A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Open-mindedness: The Only Way to Cultivate It

I think a LOT about open-mindedness, because becoming open-minded has improved my life so dramatically, and because I live in a place where many people are decidedly NOT open-minded, though they usually think they are. (Self-deception is another topic that intrigues me.) I want to broaden my own mind more and more, and I want to help others achieve the same benefits. In my Toastmasters club I have given speeches about open-mindedness, and in my personal writing projects I’ve written pages upon pages about it. I care deeply and passionately about open-mindedness; I see it as a force that fuels positive, world-changing progress.

But I also see a problem with all these efforts of mine: they are futile. Here is why:

“There are two things which cannot be attacked in front: ignorance and narrow-mindedness. They can only be shaken by the simple development of the contrary qualities. They will not bear discussion.”  –Lord Acton

Open-mindedness is not something you can talk people into; to my disappointment, it just doesn’t work like that. The only way to successfully help other people become open-minded is by exposing them to new ideas—in short, by education.

That is what ultimately motivates me to share my “studies tidbits,” though there are plenty of other factors, too, such as that I just like writing about what I’m learning. I’m going to keep writing and thinking about open-mindedness, but only because I can’t help it; the fire in me is too great to be squelched. But I will not forget that the only real way to help my culture grow more open-minded is to help my culture become more educated.

At the end of the day, if I’ve made a difference, then that’s wonderful. But if not, I’m at least grateful for how education has opened my own mind—and by extension, my life—and continues to do so.

Lord Acton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lord Acton
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


4 comments on “Open-mindedness: The Only Way to Cultivate It

  1. 2flames1soul
    October 2, 2013

    great post!! You make a difference in all you do it just doesn’t always show right away 😉


  2. emilievardaman
    May 7, 2014

    It am so glad to see that you don’t consider education to simply be a matter of what happens in a classroom. We are all educators, and our specialties must include open-mindedness, compassion, and kindness. Thank you for your words.


  3. lucindasagemidgorden
    May 7, 2014

    Sarrah, I agree with Emilie. We become educated in so many different ways, not just at school. That’s why discussions of all kinds are important.


  4. Sarrah J. Woods
    May 7, 2014

    Thank you both for these thoughts. Honestly, it hadn’t even occurred to me that someone might think I meant “education” as in-classroom education only. Sometimes I can be dense like that! I definitely meant it broadly, in the sense of learning and growing through any means. In my own life, my self-education through reading, studying, reflecting, etc. is much more important to me than courses I’ve taken, although I do love school! Anyway, I’m glad you pointed this out to me. I might revise the post for clarity.


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This entry was posted on September 19, 2013 by in Discoveries from Living and tagged , , , , .
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