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I always prided myself on being "open-minded," but I'm actually not...at all.

I take into account multiple sources before forming an opinion on something, but once my opinion has been formed, it's so well-researched that I have trouble when people don't agree with it. This has, of course, caused me some (thankfully resolvable) problems, especially when it comes to more subjective things (which I try to make objective).

Example: Global warming. (I don't want to start a debate nor discuss it. This is only an example.) Let's say I spent hours pouring over the published data in regards to global temperature. I looked at the history of global temperature, and after a lot of thought I come to the conclusion that global warming isn't happening nor will it happen. Then, when someone who thinks global warming tries to discuss the subject with me, I can't seriously listen to what they're saying, because my mind's made up until new evidence comes about. How can I get to the point where I can at least listen to this person's argument?

TL, DR: Once you've formed an opinion, is it hard for you to change it in the absence of evidence? Do you accept others' differing opinions? How?
 

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If you have a hard time changing your opinion, that's fine and even normal. As an INTP, I can be stubborn with my ideas sometimes, but I would say that what I consider open-mindedness is to entertain any conflicting opinions and THEN discard them after analyzing them more thoroughly. If they still seem problematic that is. My mindset is that even some random person that knows little of the subject might have a point sometimes. So simply put: do not reject different opinions too quickly.

But if what the person is saying is something you already considered and so you kind of ignore it, then that is not being close-minded.
 

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When someone disagrees with you, consider:

-do you really have all the relevant information? What information are they basing their opinions on?
-were your sources reliable?
-what assumptions did you start with? Did you test them? Were they valid?
-was your train of logic vaild?
-are they using a train of logic you haven't considered?
-are they using a perspective you haven't considered?

And finally: Do you actually really understand the topic?

If you aren't asking yourself these questions, you aren't open minded. Most questions aren't clearly black and white, yes or no. There are many shades of gray, many maybes. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know. In science there are no absolute answers, only theories that should always be reevaluated when challenged.
 

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It seems very natural to not exactly feel open to conversation about a complicated topic (say global warming) if you have done a lot of research and formed an opinion about the matter because that kind of conversation takes a serious investment of time and energy. The same is true of a lot of political topics. The way you have arrived at your thinking is complex enough that it's not clear there's anything in it for you if another wants to ask you to defend your opinion and especially if they don't seem particularly open to what you are saying. You cannot help them or teach them anything very plausibly and they are largely just asking you do do mental work without any clear gain from it. So it's natural to not just open up and volunteer. Especially if there's not enough trust right there to feel like this isn't ultimately some kind of bombardment. It's easier and makes more sense to just be silent and not talk about it and spare yourself the stress of being put on the stand to defend yourself.

Once you've formed an opinion, is it hard for you to change it in the absence of evidence? Do you accept others' differing opinions? How?
Certainly I have no reason to change what I think of something without new evidence or new thoughts on the topic ... kind of tautological statement there. I also have to accept others have their own opinions and ways of thinking about things. People all have their own values and thoughts that are important to them and arrive at their own conclusions.
 

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The steps to correcting automated (incorrect) behaviour is:
1. realise and accept it is happening
2. be on the lookout for when you do it
3. practice doing it the correct way when it happens
4. then it becomes automatic to do it the right way

Most people are completely unaware of their faults, and they don't even get to step1, so their faults are never corrected.
Being an INTJ ahow analyses everything, I am aware of many of my faults (just as you are aware of this one of yours), but my problem is that when I'm "in" the situation I usually can't stop and look at the situation from a bigger perspective to correct it, I am so focused on whatever it is that I find step 2 just an impossibility. Even when I remember to look at it from an external point of view I just disregard it because I want to continue doing whatever it is that I am doing (even though at other times I can look back and know it is wrong)

I guess this is how anger management might work also(?). When you are angry, be aware, and somehow divert your actions to a more positive (or less negative) response.

So in this case, if you are able to be aware at the time of being closed minded, then you should try to practice taking their point of view into mind and analysing it for faults more closely before judging so that if there are no faults, you can accept that it isn't necessarily wrong even if it differs from your opinion.

But yea - having said that, I find that step near impossible.
 

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When someone disagrees with you, consider:

-do you really have all the relevant information? What information are they basing their opinions on?
-were your sources reliable?
-what assumptions did you start with? Did you test them? Were they valid?
-was your train of logic vaild?
-are they using a train of logic you haven't considered?
-are they using a perspective you haven't considered?

And finally: Do you actually really understand the topic?

