An Open-Mind and Positive Attitude Will Make All the Difference
Oftentimes in interviews, we’ll see famous actors, writers, athletes or scientists asked the question, “What is the best advice you have ever received?” Sometimes, these people will say things like, “Be Yourself” or “Stay positive.” Taken in the abstract, this can seem trite. Life experiences, both individual and cumulative, are so personal and intimate to each individual.
It’s impossible for us to place ourselves in the shoes of another person, at the given moment where a life-changing dispense of advice was received. We’ll always relate better to our own moments. Without proper context, words like “Attitude is Everything,” don’t retain their same emotional value. They’re better explained through anecdotes and stories like this one:
A few weeks before the start of my college basketball career, my high school coach mailed me one of those “positive-thinking” cards that you’ve likely seen before in posters like this:
In fact, this was the exact cover of the card. The card’s exterior was not what inspired me. Rather, it was the words inside that proved to be worth their weight in diamonds.
I was a good high school player and I earned a scholarship to play basketball at the college level. I was also a hot-head, at times. I didn’t do a great job of controlling my emotions on the court. My high school coach knew that. He knew I had the talent and the drive to be a strong player at the next level. The purpose of his card was to remind me of one essential point:
“Your attitude will take you farther than your talents.”
What he meant was, I had all the tools to be a successful player. I’d go as far as my ability to control my emotions. My playing time and enjoyment of playing college basketball was dependent on a positive attitude. Those words meant a lot and I kept them in mind each day during preseason workouts, tryouts, practices and games. I kept an open mind as I experienced a difficult first year in college hoops.
“Hard work and an open mind — it’s the only way to realize the potential that is inside every one of us.” ~ Chrissie Wellington
Family members and trusted advisers in my life have been instrumental in providing me with maxims to live by, such as, “Follow your heart.” The great Walt Disney quote comes to mind, that my Mom and Dad are fond to tell me, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” It always begins with an idea! The fertile ground for the generation of ideas is a clear, open mind.
I am drawn to greater freedom of mind and clarity of thought that involve living as open-minded of a life as I can. When we liberate ourselves from learned stereotypes, foolish negativity and discouragements of the past, we take bold steps toward becoming more open-minded. We become more receptive to opportunities and more accepting of others. We experience greater peace and harmony with ourselves.
I believe this is because we are proactively taking steps to become the person we are meant to be. The open-minded person lives the mantra of, “Every adversity presents an opportunity of an equivalent advantage.” They are able to accept temporary difficulty and convert it into a more positive, emotionalized state of mind and outcome.
We can always ward off cynicism and a “know-it-all” attitude by keeping an open mind and giving every matter the attention of a fresh, new look. By my own observation, it seems that an increase in cynicism is in direct proportion to an increase in age. Once we’ve suffered, been wronged, let down, dismissed or hurt, it’s harder for us to keep an open mindset of renewal.
I urge you in these moments to think counter-intuitively in relation to your difficult experiences, and double your faith in yourself. Open-mindedness is built on trust, faith and an acceptance of a call to action in our lives. Open-mindedness is the antithesis of anxiety, stress and intolerance. Free your mind and actively focus on leaving your worries behind. They’re not worth it.
You’ll find brand new doors open simply by entertaining new possibilities.
“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” — Marcus Aurelius
If I dwell too much on the future and what I don’t have now, I lose sight of what is most important — living in the moment. By focusing only on what I have not yet accomplished, or what I don’t have in my life, I completely lose sight of the task at hand. As Bono would tell you:
“What you don’t have, you don’t need it now.”
We have the ability to enable our willpower to believe and carry out any plans that we commit to action. We will encounter adversity and self-doubt, though we must persevere. Self-doubt and fear have a tendency of making us look too far into the future. A future-looking mindset is good, as long as it doesn’t consume our present.
This can be the downfall of the dreamer; the person who allows their feet to lift off without maintaining balance on the ground. The differentiating factor of living a life of happiness and self-fulfillment — for so many of us — is perseverance.
When we become complacent and settle, negativity and negative emotions pervade our being and affect how we see our path ahead. Please take note of these areas that can seem harmless, but are major detriments to success, as well as short and long-term happiness!
Imagination is an integral force of the emotionally intelligent mind, but not if we’re always stuck in dream mode. We can strike the right balance of using our imagination to envision our future, while persevering in the moment to secure our present. It takes resilience and courage to live with an open mind.
It’s always worth being brave, and having the presence of mind to think clearly without any self-inflicted restrictions.
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