Why You Need To Have An Open Mind

When you go into a situation with a preconceived idea, it can be difficult to see past the concept that we have in mind.  If we think that the grass is brown, it may prevent us from easily seeing what a beautiful shade of green that the grass is.  If we think that a person is racist, we may take everything they say in the wrong manner.  When you believe that your child is an angel, it may be difficult for you to understand that they are bullying others on the playground.


Let me share a real life example with you that happened to me just the other day….


I had just finished my shift at work, clocking out two minutes past the end of my scheduled shift.  I got in my car and began driving home.  My low fuel light had popped on when I was traveling to work, so my first stop was the gas station that is a few blocks away.  I fully admit, I didn’t even notice that I was going 5 miles over the speed limit until I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror.  Flashing police lights, to be more exact.  I turned onto the side street and pulled over.  I was so upset with myself.  I haven’t been pulled over since I was like 20…  I got out my license and began digging through the glove compartment to find my registration.


The office came up to my passenger side window.  He asked me a couple of questions about where I was coming from and where I was heading, and then requested that I get out of the car.  I thought it was unusual to get out for speeding, they’d never asked me to do that in the past, but it had been a long time so maybe the process had changed…  It wasn’t until I was out of the car that the officer’s questions started to completely confuse me.


He began asking how much I had had to drink.  Alcohol.  He was asking me if I was drunk.  Now, I knew I was speeding, but I didn’t think I was swerving or doing anything that might lead him to this conclusion.  I was so confused and lost.  Multiple times he asked me this, assuring me each time that if I told the truth that it would be much easier on me in the end.  I reassured the officer over and over again that I had not had anything to drink, had not taken any pills, and I was telling him the complete truth.  Which I was!


Apparently, someone at my work had left early, claiming to be sick.  The co-workers in her department had called the police because they believed that she was intoxicated.  Someone had mistakenly pointed out my car as I was leaving the garage, telling the officer that I was the drunk one.  The officer thought that I was knew that I was drunk before he ever said a word to me.  Even after administering the tests (following the finger with just my eyes, saying – well attempting to say my ABCs backwards – because really, who can do that? – and walking a straight line), I had failed to convince the officer that I was indeed un-intoxicated.  


It took receiving confirmation from his partner asking over the walkie-talkie what the name of the lady was, and receiving back a name that was not mine for the officer to finally take my word and believe me that I was not drunk.  It took proof, proof that I could not provide because in his mind I was guilty, for him to be able to see.  This is what stereotyping does.  This is what having preconceived ideas can do to us.  If we walk into a situation knowing how the other person will respond, we are going to see it the way we think we will.  It’s like wearing rose colored glasses, everything has a rose tint to it, even when it doesn’t.



I think the world today needs to take off their rose colored glasses.  I see so much hatred, so much division in this world, and I think a lot of it stems from seeing through our preconceived ideas.  Blacks see racism because they are trained to feel like the victim.  Whites see thugs and gangsters because they are taught that’s what blacks are.  People fear foreigners because terrorists come from their area, so therefore they all must be feared.


I’m not saying that everything comes down to getting the wrong idea.  There are racists, gangsters and terrorists out there – they just aren’t every white, black, or Muslim that you meet.  All that I am saying is that we all need to learn that it is the insides of a person that count, and not their outer appearance.  Just as once cracked, you cannot tell if the yoke of an egg came from a white shell or a brown one, for they are the same on the inside – inside each human is a soul that is colorless.  Let’s judge people based on their souls and not their appearance.  Let’s remove our glasses and see people for who they are.  


I’m going to take this mix-up as a learning opportunity.  I’m going to do my utmost best to change the way that I look at the world around me.  I’m no longer going to take the word of others as solid proof, and I’m going to listen to the defense that is provided and judge it based on merit and not what I thought I knew to be true.  My eyes have been opened to seeing that if I allow myself to be convinced of something before I have all the facts, before I truly know what happened, that I’m doing myself a great injustice.  I’m going to become a seeker of truth.  My rose colored glasses are off, and now I see the world in the beautiful rainbow of colors that it has.  Won’t you remove your glasses with me?


What situations have you been through that opened your eyes to a new way of seeing things?


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