If you aren't asking yourself these questions, you aren't open minded. Most questions aren't clearly black and white, yes or no. There are many shades of gray, many maybes. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know. In science there are no absolute answers, only theories that should always be reevaluated when challenged.
I really like this post. I would add to this list:
- What is the value to you of your own opinion?

I think the only reason people ever have for not being willing to re-evaluate something is that they have invested themselves in it somehow. It's hard not to do. If you put a lot of energy into something it's kind of like your baby or your creation in a way, so you feel involved and it's hard to let go of it and not feel that is precious. Not that you are necessarily, but I do this all the time at least.
 

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I remember thinking of this before, and I remember my conclusion was something along the difference between two types of people: the people who think they are right and the people who think they are wrong. If I make sense at all.
 

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I think a lot of the issue in the example like you gave is that many times, the other person is just spouting off things they "heard" somewhere - they are not talking from a position like you where they have truly looked into the topic. If someone is giving me the "talking points" with no evidence backing it up or not citing how/where they know it (and the source must be somewhat valid) then I also have a hard time taking it in. I don't necessarily think there is anything wrong with kind of ignoring that type of surface opinion stuff with no backing. Now, if they have done research and found opposing ideas and explain that is why they have come to the position they have, then that's different and I will be much more willing to hear that out and consider their points.
 
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Once you've formed an opinion, is it hard for you to change it in the absence of evidence? Do you accept others' differing opinions? How?
To change my opinion in the absence of evidence is... pointless. Of course, evidence can come in many different forms, and I occasionally will consider subjective opinions as a possible form -- sometimes people are smart like that. But the reason for my changing any opinion has to be proportional to the research and reflection I've invested in forming it. That just seems plain to me.

"Accepting" others' opinions can mean a lot of different things. Obviously I accept that others' opinions exist. I can accept the validity of someone's opinion if it was formed on decent grounds, and usually I can accept the person even if their opinion differs from mine. However, none of those things means that I have to accept that opinion as authoritative or superior, much less right. Unless the person has some kind of power over me, or they can prove that their opinion is better than mine, I act according to what I think is best, not others' opinions.
 

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When someone is expressing an opinion that I disagree with and I do not want/think that I will be able to rationalize with them, I shift my attention to the process of the conversation rather than focusing on the content. Example: I will look at their body language and the way that they are presenting information. I might also try to monitor my internal responses to their opinions and try to recall my beliefs on the subject and their origins. I will also monitor how other people seem to be handling that person's opinions. I basically keep collecting data until I either choose to have a debate with the person or just try to figure out more about their thought process and how they affect others.
 

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To quote Ayn Rand:

"[There is a] dangerous little catch phrase which advises you to keep an “open mind.” This is a very ambiguous term—as demonstrated by a man who once accused a famous politician of having “a wide open mind.” That term is an anti-concept: it is usually taken to mean an objective, unbiased approach to ideas, but it is used as a call for perpetual skepticism, for holding no firm convictions and granting plausibility to anything. A “closed mind” is usually taken to mean the attitude of a man impervious to ideas, arguments, facts and logic, who clings stubbornly to some mixture of unwarranted assumptions, fashionable catch phrases, tribal prejudices—and emotions. But this is not a “closed” mind, it is a passive one. It is a mind that has dispensed with (or never acquired) the practice of thinking or judging, and feels threatened by any request to consider anything.


What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an “open mind,” but an active mind—a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically. An active mind does not grant equal status to truth and falsehood; it does not remain floating forever in a stagnant vacuum of neutrality and uncertainty; by assuming the responsibility of judgment, it reaches firm convictions and holds to them. Since it is able to prove its convictions, an active mind achieves an unassailable certainty in confrontations with assailants—a certainty untainted by spots of blind faith, approximation, evasion and fear."

Open-mindedness is something that gets championed an awful lot at school, at least in Britain, and while there's the good intent behind of it encouraging the young to examine new ideas I do think it leads to the phenomenon Rand described above of a nation of adults who equate intellectual passivity as on par with being open to truth.

You shouldn't be passively 'open' to the truth, but tenaciously searching for it. To do so publicly in modern western society entails being accused of closed-mindedness all the time by a majority who are too timid to debate with spirit and too lazy to do the heavy lifting required of them to form understandings of which they can feel extremely confident.
 

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Easy.

Never do anything or commit to anything.

A closed mind is one that chooses something.

Deny yourself any form of choice or any need for a stance.

If you need say something after simply listening, only say "I still think there may be more to it than just that."

If you need to say something else, repeat it anyway.

Never agree with something or someone.

Don't have an opinion either.

Be amorphous.
 

