One of our mottos here at Tucketts is Open Toes, Open Mind -- it’s even on the front of our packaging! But what does “open mind” really mean? What does being open-minded look and feel like, and how can we cultivate it in our daily lives?
First stop, the dictionary!
open-mind·ed | \ ˌō-pən-ˈmīn-dəd
This is a great starting point: to be open-minded means you’re open and receptive to hearing and considering ideas and opinions that are not our own or perhaps we are not familiar with (yet). But this seems easier said than done, right? How do we actually start to cultivate an open-mind?
In our recent interview with Rael Isacowitz, founder of BASI Pilates, he mentions the importance of always being a beginner. He mentions one of our favorite books, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki with its famous opening line: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” This is an incredible example of open-mindedness: when we are open to many possibilities, we are less confined by our assumptions or preconceived notions, so that we can approach each new experience with the fresh mindset of a beginner.
Rael goes on to say, “We need to always keep the mindset of a student. We cannot enter into the mindset that we are teachers and therefore not students. No. Because we are teachers it is imperative to keep the mindset of a student. It is our duty to keep that mindset of a student so that you are always learning and that you are always feeling a connection with your students and what they are going through. I have an agreement with myself: every few years I teach myself new sports, new activities, that make me feel like a beginner. And make me feel the frustration of learning something new, and sometimes being scared, and sometimes that fear and feeling of [being] uncoordinated so that I know all the time what students feel like.”
An open mind can actually spread into all aspects of life. With an open mind, we can engage and connect more with others, be more creative, think more freely, feel and show more compassion to others, be open to the wonders of the world around us, and ultimately improve our experiences and enrich our life.
As we get a fresh start with a new calendar year in 2021, now is the perfect time to reflect on our past and present, and then create a new vision of how we want to operate in our day to day lives going forward. Here are some tips we’ve gathered to help you to cultivate an open-mind…
- Try something new: try a new workout class, walk a route that you’ve never walked before, learn a new skill, try a new ingredient in a new recipe: the possibilities are endless, and trying new things is good for your brain too!
- Stay curious: enter into each new day and each new situation with curiosity instead of hard-wired assumptions, stories, or conclusions. You just may be surprised what you may encounter when leading with an open-mind!
- Ask questions: instead of allowing our minds to jump to conclusions, stay open and ask questions when we aren’t sure of something. Our minds can easily construct stories and conclusions based only on our past experiences. Stay open to the answers you may discover.
- Stay flexible: Something not going according to plan? With a rigid mindset, it can be easy to dwell on things not going how we planned, but by staying flexible and open to new possibilities, we can more easily approach problem solving so we can stay flexible during challenging times or situations.
- Allow yourself to evolve: It is easy to become rigid in how we do things and how we view ourselves. If we identify too much with an unchanging occupation or title or persona, we can end up feeling stuck. If we stay curious with ourselves and allow ourselves to explore new ways of being in the world, we can stay open to our own evolution. Whether it’s a big career shift, or just a new morning routine, allow yourself to change and allow others around you to change as well.
- Always be a beginner: as Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind teaches us, staying with a mindset of a beginner will help keep our minds open to new ideas and possibilities. Each day is a chance to start over and learn something new and to become a better version of ourselves.
- Practice humility: as our Founder, Paola said in her interview with Rael, “When you think you know everything, there is no room for new learning, and your vision is so square and narrow.” See if you can practice staying humble and notice how that can help you cultivate an open mind.
- Notice your inner critic: Sometimes our inner critic (and/or critical people around us) gets in the way of us seeing all that we are capable of. When we are putting our attention towards judging ourselves and others, we are not putting our attention towards the world of opportunities out there. Try listening to the voice inside your head and notice if she or he sounds kind and compassionate or is a constant stream of criticism. There’s no getting rid of our inner critic completely, but we can start to create space around it, so that we can stay open-minded to our full potential and the full potential of others around us.
- Allow yourself to be amazed: Look around and see the wonders all around you! There’s a world to be explored if we open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. When we notice the small wonders and the big wonders alike, we can explore the opportunity for unlimited potential in our lives.
- Practice living in the present moment: When we set aside the past and future, it can free us up to fully notice what’s happening for us in the present moment. Living in the now, without too much worry about the past or about the future, is challenging to achieve, but with some practice, it can be so rewarding. Give it a try any time of the day!
Give some or all of these a try to see how you can live more open-mindedly in 2021 and beyond!