59: Are You As Openminded As You Think You Are? (Sort Of)

11/29/20 You’re openminded, right? But are you really openminded? 95% of people think they are more openminded than average, which means that a lot of us overestimate our openmindedness. Did you know that being openminded is actually being receptive to arguments? Or that most closeminded people are closed to the idea that they might be closeminded, and just assume that everyone that disagrees with them is the closeminded one? Listen in and take the openmindedness quiz to see how you rate on your open-mindedness.

Here’s the open-mindedness quiz we took on the episode: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creating-in-flow/201311/how-open-minded-are-you-quiz

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back recovery sort of that’s who we are i’m jason i’m a guy in long-term recovery and my name’s billy i’m also a person in long-term recovery and you just heard the sweet sounds of jimmy’s chicken shack which i don’t mention often enough but thanks again for letting us use your music so it was funny after our last episode on internet addiction and technology and smartphone addiction i was like oh man i really really want to get somebody from this mode of recovery on here to talk to us i figure we would learn a lot about it from that aspect instead of just talking about if we struggle with it and i couldn’t find anybody no one well i i kind of realized the irony that i went online to look for them yeah they would have to be all like they’re not gonna be there and i just they should probably be avoiding social media yeah yeah i couldn’t find many of them there are actually some online sites for them there’s a spot on reddit but it was just it made me laugh to myself that i looked for technology addicted people online who hopefully aren’t there because they’ve found some cure that means they relapsed all right find all the relapses i also had kim let me know that for teachers talking about our aces score going back to that teachers look at the aces score as anything four or above is high risk for students so that was an interesting information because we were talking about how just one of those aces responses can increase your risk drastically and so to think that they’re only addressing people who have four or more is like wow you’re right missing half these people that are struggling right which is probably like 70 of the kids in there right i’ve had one or more oh i’m sure i’m sure it might not be everybody i haven’t found any of the liars yet reached out to me to say they have zero aces so today we want to talk about open mindedness and this came to me because i think it’s an area i struggle in at times and what happens is i consider myself a free thinker right a lot of times our view of ourself isn’t necessarily accurate all the time or at least not 100 accurate and so i have these beliefs and ideals that are outside the box and and i’m like oh i’m this free thinker and maybe the solution to drug addiction is that we give drugs to everybody for free who wants them and have a look like all these crazy ideas right which may or may not work but let’s try anything right let’s throw [ _ ] at the wall and see what sticks and so because i’m a free thinker i get lulled into this idea and belief that oh yeah i’m super open-minded and when i really look at it it’s kind of like when we had that episode about honesty right like if i really start examining it there’s probably some places i’m not so open-minded and i run into these when i’m unwilling to hear some other arguments that are outside of my box right they just roll up so much passion or anger or frustration in me that i don’t have the ability to see a different side or to see that there might be relevance to a different side and so okay honesty open mindedness and willingness we talk about with these three we’re well on our way right like these are the three fundamental spiritual principles and so i was like well if i’m struggling with one of them even in some areas maybe this is something worth talking about yeah for sure and like all these spiritual principles i don’t think there’s any of them not a one that i am perfect at i struggle in one way or another with all of them i mean if i was at my ideal state filled with god in all areas of my life then maybe but right now no i still struggle with different ones at different levels and i’m constantly working and looking at areas where i need improvement like that’s the for me the purpose of ongoing recovery is to continue to look at areas that i fall short areas where i need to develop areas where i’m struggling and to try to apply these principles in those areas yeah it’s super tricky so i just figured we’d start right off with the definition first definition of open-mindedness is receptive to arguments or ideas and i’ve never really thought about it like that right i think of open-mindedness as receptive to ideas or open that other ideas might be true but i’ve never really considered open-mindedness as the idea that i’m inviting arguments in i can’t wait till people argue with me like that doesn’t sound fun huh and i tend to be a person who likes to debate about things one of the things i’ve found fascinating about myself and this is definitely more later in recovery it was not early in recovery early in recovery or early in my life before i found recovery there was a sense of need to be right like i felt like i needed to argue to be right i’m sure that has a lot to do with low self-esteem or low self-worth or you know whatever but now i tend to for most ideas i mean obviously there are some ideas that i hope pretty strong there are some morals and values that will rile up emotion but like you and i were having a conversation earlier about some things on race and different subjects and i will be open to express my opinion but i’m totally not 100 married to any idea where i feel like i need to go argue and fist fight about it in the street like you know it’s like i want to be willing to listen to other ideas willing to consider other points of view because i don’t know everything so i believe i don’t know anything either or not i don’t know everything either i’m i’m totally of that belief uh my wife would tell you that doesn’t show very often in my attitude and i would say i think my problem is i like debates and i like to play devil’s advocate and i like to consider things from different sides but generally in the long run i’m really hoping to convert people to my belief i’m not so much ready to convert not