An Open and Closed Case

A closed mind is one that makes it difficult to learn, grow or succeed; at least not to our full potential.         

When the creator of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, first pitched his idea to his own contacts they were skeptical and hesitant. Why would they share their valuable network of business contacts with everybody else?         

What ultimately won these early users over was the realization that the opportunities created by being part of a much larger group far outweighed the fear of sharing their own contacts with the masses. The benefits far eclipsed the costs.          

Being open to new experiences and new ideas is what fuels growth and opportunity. Not surprisingly, this is true whether we’re talking about individuals, businesses, or entire countries. Seeing things in a different light requires an open and more curious mind though.         

It also takes faith and trust. You won’t like everybody you meet or have contact with. You also won’t always agree with their ideas and views. But by exposing yourself to what exists outside your small box and not just within it, you start to ask more questions. Why do I think my idea is better? What traits does that person have that I would like to have? Or conversely and often more important, what do I see in another that I never want to see in myself? Sometimes the best lessons teach us what not to do and how not to act. In that sense, everybody has something to teach us, whether we like them or not.            

Stepping outside your box is the first step and it doesn’t have to be a big step. Not a social person? Go online and reach out to others. Think. Visualize. Connect. Read. As legendary investor Warren Buffett says, “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think.”         

Another idea, as crazy as it may sound, is to talk to yourself more. You might be surprised at the answers you come up with to your own questions. As humans we’re wired to embrace patterns and habits but by not pushing back against this natural tendency, we severely limit ourselves and what we can accomplish and achieve.         

A closed perspective loses for the simple reason that it maintains the status quo. It never expands and never allows for other options or ideas to be considered. An open perspective, however, always wins because by default it’s limitless and as a result, what it can offer us is also limitless.


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