Don’t Be So Open-minded
Yeah, I mean it. Don’t be so open-minded.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” – Malcolm X
How can you say that?
Disclaimer: Open-mindedness is good. It allows us grow in humility, understanding, perspective etc. It is true that our knowledge is limited. We aren’t always right, even if our pride always tells us we are. Learning is never-ending.
Open-mindedness seems to be a “thing”.
But don’t be so open-minded at the expense of common sense. Don’t be so open-minded at the expense of truth, principles and reason.
I have a confession to make: It was only in 2020 that I made the conscious decision to have a sustainable approach to clothing.
To be brutally honest, I thought that jumping on the ethical fashion bandwagon was just another radical tree-hugging trend. To say the least, it was inconvenient and required too many unnecessary sacrifices.
Here are a few reasons why I became an “ethical fashion convert” and my intentions go beyond the environment (although that is the biggest factor at play):
Sunset at the park with the silhouette of Melbourne city in the background. Photo by me: Paula Ahillon
If I could sum up the five aspects of what it means to be human, they would be: body, soul, emotions, intelligence and freedom.
So, a human being is rational to the extent that it adheres to its nature (the five factors mentioned above).
It is irrational to put too much emphasis on emotions because our ability to make choices is not limited to our instincts and feelings.
On the other hand, it is just as irrational to deny our emotions and…
The discourse around mental health and the lockdowns due to Covid proves that the human being is complex.
Indeed, the human being is technically an animal but we are more than just beasts. We aren’t just bodies who are satisfied with food and sleep.
Melbourne, Australia — the city where I live — has just been plunged into its third lockdown (which is only 5 days but rumoured to really be 2 weeks). It was the only state in Australia that spent a total of about 7 months in lockdown in 2020.
So, I felt it was time to write…
Self-knowledge is fascinating.
Many of my friends enjoy conversing about personality tests. We’ve done the Temperaments test, 16 Personalities and Enneagram quizzes dozens of times.
And then there are the rare few who don’t believe in them because they refuse to be “boxed in”, understandably.
Personality tests aren’t meant to box you in. They are an indicator of our natural inclinations.
But we must remember that as human beings, we are never stuck — we are free. This means that we are always capable of growth and improvement.
There is a difference between our personality (our natural inclinations) and our…
Humility is an underrated virtue because very few understand what it really is.
This virtue/trait is often mistaken for weakness, shyness, submissiveness and fear — an obstacle to progress and success.
But humility is truth. Humility isn’t just acknowledging our imperfections but also knowing and using our strengths.
Humility recognises reality.
Humility is neither the pessimist or the optimist — it is the realist.
Growing in humility is difficult.
It takes a lot more strength to admit we are wrong, than to keep proving that we are right in an argument.
It is hard to be vulnerable to someone and…
Dr. Seuss’ first book was rejected by 27 publishers.
I encourage you to see failure as opportunities for growth. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” (Japanese Proverb)
Failure is inevitable. It is something that is part of human nature. It is an external that is out of our control.
People have a bad relationship with failure. People are obsessed with creating a utopia. Society is obsessed with comfort because it is free of sacrifice.
But the irony of comfort is that it leaves us unfulfilled and empty — with no sense of achievement.
One of the top 10 things…
In the common pursuit for happiness, it is not enough to want to be happy but to know the what and how.
Everybody wants to be happy but it is seldom that people question the path or the source of it.
Why is it that people who ‘have it all’ can still end up feeling empty?
Does our happiness depend on externals? On material things?
Or is it something that comes from within? Is it a choice that we make? Are we in charge of our happiness?
Emotional literacy is a key factor in reaching our pursuit for happiness because…
I am determined to have this mind-blowing excerpt from chapter 27 of the classic novel Jane Eyre printed and framed on my bedroom wall:
“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad — as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and…
The irony of silence is that it is not hollow or absent of noise.
We are uncomfortable with silence because it reveals to us the deepest truths about human existence.
Silence confronts us about our vulnerabilities, weaknesses, shame and hard realities.
Human beings are really good at escaping their deep and personal realities. This is why people love crappy modern music at parties, small talk and fill their sentences with ‘ums’, ‘likes’ and ‘ahs’.
Some of the things I’ve mentioned above are forms of escapism. Escapism is a really bad band-aid solution, which deters self-knowledge and self-growth.
I’ve learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is liberating to face your deepest realities head on. When we face the darkness, it is when we are truly free.