OPINION: Shut the door on old opinions, open your mind

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When you walk out of your parents’ home, you leave a lot behind. You leave behind your friends, your high school yearbooks and years of memories.

OK, we’re not completely depressing here; you take the most important memories with you.

However, the one thing that needs to be left at the door when we come to college are our parents’ opinions.

That’s not to say that our parents’ opinions are not valued, because they are. Those opinions and beliefs rowed you to the safety of that tropical island amidst many storms of uncertainty.

But it is time for change. Once you are on your own, you have the ability to make up your own mind, and you should exercise that freedom and newfound responsibility. You have grown into a new version of the person your parents molded, and it is OK to stray from the original mold.

Stop being so closed-minded, because not opening your mind (even just a tiny bit) can really leave you in the dust.

“Perhaps we need the constant reminders to be open minded because it’s such a hard state to sustain … Psychologists call humans cognitive misers and have identified various ways that we shut out information in order to process more efficiently,” Kristi Hedges said in her Forbes’ article, “How to keep an open mind.”

We are biased in perception, where we are programed to find information that sustains what we have already been thinking, and by doing that we are closing our minds, Hedges said.

The concept of shutting out pieces of information to process that information more efficiently is just terrifying. The amount of opportunity and information we are missing out on because of that seems astronomical.

So look outside your norm and don’t let some type of deep-seated bias ruin an opportunity for you.

My parents have strictly expressed to me, “If you don’t try it, you could be missing out on the best thing.”

That statement has held true for food, friends, opportunities and just life in general.

Being open-minded is hard. It’s hard even if you’ve grown up with the concept being forced on you, but there are benefits that extend past specific experiences.

Author and blogger, Dani DiPirro, of PositivelyPresent.com listed, “The 7 benefits of being open-mided” as:

  • Letting go of control
  • Experiencing changes
  • Making yourself vulnerable
  • Making mistakes
  • Strengthening yourself
  • Gaining confidence
  • Being honest

You are bound to experience new things when you open your mind and strengthen who you are as a person. You find yourself. It’s impossible to build yourself as a person without taking risks or making mistakes, that’s where you learn.

And although you may have already made the decision to skip out on joining a sorority or fraternity, running for a leadership position in your residence hall or going to that first club meeting, that doesn’t mean you still can’t open your mind and try to get a bit more involved.

Because if you open your mind or even change it, you can always go through recruitment next year. By closing your mind you may be missing out on lifelong friendships and a bunch of opportunities.

The same goes for leadership positions, as they are opening up all over the place across campus. Just because you missed out on running for one, doesn’t mean that you won’t find more purpose in a completely different position or organization.

And just because you missed the first meeting or the first three years of your major’s club doesn’t mean you can’t still find your place, make friends and be successful.

Feel challenged to jump outside of your comfort zone and be a bit more open- minded. Think you are open-minded enough already? Take the Psychology Today Quiz, “How open-minded are you? (A quiz)” by Susan Perry.

In 10 quick questions and a little skill in adding numbers, you can find out if you are a “Mental Adventurer” like me, who is open to experience and interested in discovering new ideas, or maybe a “Rut-Sticker” who tends to be a follower.

No matter your results, it doesn’t matter as long as you keep an open mind because there is so much in this world to see and experience, and it starts today.

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