Closed Minded… You’re Missing Something

The valuable lesson I learned from my toddler

Several weeks ago I had a thought which I quickly scribbled down on a sticky note and stuck on my desk. I had a feeling this was a thought I needed to hold on to.

After finally coming to understand what this thought truly meant, I decided it would be wise of me to share it with the world.

Here it is…

“Any time I’m closed minded, I regret it.”

Let me explain why that has been so important to me.

So I Think I’m Pretty Smart

Like many people, I have a healthy dose of self confidence. I think I’m pretty intelligent, educated, well-read, aware, and capable of carrying on a mature conversation. I think I’m someone with things to say that are worth listening to.

While I believe it’s a good thing to believe in yourself, you can get yourself into trouble if you allow that confidence to elevate you to a point where you don’t feel the need to listen to anyone else.

If ever I am unwilling to learn from others, no matter who they are, I am failing myself. I’m probably being a pompous jerk too! That’s not good.

It’s wise to seek out education and experience, but its foolish if you allow that to lead to a state of pride and arrogance.

It’s a constant battle for me to keep pushing myself to learn and grow, while not allowing that growth to mislead me into thinking I’m “too cool.” Only a fool allows himself to become overly confident. Unfortunately, sometimes I can be a fool.

But Sometimes I’m Not as Smart as I Think  

I was spending time with my 4 year recently, engaged in a deep conversation about princesses, when she taught me a valuable lesson.

She was telling me how some of the imaginary princesses she was playing with were being mean to the other imaginary princesses because they didn’t want to play the same game. She was upset by this and noted that this was not nice.

She addressed the princess party and made it very clear that they didn’t have to be mean to each other just to get their way. She told them they were all good and should all have fun together. She then turned to me and said in the cutest little smarty-pants toddler voice, “See, because they are all princesses!”

I watched this imaginary scene unfold in awe, and I couldn’t be more proud.

While I was happy to hear that one of my own lessons had somehow made its way into her mind, I was more pleased to see that she understood it well enough to teach her “friends” how to get along. Even more so, I was so proud to see her understand that everyone is special.

Around that same time I was struggling in my own life with some individuals I had to interact with. I had closed my mind to the idea that I could grow from interacting with them. I learned a great deal from my toddler that day as to just how smart I really wasn’t. I was humbled and grateful for that experience, and I’m grateful my adorable toddler helped me understand this lesson.

If You Want to be Smart, Act Smart

Back to my original thought… “Any time I’m closed minded, I regret it.”

I’ve thought a lot lately about how I sometimes allow myself to think small thoughts. Any time I close my mind to the possibility of learning from others I am missing out. Any time I let myself think I am better than someone else, I am wrong. Any time I trick myself into thinking that I have learned enough about any topic, I am a fool.

When we allow ourselves to close our minds to living a full life, learning from everything, seeing the good in others, and believing we can be better, we are selling ourselves short. Every time I have realized I’ve done one of these things, I’ve come to regret it.

I’ve realized that I missed out on an opportunity to do more with my life, or the opportunity to grow from an experience. I always regret when I’m not a nicer person who makes others feel comfortable and happy. I regret not being someone who I would want to know.

A Smart Person May Regret, But Then They Grow

Any time I close my mind to anything, I am blinding myself to seeing something more. That is perhaps the simplest and saddest truth of this lesson.

Closing, hiding, turning away from; these are all actions of someone who is afraid. That will never lead to growth and expansion of your soul. You will never be a better person for staying exactly the same as you are.

I challenge myself, and you if you’re willing, to make certain to not close your mind. Don’t let anything, especially yourself, limit your potential. Open up to the fact that we are all here to help each other grow and become more. In so doing, I just might find that I’m pretty smart after all.

 

Question: When have you recognized you were choosing to be closed minded, and what do you feel you lost from that choice? Leave a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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