Open up

Open-minded people are better able to predict how others will behave, and are less prone to project their own insecurities, fears and attitudes onto other people. Your relationships may improve dramatically once you become more willing to start considering new ideas.

Says Amy Swisher, international organisational consultant: "By keeping an open mind for somebody else's ideas, you help stimulate creative, positive energy and are less likely to stir a defensive response."

No more burnt fingers
Open-minded people usually consider a few different angles instead of quickly jumping to (often wrong) conclusions. And once you've thought something through from more than one angle, you won't be as easily manipulated or bullied into a decision that is wrong for you.

You'll spot more opportunities
"Don't ask why. Rather say why not, and be courageous enough to find the possibilities and opportunities in the suggestions of others," says Raché Rutherford, South African author and expert on creative thinking.

The sky will be the limit
What does an entrepreneur selling fruit on the corner have in common with top international businessman Mark Shuttleworth? Open-mindedness, of course. "Ideas are the lifeblood of forward momentum as long as they are given room to grow," says Amy Swisher.

Psychologists agree that those among us with open minds score better on tests of general cognitive ability, and are therefore in a better position to identify different possibilities and opportunities.

Open-minded people as a rule have a better general knowledge because they don't mind learning new things. There are more things that interest them, and they have a more flexible approach to life. They seldom stagnate in a relationship or career that isn't working.

You'll be less anxious
On a personal level open-minded people are generally more optimistic and less prone to depression. A small change of plan doesn't amount to an insurmountable crisis, so they are less anxious than their narrow-minded friends.

You won't be a dead fish
"Only a dead fish goes with the flow," says Dr Kanes Rajah, UK entrepreneur and executive creativity coach. "Be special, and increase your chances at success by recalling the five p's in everything you do: have a sense of purpose, retain positivity by looking for the good, be persistent, act with passion otherwise it's not worth doing, and remember to have a sense of playfulness."

You'll be more tolerant
Open-mindedness always leads to greater tolerance. It helps us not to give in to preconceptions and bias that can prevent us from finding real truths and making new friends.

Says author Chuck Gallozzi: "Open-mindedness, or tolerance, broadens our vision, gives us clarity of perspective, and heightens our understanding and appreciation of others."

You'll be on your joyful toes
An open mind will keep you on your toes with a desire to learn more and enjoy more of what life has to offer. It will also change your attitude towards life's problems.

Says Kevin Kraus, an American professor of philosophy and a creativity expert, "The fundamental question we all ask sooner or later – and then again and again – is 'what is the meaning of life?'. Then we eventually learn that life itself gives us meaning. Life is a mystery that we live, not a problem to be solved."

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