Bryan Dijkhuizen

4 Habits of Open-Minded People

I see myself as open-minded.

We all like to be seen as open-minded, don’t we?

Then why does it seem like an awful lot of people don’t have the capacity to step out of their comfort zone and think outside the box? 

Isn’t that true open-mindedness?

If you want to know how I experience open-mindedness, read on and find out in this article about the 4 habits of open-minded people.

1. Willingness to listen to other people

You will not learn if you do not listen.

That doesn’t mean you’d have to believe and absorb everything other people tell you. But it’s necessary to be open to the possibility of learning by listening. 

Even to people you highly disagree with.

That’s part of being open-minded. You’ll learn more than you think. 

You will never learn if:

  • You’re stubborn and only believe in your own thoughts.
  • Don’t listen to other people and just swim around in your own pool of information.
  • Stay in your comfort zone and ask for advice from the same peer group over and over again.

But you can change that.

According to psychology, there are a couple of types of listening. Important for now are:

  • Critical listening: when the listener is actively thinking about what the other person is saying and questioning it.
  • Biased listening: is quite obvious. When you’re listening with a bias you’re only taking in the information that will benefit your stance in the conversation. Not very open-minded.
  • Informational listening: is like when you were in school or college. You’re taking in the information and trying to process it to be able to apply it later.

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” 


And this is what you should do next time someone is trying to talk to you about a topic that isn’t really yours:

  • Try to listen unbiasedly and open yourself up to new topics.
  • Listen truthfully and give the other person a chance to explain themselves.
  • Be critical of what you hear and try to complement the one who’s talking, but let him/her finish. 
  • Don’t talk about your own experiences, it’s not about you. Mention things that might resonate with the other person.

If you can try that, and practice it over and over again, you’ll become more open-minded.

2. The ability to accept other people and their lifestyle

There are a lot of people that are not like you. 

Most of us are very different and we all find that a good thing. At least, we want to believe that’s the case.

Most people aren’t accepted because of their:

  • Political preference
  • Sexual — romantic preference and gender identity
  • Mental or physical state
  • Appearance

Just a personal example, I’m autistic and I see it’s very difficult to understand some of the issues I’m having. 

That’s only one of them. 

But what can you do?

You don’t have to understand other people. It’s impossible to understand everybody. You don’t even have to agree with them, but you should be accepting them.

There’s a lot I don’t agree with. People’s lifestyles really make me think, but that doesn’t mean I don’t accept them. 

In fact, it really hurts me to see other people use violence or hate people for just who they are. 

It’s sad that it still happens.

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” 

William James

So before you’re having your opinion ready on somebody, remember they’re humans too. They have feelings. We should all love each other.

3. The capacity to change 

“The only thing that is constant is change.” 


Although change is difficult for us, because we’re more comfortable staying the way we are, it’s necessary to become better versions of ourselves.

We change all the time.

We grow up from children to adults and have to go through all kinds of changes in our lifetime. These things sometimes aren’t so fun and we’d rather not, but happen anyway.

But sometimes there’s forced change.

  • At school: when certain behavior is being altered in order to become what society expects of you.
  • In relationships: you and your partner might differ a lot in nature and that can be difficult. Growing towards each other is good for your relationship and that requires change from both ends.
  • In careers: when you’re financial with your back against the wall, you’re forced to change. You need to do something that makes a change. 
  • In health: forced change is often seen in health as well, you’re living an unhealthy life and suddenly you end up in the hospital. Something that forces you to change your behavior.

Simply put, change is difficult. 

But it’s essential for an open-minded person to be flexible and capable of change.

4. Embracing mindfulness and living to a standard

Mindfulness is a very effective way of self-care.

In fact, more and more people try mindfulness. They’ve realized that taking care of your own mind is so important. Especially after 2.5 years of lockdowns, you know what you need.

Here are a few techniques that help:

  • Daily meditation 2 times a day, helps you to remain at peace of mind and it gives you the insights you need to rethink your opinions and lifestyle.
  • Connecting to your inner child is an underrated aspect of your life. Caring about your little self will make you happier. 
  • Mindful walking is something that everybody should try. Nowadays everybody walks around wearing AirPods or other earphones, but going outside, in nature, and listening to all the sounds the earth provides is something that gives you so much peace.

“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh

And that’s exactly what we need to realize more. We should be living in the moment, not worrying about the future.

That’s something the stoic people teach about:

  • Don’t worry about the things that aren’t within your control.
  • They believed that living in harmony with nature was essential for personal fulfillment and happiness.
  • Stoics believe that self-discipline was essential for personal growth and development.

One of the things that I always tell people is that if it isn’t within your control, you shouldn’t worry about it. If it’s in your power to change something about it, do it, so that you don’t worry about it. 

It’s simple.

Final Thoughts

If you feel like you’re an open-minded person, go through all these points and think again.

Most people are way less open-minded than they think. But by using these habits, we can change a little bit.

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