We all try to be the best person we can be, and although some of us know that we have some bad habits, we ultimately never want to be accused of being narrow minded or ignorant. We should try to be as open to ideas and possibilities as we can – after all, that is how science, math, religion and policy developed to create the world that we have today. The goal of humanity is to learn, share and dream together so that we can learn as much as we can and develop to be as strong as we can.
Unfortunately, racism, phobias, and narrow mindedness persists. Here are a few traits of narrow minded people, and how you can avoid those kinds of habits yourself.
1. The "know it all"
This is the kind of person we have all had in our life sometimes, and try not to become ourselves. The know it all; he or she is first person who speaks up, and knows the answer to everything, regardless of what you tell them.
A video of a comic news reporter went viral recently when he went to a political rally and spoke to people about the current President, asking the uninformed public generic questions and receiving laughable responses. One lady was not shy to accuse the President of many things – terrorism, lying, being of a different religion than he claims, and other such offenses that beg research. She could not be swayed by any other opinion – her mind was made up.
These kinds of people elicit a negative reaction in us because as human beings we like to learn and debate. We don't mind being proven wrong if we can learn something new, and we are open to new perspectives. The know it all is not interested in learning anything new – they have already learned everything there is, and are not shy to tell you about it.
2. Easy to pass judgement
People with a closed mind are not afraid to point fingers and judge everyone around them in public. I think we all do this to some degree but the catch is that we know when we are doing it, know when we are serious or joking, and know when to stop. Narrow minded people judge others with serious intent, without knowing anything about them. They don't mind assuming that guys with dreadlocks are poor hippies, that people with tattoos have impure lifestyle choices, or any other sort of stereotype that could be done.
We have to avoid stereotypes and judgements and see the forest for the trees. That we all have a backstory, regardless of how we look or choose to do. Ask, and who knows what you may learn.
3. Deeply habitual
There is nothing wrong with being a creature of habit – in fact, it's healthy for you to develop a routine that you enjoy and apply it to your life. The danger comes when the habits are bad for you mentally or physically. This could be a subconscious addiction to your phone, or develop into a fear of traveling or leaving the house – things like that. If you become too attached to your routine, you will be unable to escape your comfort zone, and run the risk of becoming, perhaps, a crazy cat lady. We should enjoy our habits but not let it control our lives.
4. Tendency to assume everything
Narrow minded people are ok with assuming pretty much anything. Stereotypes, tastes, judgements, concepts or ideas – nothing is immune. These are situations when people refuse the opposite; they are convinced that they do not like red wine, that they will be uncomfortable flying, that they do not like pumpkin pie – all silly examples, but examples nonetheless that lead to narrow minded behaviour and do not let you reach outside your bounds of life that you've already made for yourself.
5. Get offended easily
Some people have very rigid values, others not so much. Older generations for example are strongly tied into the ideas that they had when they were growing up during the 40s, 50s and 60s, when social and civil rights were a few steps behind where we are at now. People who stay in their bubble are only exposed to those ideas that they have always had, and are prone to become easily offended by outside tastes and perspectives. The idea is that we should never be afraid or shy to learn about how other people do things. The more we attach ourselves to our predisposed beliefs, the more we distance ourselves from other ideas that we could be learning from.
Likewise, these people may be the same people who carry fear – fear of age, race, religion, etc. Xenophobia is the fear of strange things, but relates to anything – homophobia or racism applies. These are the kinds of people that may be strongly opposed to immigration or international aid; people who fear muslims; people who fear refugees. Whether it is a good or bad idea when our countries accept refugees is one thing, but to fear and criticize it is another, usually when the course of it generally does not affect most of our personal lives at all. This is fear, this is xenophobia.
7. Having trust issues
With all this rooting that narrow mindedness bestows, it makes sense then that those with a closed mind have trust issues. They may not trust the baker because he is Indian, or the product, because it is from Vietnam. Perhaps there is a tactile reason for those examples, but the psyche roots deeper into our head and we begin to be unable to trust things we normally might trust, affecting our friends and family in the process. Instead, we want to be able to love and trust as much as we can, and hope that others love and trust us as well.