that i won’t change my mind or opinions about things when i see fit but it’s just few and far between because i guess i kind of feel like i’ve already put a lot of thought into a lot of subjects and so there’s not a whole lot more you can say to make me think differently about it yeah and for myself i could say i recognize a lot of times in the moment of a discussion i will tend to be married more to an idea than i might later on like and my wife and i get into this kind of argument a lot you know we’ll get into a discussion or an argument about something and and i’ll walk away from that and then like two days later i’ll bring it back up and be like yeah i see what you are saying i understand now i’m willing to look at that a little differently in the moment i was defensive of my ideas and kind of stuck but i was able to kind of let go of that emotion outside of that immediate interaction and think about it a little more maybe research it a little more and come to a different conclusion maybe a day or two later it’s funny because besides all the emotions that can get in the way of thinking clearly in the middle of any kind of debate or argument there’s also this concept of just regression to the mean which works both ways if i say something way out on the right you’re going to say something back closer to center right but the further i get out it’s almost like the further you have to go the other way and so in the midst of a debate with someone it’s harder to see their side of it because the more they push left or right or up or down you’re going to push equally and opposite in the other direction and stand firm in order to create that average in between you two yeah and the dialogue i think in some of those conversations matters you know i can get into a conversation with someone at work and then i can see it starting to veer into a place where it’s going to start to get argumentative and for me personally i’ll usually find a nice subtle way to kind of bow out of that conversation because i don’t need to convince them of anything they don’t want to know right right so just some facts about open-mindedness that we might not be aware of i mean we talk about open-mindedness in our program like oh yeah it’s a spiritual principle it’s just one of the things you do but you know this is a principle in the world too we don’t have a monopoly on spiritual principles and it’s more than just a spiritual principle it’s a likable attribute in people it’s something we believe if you had people list like qualities of good leaders open-mindedness is usually one of them now what we don’t realize is we’ll say open-mindedness is important but then we also hold these other principles and leaders like steadfastness and the need to be right to dissolve you know sureness and all this stuff and those are in complete opposition to open-mindedness they leave no room to admit being wrong they leave no room to change your opinion or stance on anything those are i’m going down with the ship type ideals and so it’s weird that we kind of give credit to both of these opposing things as being important some other things i learned through reading that many people are closed to the possibility that they’re close-minded shocking right so basically if you’re close-minded you don’t think you are you don’t even know it yes it’s kind of like living in denial instantly because you’re closed off to the idea that you’re closed off and you think you’ve explored all these other options even though really you’ve just kind of comfortably nested into one option and you don’t want to explore anymore yeah and i guess you could say with open mindedness there’s a i guess the opposite of the closed mind in this thing is like if you’re too open-minded then you’re never making any decisions about things you know like for me i was thinking specifically of recovery like i had to make a pretty steadfast commitment like i’m not going to use drugs no matter what and i didn’t need to be open-minded to the idea that i might possibly be able to use i needed to [ _ ] admit that i can’t use you know or i’m not going to use so it’s i think open-mindedness isn’t necessarily applicable to every area of our life all the time yeah so what i was reading talked a lot about the idea that open-mindedness is just the willingness to perceive these other stances and understand them and give them value not so much that we really need to change our mind about where we stand at any point in time not sure how that would apply to that that is an interesting thought like so i guess i could be open to the idea that some people could use or open to the idea that maybe under the right set of circumstances maybe with the right amount of therapy and self-healing and step work maybe i can be the guy who just drinks a couple beers for fun even though i still don’t believe in that concept all right doesn’t mean i have to do it but i guess that could get really tricky early on if i’m considering yeah if somebody would have told me that i could use some psychedelics for my mental health or whatever i’d have been all in oh yeah i think i’m going to go to the psychedelics route the wave of the future and i think that’s the argument and the stance people feel about suboxone a lot you know oh this seems like an easier route i’ll definitely go that route and we don’t want that so we say no suboxone another concept that came about is that people generally through research we realize that people consider those who disagree with them as being closed-minded which is another interesting thing right like so we’re definitely open-minded we’re close to the idea that we’re close-minded even if we are and then anybody who agrees with something other than what we think is the close-minded one not us yeah that’s kind of crazy so it’s almost like a cycle or a feedback loop that feeds us into the idea that we’re open thinkers even though really we’re only believing what we believe and everybody else is the ones who don’t have the ability to see that yeah just in that context the feedback loop kind of thing brought me back to the documentary the social dilemma that we talked about in the podcast last week and the idea that if you’re only getting your information from like a certain source or a certain echo chamber that you know you can think that you’re totally open-minded because all the information that you have is coming from one specific point of view no absolutely and it actually talks about some of that later on in some of the research i was reading so most people overestimate themselves that’s