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Tag Archives: Changing Your Mind

A version of this post was first published on July 29, 2020.

“Sometimes a hypocrite is nothing more than a man in the process of changing.”

Brandon Sanderson, Author of Oathbringer

It takes courage to admit when you’re wrong, and it takes even more courage to shift your perspective and open yourself to change. The older we get, the easier it is to do things the same way day in, day out. We become entrenched in our beliefs, and it becomes more and more difficult to shift our way of thinking.

In psychology, this “set in your ways” attitude is called mental rigidity.

While it’s normal and healthy to have a routine, mental rigidity goes a step further. It limits how you see the world, makes you less adaptable, and causes you to be closed off to new ideas or perspectives. As one article puts it, “Mental rigidity cuts off the wings you need for imagination, improvement, and exploring new places.”

Mental rigidity can also make it difficult to have empathy–to walk a mile in another’s shoes. We become accustomed to one reality, one way of life, and that becomes the ONLY way. However, different people hail from different backgrounds and have different experiences and beliefs. We can’t necessarily KNOW what another person is thinking or feeling, but we can attempt to UNDERSTAND.

When you introduce yourself to different perspectives, beliefs, and vantage points, you do something a little scary: You open yourself to the possibility that your deeply entrenched attitudes and ways to thinking might change.

Change is never easy, especially when others expect you to remain the same. When you begin to shift your perspective or beliefs, you might face criticism from those who think you’re a “hypocrite” or “wishy-washy.”

I challenge you to stick to your guns and make an honest effort to change, if you believe that change is necessary. Recognize that you are doing yourself a service in the long run, and others’ snide remarks can’t stop you from continuing to learn and grow.

On the same token, be gracious to those who change their minds. No one has all the answers, and it’s okay to learn and evolve. In fact, it is healthy.

So, be fearless. Challenge your assumptions and be bold enough to get uncomfortable. It is only when we dare to step outside our comfort zones that we can truly expand our horizons and potentially change our points of view.




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What does Goldie Hawn know about happiness?

More than you might think. Not only has the award-winning actress penned a book about mental wellbeing and mindfulness (entitled 10 Mindful Minutes), she is also immersed in a project called MindUP™, which is an education program designed to help children learn through a holistic and positive approach. Additionally, she runs the Hawn Foundation, whose mission is, in a nutshell, to improve the health and happiness of people of all ages.

Hawn hasn’t always experienced personal happiness, however. In her 2005 memoir, A Lotus Grows in the Mud, she revealed that she often suffered from anxiety attacks, depression, and nausea during her early years of fame. She underwent nine years of therapy and eventually managed to pull herself out of a long, deep rut. Now, she’s determined to teach others how to live a joy-filled life.

One of the tricks, according to Hawn, is to start your morning by “focusing on what’s beautiful.” Make an effort to think positive, affirming thoughts from the moment you wake up and soon it will become a habit.

Hawn also encourages us to think of three things every day that make us happy. If we keep those three things at the top of our minds instead of dwelling on all the negativity around us, we have the potential to be “more creative, constructive, and productive.”

What are some of your techniques for staying positive and happy?

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By Margaret Smith, UXL

“If you ask most people, ‘Are you flexible or rigid?’ they’ll tell you they’re flexible,” says Howard Gardner, Harvard cognitive psychologist (as quoted in O Magazine, May 2005).

Most of us will claim to be open to change in our lives and opinions, but would you say that most people you meet are actually flexible? Probably not. This is because most of us practice what Gardner refers to as “fundamentalism” Although the term is most commonly used in reference to religion, it can also be used to describe our preference not to change our minds. “There’s fundamentalism—a commitment not to alter our opinions—in every sphere,” he explains.

Certainly, my own interactions with others (especially as a life coach) can attest to this notion!

So how do we open up our own minds and the minds of others to new ideas and ways of thinking?

The acclaimed psychologist offers some innovative suggestions for challenging our mindset and freshening up our convictions:

1. Subscribe to publications that cut across the political and scientific spectrum.

2. Seek out balanced arguments, instead of indulging in arguments that feed your preexisting beliefs.

3. Talk to people from different backgrounds to challenge your orthodoxy—travel!

4. Understand the resistance of others. Gardner suggests you do this by attempting to “draw the other person out” and “listen charismatically”.

5. Stop the attack and pursue insight instead by taking on the perspective of the other person.

6. Choose an agreeable point of entry. Gardner offers two less-direct strategies:
a) Find links between your case and individual points of appeal
b) demonstrate your willingness to be flexible by picking something you’ve been resisting and trying it (Gardner calls this

7. Mix up the meeting place. A change of context can help to break patterns of thought.

8. Think like a teenager (You’re probably thinking God help us!). Before you panic, understand that by this, Gardner means asking the question “What are the possibilities?” because the question opens “a wider panorama” of possibilities.

Hopefully you will be able to successfully rethink your own convictions and encourage those around you to do the same with these interesting and useful tactics for changing your mindset!

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