Sep 29, 2015

    Be open-minded or stubborn? It depends

    YOU may have heard this saying, "Be open-minded, look at it from another point of view," which suggests looking at other options or opinions rather than focusing on just the one in front of you.

    Then there are adages like "Tough times don't last, tough people do," which encourage the person to keep grinding on with the initial idea he had.

    So which works? Being open-minded or being stubborn?

    I personally believe that when we arrive at this crossroad, we should look at this particular advice: "Knowledge is having clarity of facts and truth, wisdom is the ability to put knowledge to good use."

    So it really isn't the question of whether being open-minded or stubborn is better, but which is most useful at that specific point in time.

    Here are some pointers that may help clear the air and aid you in making better decisions in the future.


    Open-mindedness is about allowing the experiences of others to affect or challenge our own world view and beliefs, and this process sometimes brings us to question the very core of who we are.

    Because there are other opinions that can get into our heads, we have to be strong in understanding our own standards of values and beliefs, then weigh them against new inputs.

    Faith or belief that is unchallenged is as good as dead. A reasonable doubt is necessary in order to test the foundations of our own beliefs.

    Being open-minded does not mean that I blindly accept the opinions of others, nor does it mean a person has no opinion.

    When a new opinion arises, a person adjusts and reviews his own conclusion regarding the issue, and considers if the new option is worthy to be reviewed, kept or discarded - all the while trying to understand the other party.

    In our mind, we are slowly but surely weighing all the options and suggestions, until we come to a conclusion.


    While I do agree that there are negative connotations towards the word, stubbornness can actually be an important part of life, as it brings focus to what needs to be considered and the method we would like to use to achieve a certain goal.

    For starters, stubborn people are more decisive in their actions. Such a person has an understanding of self-identity and world view and, compared with more open-minded people, they have built barriers in order to safeguard against other influences.

    It is important to note that not all stubborn people are close-minded. However, it is a self-directed choice.

    Stubbornness is a precursor to perseverance. Stubborn people have strong convictions and are not easily swayed by circumstances or critiques.

    They know exactly what they want, how they want to get to their goals and rarely settle for anything less than what they had in mind.

    One problem that may arise is when the strongly held idea or value is misplaced in the first place. Then it would take a big challenge for others to convince them that there are other paths to take.

    Regardless of what you choose, to be open-minded or stubborn, the most important thing is to realise what would be most useful in a given situation.

    As humans, we sometimes think it needs to be one or the other, but think about it: Why can't it be a choice of adapting to what you need to be?

    After all, having knowledge of both aspects means you have the flexibility of choice on a matter.


    The writer is one of the youth programme executives at social enterprise Leaderonomics.

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