what we found out through research 95 of people rated themselves as more open-minded than average which is impossible for 95 out of 100 people yeah because average obviously is where most people are going to be there’s the bell curve you know most people are near the center of that and so there’s actually only like 10 percent of people on either side of that that are going to be outside the curve and so most people are not above average yeah and hilarious because i of course i’m like oh yeah i’m way more open-minded than the average person i thought the same thing for sure and again i think that’s how i kind of have lulled myself into the belief that i’m like really open-minded right and maybe i’m not so that’s kind of why i wanted to bring this up how do we attack open-mindedness and view it yeah so basically here’s the rundown 95 of people think they’re more open-minded than average so if you do you are probably average like us and if we are close-minded we’re close to the idea that we are close-minded so maybe we need to try to think about that a little more and consider it and it’s not just everybody that disagrees with us that is closed-minded it might also be us so that’s where we’re at right now so they did an experiment where they put a green lens on people’s one eye and a red lens on people’s other eye and basically what most people do is they gotta flip back and forth they can only see the world in green or red they can’t find a way to combine those two but they found that people that scored high on open-mindedness tests were able to merge the pictures of green and red and it was only one small study and and you know it doesn’t prove anything from one study but it was just an interesting idea that we struggle to see the world like our entire concept of our brain is to make things that we find any new information fit in with what we already know and so this does not help our open-mindedness at all our brain is already against us it’s telling us that anything we find out has got to fit into our worldview which we call schema right our core beliefs not that we need to change or alter our schema to see the world differently now that we’ve been presented new information and so this works against us completely so we’re constantly our brain is telling us to be close-minded it’s telling us to fit everything in our box of understanding as opposed to the huge alterations it takes to change our our core belief system that’s a lot yeah and of course now i’m going to go on to try to defend how open-minded i am because i don’t want to be average i want to be better than average but interestingly enough along that idea like i was just telling someone the other day i’m a person that if i’m at home watching things on television i will watch all sorts of documentaries but i’ll pick like random ass documentaries that have nothing to do with things that i’m interested in at all like i just as i’m flipping through i’m like that could be interesting and i just turn it on and and watch and i’m gonna say i think that sort of practice has helped me to become open-minded i don’t think it proves that i’m open-minded actually i think that doing that has helped me to become open-minded because things that i think i know or stories that i tell myself in my head that i learned in school or i heard somewhere one time you know those things you can tend to see how little pieces of that information are wrong the more you experience life and by recognizing all these different areas where i realize my thinking’s wrong you know it helps me to sort of recognize that any idea that i feel like i’m 100 right about is probably not accurate oh my god i need to go home and just apologize to people all day

so they’ve linked open-mindedness with another concept of intellectual humility this is what they kind of have narrowed down mostly what open-mindedness is in the scientific community and this consists of four qualities quality one having respect for other viewpoints quality two not being intellectually overconfident number three separating one’s ego from one’s intellect and number four willingness to revise one’s own viewpoint and those things sum up intellectual humility and those are tough concepts like i was i got a zero you had score

yeah yeah i didn’t do much better that’s for sure and so they talked about the things that can hinder open-mindedness right first one is confirmation bias this is the tendency to obtain or evaluate new information in a way that is consistent with our own personal beliefs which we already kind of explored just a little bit the second one is knowledge bias which is the tendency to assume that others have the same background knowledge as you for instance we talked about aces a couple weeks ago and i just kind of assume everybody knows this [ _ ] by this point because i learned it in my schooling and through going to therapy and all this stuff and to talk to people who listen to the episode most time i never heard of it so if i’m in a conversation or a debate assuming that these people already know about aces and i’m debating about the right way to raise children with somebody and they’re saying we should spank them or do this or that or these things didn’t hurt them when they were growing up and if i already assume they have that information we’re already close-minded to each other’s ideas because they don’t even have the information i think they have right or even cultural experiences you know having having different cultural experiences can make a huge difference on you know our viewpoints of certain things guns or killing or hunting or whatever it’s like we can have all these different the way that we’re raised or the environment that we’re raised in will affect how we view certain concepts absolutely and that’s where most of our world view comes from is from you know the way we’re raised the environment around us our parents and the last one goes back to what you were talking about with the echo chambers and it’s false consensus bias and it’s the tendency to think that people hold the same beliefs as you and that’s what we do when we stick ourselves in these social media echo chambers i think now a lot of people with one belief are leaving a lot of the so-called mainstream social medias to go to parlor or something like that and it’s only going to increase the division and increase the close-mindedness according to this because it’s going to be more false consensus bias that we think everyone around us believes the same and look this is why for a long time i didn’t want to delete or