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Always Keep an Open Mind

Popularity 3Viewed 2591 times 2014-11-10 17:00 |System category:Life| actually, believe, person, Always, really

Are you an open-minded person? I believe many of you guys would say yes. No one wants to be stubborn, let alone calmly admit that he or she is. However, if you give it a second thought, maybe you’ll find out it’s actually really hard to be open-minded. We each are a mystery, which deserves lifelong exploration. You may never know what kind of person you really are. And you could be fooled by yourself! The perception of yourself is not the real you! Even at this moment, I can’t be sure if I am open-minded enough.


When I was little, I firmly believed there were only two kinds of people in the world, either good or bad. Not until high school did I suddenly realize that the world is much more complex than that. We just can’t simply label people as good or bad. Some people may appear a little odd or arrogant or whatever, but deep in their heart they’re probably as kind as you are! They’re just not satisfied with the reality or have experienced something that made them that way. On the other hand, some so-called good guys may not be as good as they seem to. Take Chen Liangyu, former mayor of Shanghai, as an example, he was so great so admirable when he was delivering a speech on TV. However, it turned out that he abused his power as much as any bad guy can possibly do. Honestly, as humans we all have weak points. That’s human nature. The only difference is whether you can or how much you can control them.


Similarly, there’re also times when we cannot simply say it is right or wrong about a certain matter. Maybe it is both right and wrong. Possibly it is just not a matter of right and wrong. It can be much more complicated than we think.


In the 1990s homosexuality, love or marriage between the same sexes, was widely regarded as abnormal or even morbid in China. And I was one of them, believing that it was against laws of nature and that it should be abandoned or even eradicated from the world. In 2003, I was lucky to be chosen as one of the exchange teachers to stay in Minnesota, USA for 3 months. So I got the chance to live with common Americans, which enabled me to look at this world from different perspectives. I found quite a few people there, including some VIPs, openly admitted they were gays or lesbians. I was sort of shocked. Later I raised the topic at a meeting with some American friends. Instead of explaining, one guy asked me, “Are there any left-handed people in your country?” “Yes, of course.” I replied. “Some men/women are born with the tendency to be sexually attracted to people of the same sex, just like those who are naturally left-handed.” he explained. This open-minded approach threw light on many things that I might feel hard to understand or even hate.


You may not like it when you see foreigners licking their fingers while eating, but have you ever considered the fact that we Chinese get food from the same dish with our own chopsticks, which may carry our saliva? Which is more hygienic? No simple answer at all.


In China if a middle school girl gets pregnant, it would immediately become the talk of town. It would be a big scandal not only for the girl but for the school as well. While I stayed in the US, 2 school girls got pregnant. Nobody made a fuss about it. When talking about it, they just said it was unwise for the girls to get pregnant at such a young age. No one blamed the school, for they believed it was the parents not the school who were responsible for this kind of issue.


For various reasons, we have to live in a certain area with certain people. And we were brought up and educated in a certain way. We have got used to everything around us. And the way we think gradually becomes more and more inflexible until finally gets stuck in a rut. What is more terrible is that we take it for granted. We just don’t know we are actually a frog viewing the sky at the bottom of a well. We tend to believe that anything that is different or unfamiliar to us is wrong or unacceptable, which is not necessarily true.


Keeping an open mind does not mean you blindly accept everything, but rather you need to think out of the box. We should learn to look at this world from different angles. Being open-minded, you could listen to others’ opinions, which will help you make better judgment or decisions. Being open-minded, you could cooperate better with others and perfect yourself.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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