Opening closed minds

Sometimes we can create the space where closed minds open before us. When we speak someone's mind, it appears we respect, understand and relate to that mind. We must not be an enemy or pose a threat as was previously assumed. From our portrayal or their interests, concerns and accomplishments, the space shifts from feeling very adversarial to potentially collaborative. The tension level goes down and the trust level goes up.

To get to a place where we can speak someone's mind, we need a process of discovering what's on their mind and verifying the accuracy of our impressions. We rarely succeed when we assume what he or she is thinking because we're extremely prone to project our own mind onto others. In these situations, we've got a lot to learn that depends on the quality of questions we're using. When we face a mystery that defies our predictions and usual suspicions, we're in a good place to discover what's on others' minds.

It takes an open mind to open another mind. We cannot be shooting the messenger or clinging to one right answer when it's time to investigate what concerns occupy a closed mind. We need a process that begins and ends with wonder, as we find in every spacious network. We need a wide range of tolerable deviance that welcomes diversity and embraces differences. Our broad-minded outlook will appear inviting and reassuring to the others.

There are spaces which close our own minds and defeat our attempts to open others. These spaces pose threats, frighten us and put us on the defensive. They make it seem like we're in some kind of danger that naturally gives us the urge to put up walls, harden our categories and fortify our arguments. These spaces ready us for battle, confrontations and counter-accusations. We expect we will need to shift the blame, avoid attacks and watch our backs in these spaces.

Sometimes life happens to provide shattering experiences which force closed minds to open. We experience eating humble pie while falling off our high horse. We thought we were entirely right until we encounter the missing truth. Our delusions of grandeur fall apart as we realize what we were missing, dismissing or ruling out.  Our wake up call shows us new ways to see ourselves, the others and some opportunities to accommodate their interests.

When our own minds a closed, we want to give others one of those shattering experiences. We assume that they need is piece of our mind. We feel the urge to get what's on our mind told regardless of how it feels to hear it. Of course that kills the space that  where closed minds open up. We may even close previously opened mind with our urgent exhortations.

When our minds are open, we can say things like:

  1. I see where you're coming from now that I've calmed down
  2. I now realize what you've been trying to accomplish
  3. I suspect you've been concerned about some issues I've neglected
  4. I know you've tried to get my attention before this
  5. I think a get what you've been saying that I couldn't hear before now
  6. I believe you want to be careful and make a good decision about this
  7. I've changed my mind about what's on your mind

Making these kinds of announcements creates the space here closed minds open before us. We may be doing the talking but it sounds like we've done a bunch of listening.

No comments:

Post a Comment