mute anybody on facebook because i i want to know other sides of things i don’t want to be stuck in the echo chamber of only hearing people that agree with me and never understanding where the other people are coming from and yet at some point i felt forced to not see some of that on a daily basis because it was just too much for me it’s too much for my emotional state and so it’s like where’s the health and the emotional state versus still maintaining a level of not only hearing your opinion thrown back at you and thinking everybody believes that yeah and for me the i would say avoidance now of social media comes down to and maybe this is this is going to probably sound super close-minded but i don’t think that everybody with a facebook page is an expert on every [ _ ] thing so and this goes back to the thing i scored zero on i mean not that i don’t think everyone’s entitled to an opinion or that it matters but they don’t all hold the same weight for me some joe schmoe on the internet’s opinion of you know addiction treatment doesn’t mean [ _ ] to me if they haven’t ever experienced it or been through addiction or whatever you know lock them up throw away the key you know that kind of [ _ ] it’s like well what are you basing that on what you know and does that idea i mean yeah i get that i understand some people feel that way and i can appreciate that’s their sentiment but i don’t think that has to hold very much weight or credibility in my mental scheme no but i i think the open mindedness is just the ability to hear that and not be so offended that we have to remove them or remove ourselves as you’ve chosen to do which is kind of like removing everyone yeah and now your echo chamber is not just people who agree with you it’s you which is a little i’m not saying it’s right for you to be on facebook that’s the question though is like where do i look out for my mental health by not seeing these things at the same time how much of a box am i sticking myself in to be close-minded by not being able to and that’s where this whole episode is coming from for me it’s i’m getting frustrated by some differing opinions instead of being able to step back from them and so like how do we do that in a positive way is where we’re at this episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www dot voices hope and consider donating to our calls okay so we’re going to take a test an open mindedness test to see where we’re at and this is a test on psychology today if you’d like to play along at home there’s going to be 10 questions you’re going to write a b or c as your answers and then at the end we’ll go through the scoring of it so question 1 imagine your local online newspaper is offering you the chance to lunch with and interview with a famous dictator known for his mistreatment of women do you a turn down the assignment you could never feel comfortable talking with him b accept it it’s a great chance to learn something about how a dictator’s mind works c maybe if you don’t have to eat with him which feels like you’d be approving of him question two you’ve decided it would be good to spend time volunteering but where do you a you’ve always loved arts and crafts you decide to get an arts class going for some needy kids b your friend is involved in an anti-litter campaign you pick up trash with her on a saturday morning or c you’ve always felt a little awkward around those in wheelchairs you asked to help out at a local rehab facility number three you’re asked to play the part of a porpoise in a school play a what fun the idea intrigues you you immediately try to think like a sea creature b no way you hold out for the leading lady the part you prepared for or c you’ll do it only if everyone else plays animals too number four you’re on your way to an interview for a part-time job at the far end of your city a you leave yourself plenty of time to take a new route getting a little lost can be so refreshing b you take the same route you’ve been traveling since forever c you notice a neat new jewelry shop on your way and make a mental note to visit it soon 5. good pals are dropping over on friday night and you’ve promised to feed them a you follow a familiar recipe exactly b you make something tried and true but think what would happen if i added a pinch of cilantro c you try fixing a new dish what are friends for if not to experiment on six you visit a new art museum where some of the paintings are off beat and even off-putting a you rushed by the weirder paintings asking yourself what the heck was that artist thinking b you spend extra time before the otter ones thinking hmm i wonder what the artist was trying to get across here c you decide to go home and catch up when your t-vode shows 7. a foreign-looking woman shows up at your library’s book club her bright red curvy fingernails are at least two inches long a you immediately decide she’s a bimbo and pay her no attention b you ask around to find out if that’s the style where she comes from c you listen closely when she talks she could be bright and fun even if she’s quirky eight your brother presents you with an oak shelf he made himself a you shove it in the closet you have absolutely no use for such a thing b you ask his help to put it on a door it’s the perfect size for draping extra belts over or c you discover it stands up you place it on your dresser and you use it as a greeting card display nine it’s family vacation time but money is short a you suggest the entire family get to know each other better by visiting local spots this year b you vote for fundraising and suggest having a huge family garage sale c you tell everyone they should have planned the budget better and 10. you watch the film with an uncertain ending maybe the heroine marries the guy or else she might go off on her own a you have no trouble figuring out the ending that feels right b you’ll probably come up with even more possible endings as you maul the story over later c how frustrating why don’t they just tell you how the story turns out and be done with it

okay so to score this for question one a is worth one point b is worth three points c is worth two points question two a is worth two points b is worth one point c is worth three points question three a is worth three points b is worth one point c is worth two points question four a is three b is one c is two question five a is one b is two c is three six a is two b is three c is one seven a is one b is two c is three eight a is one b is two c is three nine a is three b is two c is one and ten a is two b is 3 c is 1.