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It is possible to research a topic so far in depth that you become intoxicated by the data. If someone is challenging your opinion on something, adjust your perspective to theirs and see if their statements hold water (pun intended). If there are any holes in their argument, identify them and find the reason why. If your own opinion of the matter fills in those holes or gaps in creating a full mental picture, then you can change your opinion and adopt a view that merges the best of your ideas.

Being open-minded and articulating that sort of mindset is part science, part art. It can only be learned through conscientious practice. I applaud your efforts, young grasshopper. WAX ON, WAX OFF.
 

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The real trouble for you seems more to be people's disagreement. People, I find, will argue that they have an opinion and that you are wrong to deny any justification to their opinion. Opinion without any facts is just prejudice. This is why evidence is crucial. You don't listen to this person because they don't actually bring evidence to the table, they bring prejudice to the table.
And isn't ignoring personal prejudices what being open-minded all about?
 
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Discussion Starter #15
The real trouble for you seems more to be people's disagreement. People, I find, will argue that they have an opinion and that you are wrong to deny any justification to their opinion. Opinion without any facts is just prejudice. This is why evidence is crucial. You don't listen to this person because they don't actually bring evidence to the table, they bring prejudice to the table.
And isn't ignoring personal prejudices what being open-minded all about?
Great point. I didn't think of it like that. Some of my family members were calling me close minded and a jerk because I wouldn't accept their opinions...but that's because they weren't based on anything. It's not as though I said anything rude, but it seems they-as you stated-were upset because they felt their opinions were justified (whereas they, in my mind, weren't).

Thanks for the insights everyone. I'll still be on the lookout for instances when they need to be applied.
 

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I always prided myself on being "open-minded," but I'm actually not...at all.

I take into account multiple sources before forming an opinion on something, but once my opinion has been formed, it's so well-researched that I have trouble when people don't agree with it. This has, of course, caused me some (thankfully resolvable) problems, especially when it comes to more subjective things (which I try to make objective).

Example: Global warming. (I don't want to start a debate nor discuss it. This is only an example.) Let's say I spent hours pouring over the published data in regards to global temperature. I looked at the history of global temperature, and after a lot of thought I come to the conclusion that global warming isn't happening nor will it happen. Then, when someone who thinks global warming tries to discuss the subject with me, I can't seriously listen to what they're saying, because my mind's made up until new evidence comes about. How can I get to the point where I can at least listen to this person's argument?

TL, DR: Once you've formed an opinion, is it hard for you to change it in the absence of evidence? Do you accept others' differing opinions? How?
That sounds like you're pretty open minded to me. Not in the traditional sense that normal people assume defines open-mindedness, but in a realistic sense. I mean if someone tries to point something out that you have already considered, why should you have to listen to them when you have already considered that fact? Plus, at end you state that you are willing to change your opinion when new evidence emerges, which further shows you are an open minded person. Don't listen to normal people when they call you closed minded, they're too close minded to see multiple types of open mindedness.
 

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I am stubborn and that is one of the first traits most people notice about me. If I genuinely think you are incorrect with an opinion or thought, and if there is no evidence to support a claim than I won't budge. I tend to think I am right most of the time.. Maybe that's the reason.
 

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@Priva

First, you need to understand what being "close minded" means. It means that you do not change your opinion regardless of any facts presented to you. If the other person presents new facts to you, then you should reconsider what it means for your opinion. If the other person is arguing against you with facts you already know and you don't change your opinion, that is not "closed minded."

You are experiencing a typical NT problem - the need to be correct above all other things including being social or expressing yourself in socially acceptable ways. Think of "correctness" and "diplomacy" as opposites of a spectrum. Right now, you are very much on the "correctness" side. Being "correct" is great on many things like science, school, business, finance, etc. However, do you need to be correct about everything? Is it going to affect any policy decision if that person agrees with you on global warming? If you go towards the "correct" side of the spectrum, you do well in school, business, finance, science, etc. If you go towards the "diplomacy" side, then you will keep friends, have people listen to you and value you, have a more agreeable time, have better friendships with others, etc. In your case, it is necessary to know, is this topic important to argue about? Arguing about global warming and most other topics is not going to change policy or affect your life. Only in certain key areas of life like finance,business, etc. is it important to be correct. Learn to let go of arguing on topics that do not affect you. It's fine to talk about them for some time and but if you cannot agree with the other person, then let go off the topic. You will keep a better relationship with them and since they were arguing, they were probably quite informed and intelligent so you will have a partner to discuss topics with. "Correctness" and "diplomacy" are 2 sides of a spectrum - learn to select the right side in the right situation. You don't need to continue arguing on every subject; just let go and change to another topic, perhaps something light and agreeable to keep relations with the other person.
 
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