The Stubborn, In Search Of An Open Mind
Why do we do the same things each day?
Why do we think about things in a certain way, taking certain stances and dismissing others?
I became aware of my open/closed mind recently as I ponder my own situation and life direction. For a stubborn founder type it can be difficult to not look at things with a very narrow mind, only focusing on the business at hand. And even then, with all the talk about laser focus and “being great at one thing”, one can quickly fall into a dangerously narrow view of the world.
Please pardon my philosophical and existential tonality. The day, given its early in the new year, is met with a renewed sense of observation and analysis of my current thoughts and actions – both personally and professionally. I think it’s healthy to frequently step back and evaluate your thoughts, feelings, words, actions and directions in life. I, too often and probably like you, stay narrowly focused on what is two feet in front of me. And I am starting to realize its to my loss.
The danger of a narrowly focused individual can be staleness of perspective and a stagnation of progress. If we are not careful, what we call “the daily grind” will actually do just that – grind away and remove the excess layers. The problem lies in what layers are ultimately removed. Remove layers that provide a fresh view of the world and we become intrenched in sameness, staleness, and stagnant environment, with no regard to anything different. Not to get too off subject but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this type of viewpoint has a large affect in racism, religious dogma and other societal problems.
To get around the trap is to first realize you might be narrow minded. You can do this by consciously observing how you go about each day, each month and each year.
Do you mostly frequent the same places? Same coffee shops, restaurants, theaters, stores, parks, roads, cities, etc..?
When was your last big vacation? Where did you go?
What are you currently reading? Fiction or non-fiction? What about movies and art?
When was the last time you simply pulled up YouTube and found a talk given on a subject you knew nothing about, so you could be introduced to it and possible start a new study?
Who have you spent the majority of your time with lately? How many different people have you spent time with talking and experiencing life?
Do you venture out on weekdays and weeknights? Or do you normally stay in? Why?
How many different cities and communities have you lived in over the course of your adult life?
If the number is quite low… over an extended period of time… for one or more of those questions you may be embracing a narrow minded perspective in life.
Is that such a bad thing? No, I don’t think so. But I do think a narrow minded stance hinders ones ability to fully experience the world, as well as discover unique insights one would otherwise discover.
It is both these – to experience life and discover insights – I am yearning for right now. For some time now I have sensed my life narrowing into a frustratingly tight viewpoint and I am now looking to do something about it. I want new perspectives on my current business. I want new insights for future business opportunities. I want a refreshing new take on the world and how technology can improve it. I want new perspectives on where to live.
I want, for lack of a better term, a more exotic life.
I am not sure where these thoughts are coming from. I don’t exactly know why but for the first time in my life I am sensing we just recently crossed over the technological threshold and maybe this is how I am responding to it. Technology, mobile devices and their apps, constant connectivity and the like… is now mainstream and something we all must have. It’s no lie when most people in our society believe being without their mobile device feels like they are naked. That’s quite startling. Before, it was early adopters with these gadgets and ideas for new uses. But now, it’s everywhere you look and go.
This is both exciting and frightening.
Maybe I am overly aware of societal changes and the feeling things are continually speeding out of my control. This is worrisome to me. Part of the worry is in the irony that even though we have access to more information than ever it seems we tend to stay within our comfort zones of products, people, places, reading material and thoughts.
So I am making a conscious intent to open my mind. I want to look at things with a different lens, seek out new people and new places in the world, accept different stances on things I wouldn’t normally accept. I also want to do more things WITHOUT the entire focus on my handheld mobile device.
I am going to do this because I believe it will make me a better person. I also think it will put me and the company I lead in better place, and to hopefully bring something materially better to the world.