some of those i wanted to answer what i thought the right answer should be even though it was not what i would do

i found some of them pretty interesting so if you scored a 22 through 30 you are a mental adventurer which means you are very open-minded i guess if you are 16 to 21 it says you are half mindful and then if you are 10 to 15 you are a rut stucker and i was at a 20. oh i was at 17. okay so we’re we’re half open mind what did you find interesting about some of them i definitely i think number 10 intrigued me a little bit with the question about the film and the uncertain ending the cliffhanger ending i have always argued against this like when i watch a movie and it leaves me with no absolute ending i’m frustrated and angry and i’m like i want hollywood to tell me like you’re here to entertain me don’t make me think i could have thought of this all on my own right and i similarly felt the same way about the art one about art paintings that you know like i am not a big art fan like to me i’m totally into realism and same with movies like i wanted to have a beginning middle end i needed to be and maybe that makes me close-minded i don’t know but yeah well one thing i’ve noticed over time is that the honestly the ending that doesn’t give you an ending is probably the best movie ending because it seems like when they try to put an end on a great movie or a great tv show game of thrones comes to mind it just sucks like the endings are hard to do because not everybody’s happy that’s why they leave them open because they’re hard to do well i mean i i’ve never been disappointed with an open ending in the sense that it was terrible well most of the time if they’re too open-ended i just chalk it up to oh they just want to try to do a sequel if it’s successful they don’t want to end the story in case it’s popular the art one threw me off because i was like i wouldn’t know that it was edgy or odd anyway i had to stand there and look at it the way i’d look at all the art because it goes to a museum yeah i think i did one time but i didn’t understand any of it i appreciate it it’s cool looking i think the first one was really interesting too the idea of the you know you get to go interview a dictator who apparently has some biases against certain types of people what do you do what did you come up with there oh i would definitely do it i think it’d be fascinating yeah i like talking to people with different points of view and different opinions i mean i put that i was a tough one though i thought maybe i would like do the not eating with him because i didn’t want to associate with him yeah to some extent but no i wouldn’t care at all about that part i mean you know i just because i talked to someone or ask them about their ideas doesn’t mean i need to believe them and that’s a good sign of open-mindedness i think yeah i don’t know i hope so or or being awful

yes i don’t know i don’t know what that test proves i thought it was pretty interesting i think it’s a good idea that we test ourselves there’s a lot of other tests out there like you mentioned before a lot of them you got to sign up with your email to get a result and they want to lure you in right yeah sell you something probably an open mind in this book yeah they want to sell you a pamphlet on how to be more open-minded a website that can open your mind it just it made me realize that like obviously i’m i’m not above average i was right in the middle average pack of open-mindedness i found it interesting i had five threes so i had five on the open mind at the end of the spectrum and then five ones i had no twos i was not in the middle of any i had three threes and one two interesting so which ones were your threes one three six seven eight mine was one three and seven so one was the dictator one mm-hmm three was playing a porpoise oh okay [ _ ] yeah all day and then seven six was the art museum seven was the foreign looking woman at the library’s book oh yeah because i like people i think people are oh yeah yeah well and i always think that interesting people look there are times they have really outlandish views but they also usually bring something interesting and i’m like hmm maybe there is something to be gained from some outside the box look at things oh yeah and people having different perspectives on things helps us to come up with solutions we might not have or or look at things in ways that we wouldn’t normally like that’s so helpful and i think that’s where a lot of struggle with my open mind and this comes into is it’s not that these people that think differently than me are really thinking outside of the box i think that’s my problem right i’m open to outside the box ideas but what i feel like is we have a box divided into two and i’m just hearing this other half of the box all the time that’s spouting off the same ideas it’s not like they’re different or new ideas yeah they’re clearly on an opposite side of the box in you yeah it’s like you’re not outside the box you’re not giving me something fresh and new and interesting to consider you’re trying to feed me the same old stuff i’ve already considered and thought about and don’t think much of yeah and i i do think it’s important for us though to have certain ideas that we do hold a high value on i mean those are the ones that i would tend to argue a little stronger for or against you know we’ve talked about sponsorship on here and and that’s one of the reasons i tend to be fairly open-minded on sponsorship you know let people find their own way and figure out what works for them but there are a few things that i think are important i mean if i have sponsees that are like my i don’t really think meetings are important or i don’t think step works important like i don’t know that i could just be like oh whatever that’s okay like i would be like no you’re setting yourself up for [ _ ] failure right you know and and i i know so i guess i realize i cannot convince them or change their mind but it doesn’t also mean that i want to cosign that or be like yeah that’s a completely healthy way to look at this it’s just so interesting i guess because a lot of open-mindedness i think we need to understand revolves around just the idea that there’s you know not one right or wrong but that people look at the same exact situation and from their core view of the world from their schema from their different upbringings they’re seeing two totally different things right and so the open mindedness comes in not just to understand that these people have a difference of opinion it’s also what they’re seeing is real to them just as much as what i’m seeing is real to me and we have this one sense of reality and truth as if it exists in a bubble and there’s one little singular way to do it and there’s just not i think the more we’re learning reality and truth are very much perceptions and subjective to our own thinking and i think though where i have to be on guard is where that open-mindedness can lead me personally to a dangerous place you know like for example in recovery language like i understand that there are many pathways for recovery and and people do things a little differently and other things can work but for me personally i it’s incredibly important that i hold pretty steadfast to the path that i’ve chosen like the risk isn’t worth exploring other options you know and i don’t know maybe that’s not