Open Mindedness Makes for a Better Society

Jun 8 , 2019
By Eden Sahle

I was getting ready for a meeting in a hotel lobby when a group of six men sat next to me. They seemed to be close friends at first, enjoying each other’s company.

It was hard to understand what they were talking about at the beginning, but it became crystal clear later on. This was because they had started shouting.

They were yelling at each other about politics. They quickly attracted more attention from the people sitting nearby. What started out as a seemingly normal conversation escalated into a shouting match. It was staggering to witness the unpleasant turn of events over such matters from these middle-aged men.

It is not uncommon to find individuals who force their opinion on others as a matter of fact. It somehow has become a norm to run into people whose minds are dead set on their own beliefs and assume everyone else that disagrees with them is wrong.

Undoubtedly, considering ourselves to be more knowledgeable than others is enjoyable. Ego is a powerful thing. But we need to understand that there are limits to our knowledge and experiences. It is very important to develop constructive attitudes, an unassuming outlook and respect the views of others even when they do not agree with our point of view.

Lack of a democratic culture is a trait inherited by the masses from the elite. A complete rejection of the other side’s point of view is symptomatic of our politics. Political figures continue to neglect the consequences of each statement they make and fail to become upstanding citizens to the public that looks up to them.

Our debates are failing to become constructive for the simple reason that they are not evidence-based. Indeed, sentiments are part of the equation of our lives and our development as a responsible person and professional. But these should not be allowed to cloud our judgments.

Just because something seems right, it does not mean it should not be reconsidered and debated more thoroughly. Accepting everything without questioning anything is a path to disaster. We should develop the habit of questioning matters as a society and learn to know the facts instead of assuming things and expecting others to do the same.

We do not have to agree with someone whose ideas and perspectives we find hard to digest. We do not need to pretend either and try to conform to others' viewpoints. We should always stand by what we believe in as long as we are open to new ideas and are willing to build on what we believe in.

One of the greatest disservices we can do to ourselves is striving to always be right and to win an argument no matter what. The brutal fact is that anyone can be wrong. It is only a sign of maturity to admit our mistakes and learn from them.

Dogmatism runs deep in our cultures and norms as well as social and political institutions. It is the seed that has planted dysfunctions within our societies. We should connect with others in a respectful manner to make our voices heard and to hear their point of view as well.

Growing up mostly involves realising that the world does not revolve around us. It is important not to measure our surroundings or the people in it based on our limited understanding of them.

We have to evaluate our own judgments and understandings. Other people might know a lot more  than we do and they can also have a good point. As much as we do not want to recognise it often times, there is more than one way out of a problem. Understanding and accepting this can encourage us to reconsider our beliefs.

This is why it is crucial to expand our networks and get exposed to people that can challenge our worldview. Such networks help us break out of our own bubble and guide us in making conscious decisions to always look for insights and new skills.

After all, if we do not interact with a diverse pool of people who have opposing views, we will probably never understand the real value of living in harmony.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 08,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 997]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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