What comes to mind when you think about the word “openness”? What associations does it call forth? Freedom? Being unbiased? How about vulnerability; being unprotected?
GAPzip defines openness as being receptive, flexible and authentic. Let’s explore this a little further.
Receptive: willing to receive suggestions, to hear new ways of doing things, open to feedback – both criticism and praise. Someone said, “When people are smiling they are most receptive to almost anything you want to teach them.”
Flexible: open to modification or adaptation. “Stay committed to your values and vision, but stay flexible in your approach.”
Authentic: the capacity to be your fullest Self in every situation.
The real source of personal power is to get out of our ego-created “story” and be present. The way to do this is to: tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth. The person who embraces openness welcomes and seeks out diversity, recognizing that sameness is limiting.
Openness is a very slippery subject because it is so…“subjective”. Because we are so identified with our egos and roles, we can’t see ourselves objectively, and often we don’t know what we don’t know. You can call it “pride” or “mental laziness”, but whatever it is, it causes people to “plateau” in their lives. They get to a certain level and they stop growing.
However, truly successful people are life-learners, and they realize that they need to remain open to new ideas, new ways of thinking and acting, new interpretations of old information. In these challenging times, when everything seems to be in transition, the main evolutionary cry is forinnovation, and that requires that we find ways of being open to new and different things.
None of us lacks openness, and all of us could be more open. We either live a life feeling comfortable with what we’ve achieved and “close down” to further growth, or we open ourselves up to being receptive, flexible and authentic while we courageously accept the challenges and choices that come with that.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start. We can choose for openness each and every day.