healthy but i feel like i am committed to the path that i’ve chosen that’s what i think works and these other paths can work for other people but they’re not good for me do you think your recovery would fall apart without n a is that what you’re alluding to i don’t necessarily know that i would use if that’s what you mean by my recovery fall apart i think i would struggle in my personal growth or personal reflection or areas of my life that i’m trying to improve in if i went with some other recovery pathways i would say more like the 12 steps in general like i don’t know that a maintenance program would give me the same growth or personal spiritual experience that i’ve gained through the steps yeah there’s not another one that i can picture that would give me what i feel like i’ve gained out of this process yeah i don’t know i i tend to believe at least at this stage in my life which is always subject to revision as we know i could probably not attend n a and not really miss out on much that i gained now i think i don’t know i mean but that’s i’m not saying that i would leave na and do nothing i mean i would still do a recovery based podcast where at least once a week i’m having a three hour conversation with a fellow person in recovery where we talk about things that matter to us i would stay in touch with at least three people on a regular basis that i talk to where we talk about recovery and our spiritual and emotional well-being right so this is like stuff i would still be doing on a weekly basis i would still be reading recovery-minded literature i would still be listening to recovery and self-help type audio books and i would still be seeing a therapist so i just i mean that’s really what sums up my recovery today hitting my n a meeting each week doesn’t yeah i go it’s cool i hear some stuff i don’t know that i would miss much not going yeah so i guess i’m thinking of that as the other like i’m thinking from the beginning so i think the work that i’ve done i’ve gained a lot of things now but in the beginning of my recovery if i had went and explored some other pathways i’m not saying i couldn’t have stayed clean or off of drugs or had some version of recovery i just don’t think it would have given me what i have now oh my life would have been very different and if i’m just being honest i i feel like this has been the best choice for me to give me the life that i want um and that again i don’t mean that to be judgmental against other people’s choices or pathways or whatever and maybe that’s egotistical to say like all those other ones have some flaws in them that won’t give me you know what i what i really needed which was here you know which is just a what’s that confirmation bias yeah yeah i needed this program to get me to this point there’s no doubt in my mind and i don’t have any intention of leaving the program like i want to stay around to give back what was given to me and i do still get something out of it like i feel like if i didn’t go there i would have to go somewhere else similar like a support group somewhere to talk about something right but yeah it definitely gave me the foundational basis i needed it gave me the group of people doing similar things it gave me a whole lot of stuff i needed early on to get to this point i was just thinking at this point like i don’t know i could probably do other stuff that’s similar yeah so and i guess where i was headed with that was the idea that is there a time that open-mindedness can be dangerous for us i mean the reason i think at least for myself like i’m open-minded in certain areas but i recognize that i’m way more close-minded in others for example i’m a pretty i would say left-of-center person on most of my beliefs and values and i will tend to be a little argumentative and defensive about some of those points of view not that i don’t listen to other people but i think there’s a serious consequence that comes along with some of the other points of view you know like there’s consequences that matter in some of this stuff i mean if we’re just debating about spiritual principles and things like that fine whatever the consequences are way less drastic but when we talk about public policy or how we treat people in our lives or how open-minded we are to other people’s life choices like those things seem like the consequences are way more dire yeah and that’s does get tricky and so i don’t know that open-mindedness could ever be a bad thing and and i hear you coming somewhat from that angle like if being open-minded but i’m trying to wonder because and this is where a lot of it comes down to with my frustration and why this topic came up i struggle when i view another group as having a belief system even if that’s not what they’re saying i kind of feel like i’m reading between the lines and hearing something else and then i struggle to even be open to that idea at all because that whole concept now really just seems like something really negative and so okay let’s put us back in civil war times because the state of the political world this is how it’s being framed i’m not saying that’s right or wrong i don’t know that that’s what this political framing is really about but let’s just go back there and see what we think right if you’re in the north of america and your side is saying we’re going to fight to free slaves should we be open-minded to the idea that there’s people who don’t believe that like is that healthy to be open to that concept right is there a place where we can be healthily open to understand that they do think different but still think it’s wrong is that possible well and so that’s again that’s similar to what i was thinking as far as you know you look in the the recovery field and we have advocates we have people that are you know protesting or picketing for civil rights and crime reform and and all those things and so if i’m too open-minded does that make me wishy-washy on some of these issues that need people out there fighting for them i mean crime reform and the the way that the drug laws are in this country are a terrible injustice you know in my opinion right i understand that people don’t necessarily see it that way so is it open-minded to be like well if that’s what they think then that’s okay and i don’t need to do anything about it or do i have to say no they are [ _ ] wrong and this [ _ ] needs to change you know and i think maybe the open mind in this part at least from what i’m trying to look at right now is that i’m able to hear them say they have this other theory about how to take care of it and control it right okay i’m open to that i hear your other theory but then when it comes down to application we’ve been living your other theory and it’s not [ _ ] working so let’s all be open-minded together and try something completely different because i’m not saying your theory’s wrong it’s not working in practice right or maybe we need the open mindedness to look at all the options that are available for dealing with some of this stuff you know to help pick out the ones that are best we can look at some of these bad ideas and you know maybe acknowledge like yes this is an option for dealing with this but it’s probably not the best one or maybe not one that’s going to work and give us the results that we want right versus just telling people that they’re wrong and they need to shut up nope you’re wrong yeah i don’t