Can you remember being a white belt and coming through the dojang door with an open mind and simply wanting to learn? You were a sponge, you wanted to be taught, to practise and to learn and if there was something that you couldn't do, which was expected, you practised until you were comfortable with the technique. You relished knowledge and learning new things.
Sometimes as we progress in martial arts, in life, at work or even in relationships, we stop learning. I don't think we intentionally do it, it's not an overnight state of mind, it's gradual. Firstly somewhere along the line we stop listening properly. We may think that we have already heard this information before or that we already know it and don't need to hear it again. As a martial artist this is the start of the end as this means we think we know. The need to constantly practise humility and to constantly think we can learn from everyone and everything and maybe learn something new is called having an open mind.
Having an open mind allows us to learn from everyone and everything around us. It allows us to embrace different possibilities, viewpoints, people and beliefs. It makes us less judgmental and lets our mind be flexible at all times, helping us feel less helpless, frustrated or stuck.
Keeping an open flexible mind is very important for a martial artist. Trying to understand different viewpoints, even though you may not agree, makes it easier to communicate and get along with people. It lets you change your mind frequently and not be stuck in your ways. Life is change and if we can embrace this philosophy in the way we think it makes it less stressful and a lot more interesting.
So never stop listening, never stop learning, never stop asking questions and finding out new information about people and about your interests. Read books, read articles, research your interests. There is no limit to knowledge. The human brain is a marvelous thing it allows us to have an endless library of learning. So practise everyday. Firstly LISTEN to other people, then try and understand and then make your own mind up or change your mind, it doesn't matter. The great thing about your mind is it's free to do and think whatever you want, letting you live your life however you want.
Keeping an open mind is one of the most important tools you will ever have in life. So practise, embrace change and listen to other people. It will save and help you many times in life.
Some things to practise:
-Be easy going and light hearted.
-Listen to others more.
-Take an interest in others not just things that affect you.
-Don't expect anything off anyone.
-Let people talk and have their say. Silence can be a wonderful thing.
-Keep an open mind.