Open your mind and learn something new every day {Project Live Life 27}


I’ve written the start of this piece about five times and I don’t seem to be able to get rid of the slightly preachy tone. So I am just going to have to go with it {sorry!}

Tell me if you agree with this:

Ignorance is the root of just about all of the world’s problems.

People don’t like the word ignorant because they feel it’s very disparaging. And fair enough; ‘ignorant’ is after all just another word for ‘uneducated’ and it’s a super-short jump from ‘uneducated’ to ‘stupid’.

No one likes being told their stupidity is the cause of the problems of the world – I sure don’t.

So let’s use the term ‘lack of understanding’ instead. It’s a lot less snappy than ‘ignorance’, but also a lot less confronting.

Lack of understanding is the root of just about all of the world’s problems.

There. That’s better right?

{Ironically, in the above I’ve demonstrated how, if I didn’t have an understanding of how people think, I would have happily pressed on with being a bit offensive in telling people how to combat their ignorance.}

There’s no way we can understand everything about everything. We can only understand what we come across in our travels through life.

What we can do however is approach our travels through life with an open mind as this is what facilitates constant learning. Indeed (as Einstein is credited with saying):

“The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.”

Nothing has exposed me to more new ideas than blogging.

Sharing ideas here on my blog and having my ideas challenged has taught me a lot. Reading other people’s blogs and being exposed to hundreds of different points-of-view has exposed me to a world far beyond my own little corner.

Over the past five or so years I have changed my views on more things than I can count. I have become a lot less judgemental. I make less assumptions. In short, I have become more understanding of the people in the world around me.

And now I’m starting to sound like I want you give me a medal!

Don’t worry – I’m still pretty imperfect. While my mind is pretty open, my stubbornness often overrides my ability to see the point-of-view of others. Especially if ‘others’ = the person I married.

But I digress.

How do we keep learning? And can we really learn something new every day?

Of course! We can:

  • Watch tv programs
  • Read newspapers
  • Read books
  • Read blogs
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Have conversations with people who challenge our thinking
  • Have conversations with strangers

How do we make sure we are learning with an open mind? Well we need to be aware of confirmation bias – that being our natural tendency to focus or interpret information that confirms the way we already think, and under weigh or ignore information that doesn’t.

So in summary – never stop learning … and try to do that learning with a truly open mind.