believe that it’s definitely easier just to tell them to shut up and that they’re wrong well so some of the practices that we found increase open mindedness and these are few and far between and hard to do so if you are not already open-minded this is a struggle this is an uphill battle for sure which is probably why a lot of us aren’t that open-minded or at least not as open-minded as we really tend to believe we are so the first one was traveling a lot or even better living for extended periods in foreign cultures like not many people get that opportunity yeah especially not many people who don’t have finances and so you’re talking about a large selection of distribution of wealth we’re talking about lower socioeconomic status that is most of people that’s the majority of us we don’t have the ability to go live in some other country or travel frequently to other countries but if you have that ability we have the ability to better revise our viewpoints because we see other people in action living in ways contrary to ours that they consider perfectly normal and that seemed to work fine yeah well and we did our traveling when we went around different parts of the country and we were i mean we were mostly in a very i would say economically similar environments like we were working at different campgrounds so you had predominantly white people in different parts of the country and even in the different parts of the country amongst white people predominantly white camping people that have you know a similar typically similar appreciation or at least you know desire to be in the outdoors and experience nature just the differences of experiences that we had at the campgrounds culturally was fascinating you know it was from different parts of the country you know we were up north in massachusetts a lot of people look at camping and this is to paraphrase but that was their excuse to go out and get drunk every weekend it’s like i’m gonna go to this campground i’m gonna stand around a fire and get drunk and that was what they did versus when we were out in utah and people were specifically going to that area to go out and explore nature and explore the different campgrounds and things like that versus a campground we were at in south carolina where a lot of people were there to stay for like more extended periods of time because it was cold up north and they were coming down south to be somewhere warm for the winter so even amongst white culture like it was just the differences of experiences of people was interesting you heard it here first nature lovers alcoholics and sissies oh all camp canadians the canadians come down to get warm here in the south the second thing that assists with open-mindedness is people who read fiction tend to score higher on open-mindedness quizzes and they think that’s because their brains are a little bit better trained to seek out stories that vary differently from their own or from the reality that they’ve been shown in their world and so just another way to think outside of how other people can live differently and it’d be totally normal to them another practice you can do which i completely hate this concept i don’t understand it at all it baffles me honestly but another one is you can pick a current controversial topic and then get a sheet of paper and split it into two sides and you can write all the arguments for and against it on both sides of it and you don’t have to agree or believe in any of it you just sit down and write you make your two lists one’s in favor one’s against and the better you do with writing down that i just feel like i would [ _ ] suck at that i’ll see i love to do that i do that with my wife a lot you know when we’re trying to talk about ideas or deal with different situations so from my opinion it helps to have a better argument for something when you understand where the other people are coming from like it’s a means to an ends right well but that’s my issue i think a lot with the open mindedness and the areas i struggle with it lately i don’t understand the other side of the argument like almost at all and so i think this was probably a good practice that would show me how close-minded i am i think if i tried to make both sides of the argument i’d have like 10 things for the side i do believe in and then i’d have like maybe one or two for the other side and that’s a good way to see hey maybe you’re not that open-minded you can’t even think of arguments for why people might see it this way or think this way or want it this way i’m baffled frequently how people can think some of the ways i’ve i’ve heard them think well it’s funny it’s definitely hard i don’t tend to follow a lot of even the mainstream what i’ll call the mainstream which i don’t know what the [ _ ] we consider mainstream media anymore i mean to me cnn fox msnbc those are all just as mainstream media as any other media they i don’t know how they distinguish that they’re not but in any case i will tend to try to watch both i’ll watch some cnn stuff and then i’ll watch some fox stuff on similar i’d lately it’s been the election results and how they’re how each side is viewing this different stuff and it’s hard like i want to yell at the [ _ ] computer when i hear and i’ll just throw it out there like tucker carlson and like dude you are so misrepresenting this information but i try to just calm down and listen and understand like this is a perception that a lot of people have and he’s reaching millions of people yeah spreading this information whether i think it’s wrong or right they’re eating it up and it’s difficult to sort of try to step back from the emotion of that sometimes but it’s helpful yeah and i imagine it’s very much the same from the other side people who are seeing you know rioting or or whatever it is that they’re up against or not for in the political realm or they’re against socialism and to you know for them to hear the arguments that socialism maybe isn’t what they think it is or or maybe you know people lean this way or or letting people riot they’re probably up in arms about that and to understand that they’re probably just as frustrated listening to an outside opinion but i really do think that i do think the outside opinion part is where i’m struggling because i just don’t feel like either of those two sides have an outside opinion i feel like they’re both an inside opinion and i i’m open to things outside of the box i’m tired of the [ _ ] box that’s where i’m at i’m tired of hearing left and right sides of this box where where’s the other side like can we turn the box around is there a different is there something on the back yeah well and most of the problems are difficult i mean if you get it not to get specifically into politics but in politics a lot of those issues are difficult because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to a lot of these [ _ ] really difficult questions i mean it’s just to get back to like addiction stuff and and even addiction treatment and what do we do right now with the opioid epidemic and everybody knows the drug addiction you know epidemic well and the answer is because there isn’t a if we just do this then that’ll fix all the problems you know addiction comes from a lot of different places it stems from a lot of different sources how people end up as addicts you know they come from all different walks of life and so