Quote of the Week 28: Human Greatness Begins With An Open Mind

We all need to ask ourselves how open we are to other people. Are we ready to listen and learn, or do we imagine we already know all we need to know? A closed mind is an unhappy mind, going nowhere fast, sad and lonely . . .

We are a stubborn lot, aren’t we?

What do you think Shaw had in mind in this quote? This question is essential; the quote is so general, it could be understood in many ways. You could change your mind about anything, and everything, in the Universe. The quote’s too general; we need to examine just one kind of change we might need to make.

Let’s focus on stubbornness. Why? Well, many of us have a stubborn streak. I certainly do. Maybe you do, too. What drives a stubborn attitude? I believe it’s pride. I don’t mean the justifiable pride you take in a hard-earned achievement. No, but the pride that is an exaggerated view of one’s own importance. Such people often think they’re better than everyone else!

Above all, pride always wants to be right. Pride hates to make a mistake. Let’s be honest; we hate it even more when others find out we made that mistake. Our pride is hurt. We feel angry and resentful, ready to lash out at the nearest person, especially someone we consider weaker than we are.

How to “lose friends and alienate people”

It’s easy to see why such a proud, stubborn person couldn’t change anything that needed other people’s vote! A proud person has very little influence on others. That proud attitude puts people off. The last thing they want to do is listen to what that proud, stubborn person wants. Such a person is the very last person able to “win friends, and influence people.”

A proud person clings to their own view of things. They have a closed mind. Their pride tells them they’ve nothing to learn from other people. Have you ever noticed something very interesting about such people? Their conversations are completely one-sided: their own side. They want to do all the talking.

You don’t even listen!

The proud person is passionate about telling others what’s right and wrong, true and false. Notice something very telling: proud people never listen. “My way or the highway,” seems to be their operating principle, and mindset. What’s the result of such interaction? They have shut themselves off from learning anything. They only talk about what they already believe.

If anyone else tells them something different, new, challenging, they are already miles away in their own mind. They are already rehearsing and repeating their own view of the matter. They have locked themselves into a mental prison. They cannot get out, and other people can’t get in.

Can you imagine how sad and lonely that must be? How much better it would be if they unlocked their little prison gates, and shut up for once, and just listened. They would learn so much, in so little time. Their world would expand overnight. It would be like walking in a new, exotic wonderland of the mind.

Delight in an open mind

Perhaps we could sum up the general sense of the quote in this way: have an open mind. An open mind enjoys a feast of learning, a feast of relationship with everyone they meet.

A closed mind learns nothing, gives nothing, enjoys nothing. A closed mind desperately needs a loving person to reach out, forgive him, accept him. A closed mind needs an open mind to love him, befriend him, and gradually open up his mind, to a new world of human sharing.

Gerry McCann


P.S. Have you any examples of stubborn people that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment ¬†below.

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