?  One way is to ask yourself what your brain, heart, and gut tells you.  “Is this new idea a good choice for me?”  If we are not sure or just confused we may need more information or we may need to ask someone that is more experienced than ourselves.

Being open minded does not give us license to do things that are illegal, or that hurt others or ourselves.  It does allow us to listen to and make choices that are good for ourselves and others.

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