Closed Minded… You’re Missing Something
The valuable lesson I learned from my toddler
By Derick Turner
I once had a thought which I quickly scribbled down on a sticky note and stuck on my desk. At the time I had an impression that this was a thought I needed to hold on to, like it had some greater meaning for me.
I didn’t know what it really meant, but I know if meant something.
After finally coming to understand what this little idea had to teach me I decided it would be wise to share it with the world.
Here it is…
“Any time I’m closed minded, I regret it.”
Let me explain why that has been such an important thought in my life.
So I Think I’m Pretty Smart
Like many people, I have a healthy dose of self confidence. I think I’m pretty intelligent, educated, well-read, aware, and capable of carrying on a mature conversation. I tend to think I’m someone with things to say that are worth listening to.
While I believe it’s a good thing to believe in yourself, you can get yourself into trouble if you allow that confidence to elevate you to a point where you don’t feel the need to listen to anyone else.
If ever I’m unwilling to learn from others, no matter who they may be, I am failing myself. I’m also probably being a pompous jerk, and that’s certainly no fun for anyone.
It’s wise to seek out education and experience, but its foolish if you allow that to lead you to a state of pride and arrogance.
It’s a constant battle for me to keep pushing myself to learn and grow, while not allowing that growth to mislead me into thinking I know it all. Only a fool allows himself to become overly confident. Unfortunately, sometimes I can be a fool.
But Sometimes I’m Not as Smart as I Think
I recall a day I was spending time with my 4 year old daughter, engaged in a deep conversation about princesses, when she taught me a valuable lesson.
She was telling me how some of the imaginary princesses she was playing with were being mean to the other imaginary princesses because they didn’t want to play the same game. She was upset by this and noted that this was not nice.
She addressed the princess party and made it very clear that they didn’t have to be mean to each other just to get their way. She told them they were all good and should all have fun together. She then turned to me and said in the cutest little smarty-pants toddler voice, “See, because they are all princesses!”
I watched this imaginary scene unfold in awe, and I couldn’t be more mesmerized or proud.
While I was happy to hear that one of my own lessons had somehow made its way into her mind, I was more pleased to see that she understood it well enough to teach her “friends” how to get along. Most importantly perhaps was the joy I felt in seeing her understand that everyone is special.
The lesson was heightened for me that day because around that same time in my own life, I was struggling to see eye to eye with some individuals I had to interact with. In my frustrations, I had closed my mind to the idea that I could actually learn and grow from my involvement with them. I was being prideful, selfish, and foolish.
I learned a great deal from my young daughter that day. She helped me see just how smart I really wasn’t. I was humbled and grateful for that learning experience. How fortunate I was to have such a wise and adorable teacher.
If You Want to be Smart, Act Smart
Back to my original thought… “Any time I’m closed minded, I regret it.”
I’ve thought a lot lately about how I sometimes allow myself to think small thoughts. Any time I close my mind to the possibility of learning from others I am missing out. Any time I let myself think I am better than someone else, I am wrong. Any time I trick myself into thinking that I have learned enough about any topic, I am a fool.
When we allow ourselves to close our minds to living a full life, learning from everything, seeing the good in others, and believing we can be better, we are selling ourselves short. Each and every time I’ve done one of these things, I’ve come to regret it.
In that hindsight, after the dust has settled and the figurative carnage is laid before me, I’ve realized the mistake I had made. Each time I closed my mind I missed out on an opportunity to do more with my life and grow from the experience.
I too often forget the simple truth that I want to be a nice person. I want to be a happy person, whom people enjoy being around. When I allow my pride to prevent my open mindedness, I always regret not being the person I really want to be.
A Smart Person May Regret, But Then They Grow
Any time I close my mind to anything, I am blinding myself to seeing something more. That is perhaps the simplest and saddest truth of this lesson.
Closing, hiding, turning away from; these are all actions of someone who is afraid. That will never lead to growth and expansion of your soul. You will never be a better person for staying exactly the same as you are.
I’m renewing my attention to being open minded. I’ve seen the results of not doing so, and I don’t prefer them. If we are all wise, we would not let anything, especially ourselves, limit our potential.
A truly wise person will be open to the fact that we are all here to help each other grow and become more. In so doing, we just might find that we’re pretty smart after all.
Question: When have you recognized you were choosing to be closed minded, and what do you feel you lost from that choice? Leave a comment below.