it’s almost like a multifaceted approach is what usually will work but that doesn’t drive people’s emotions to get them to vote so people want to hear what simple cheap easy fix to this problem and in politics that’s not really a thing you know if it was i feel like they would have fixed it by now but when you get into you know poverty or criminal justice reform what is the answer what do you do with some of these people that are habitual career criminals because they’re drug addicts right right no it’s not simple solutions and i feel like that’s almost a good statement about recovery because before this podcast before recent years of some eye-opening experiences i looked at recovery as a a one-way type thing not only did you need to do it in n a because that was the only place that was doing it right you needed to do it exactly like i did it oh you didn’t work out a step working guide oh yeah that’s that’s yeah sorry that sucks for you right you’re missing the good information oh you you weren’t told to read the it worked sound why chapter before you worked the step god who was your sponsor what were they doing and so that’s such a narrow minded like you had to do it just like me which is not the way that people in my area did it much less people outside of my area or around the world and then to really be exposed lately to there’s no one-size-fits-all recovery right people are recovering by reading online blogs by listening to podcasts by just doing therapy church like there’s a billion different modes of recovery and nobody like some work better for some people some work worse for some people but they’re all we can kind of smorgasborg and pick and choose and do what’s best for us i guess yeah and i think in politics we specifically in politics everybody wants the quick sound bite one hit fix and that’s you know again a lot of these issues immigration like they’re so complex and and complicated i think a lot of the open mindedness comes down to we think we are right the way we got it the way we did it the way somebody gave it to us is right period and that’s it and if you want to be ever baffled by your close-mindedness for christians at least meet somebody who doesn’t celebrate christmas yeah that will blow your [ _ ] mind instantly it’s like wait hold on you don’t get a tree and present just what [ _ ] do you mean right and we’ll turn it into all kinds of how they’re wrong they don’t love the baby jesus or whatever yeah and it’s like there’s a whole lot of [ _ ] people that could give a [ _ ] less about christmas christmas is not a thing for them and i mean i just i remember my first experience meeting somebody who didn’t celebrate it i was just like what what i couldn’t get over it and so i think that’s a good example of bam instantly man i’m not as open-minded as i think yeah this just reminded me one of the things you talked about earlier about visiting different countries we can’t necessarily visit different countries but i’ll say that online there are so many sources of information you know documentaries articles written different podcasts on different cultures and struggles and you know issues that countries deal with that really help you know again i don’t know that it helped me solve some of the problems but it definitely helped me to get different points of view on some of these issues to realize you know the nuances of the things for example there was uh just this cultural stuff that i can think off top my head there was a i think it was on pbs it was called five broken lenses it was a guy who was filming from the palestinian side of the israel-palestine conflict there was which is just fascinating you know stuff it’s a guy just filming the stuff and how the israelis keep coming and breaking his cameras catching him and and it’s just you know it’s a really sort of deep dive into that cultural stuff and then that got me to exploring like another podcast that was hours and hours long it’s called martyr made it was on the israel-palestine conflict going way back through the history of stuff and it really gives you an insight into some of these cultures you know and so you can find information about other cultures nowadays especially without having to actually go to them yeah and just you know in reading some of this about open-mindedness it gave some examples of different places where things are viewed a little differently or different perspectives on the same set of facts or reality or truth that we like to look at and if you take for example any war that america has been in we have a way we look at it our news says we have victories and then crushing defeats when some of our you know troops are killed and losses but have you ever considered what the other countries media and people and population thinks right like just think about that it’s not going to be the same they’re not going to be like oh yeah the americans won today like right it’s very different you know same thing with the idea of like communism versus capitalism and and the the you know or democracy and the cold wars we have with other countries just any time people there’s going to be vastly different views from their population to ours and we only get one side and i think it was summed up best in this example there’s two mothers they’re 45 years old they’re driving their 12 year old sons down the road they both pass a homeless man who’s picking up cans to try to recycle them to make some money for you know i don’t know food or alcohol who knows what he’s doing and the first mother says you see that guy over there that’s why you got to study hard and get good grades so you don’t end up like him and the second mother says to her son you see that guy over there that’s why you got to study hard and get good grades so you can help underprivileged people like him and it’s like wow right what a what two different views to have and they’re both i mean they’re both saying the same thing to some extent that you need to study hard and get good grades to succeed in life but to come from such different places to see the same scene and think two opposite things and i just think we need to be more open to that and i definitely need to be more open than that which is where this entire episode came from i just want to be more open to whatever it is i i’ve struggled lately with some opposing views that i’m not a fan of and i maybe i try to justify it by saying their views are a specific thing to me which i i can’t say that i don’t completely think that but i’m also reminded frequently that like i’m never going to reach them if i just sit back and ignore them and say that they’re you know and label them and so i want to work on my open-mindedness and i want to better see first how not open-minded i can be to realize the need for it yeah and i think for myself it really helps that i tend to be optimistic about human beings in general i tend to think that most people are at least starting from or coming from or naturally in a good place and that most people that are angry or bitter or racist or those things are either hurt damaged or uneducated you know and that through in a compassionate teaching compassionate conversation through education through trying to you know understand almost like the aces thing trying to understand or overcome some of whatever traumas have driven them to such angry or anti-human being points of view you know that if if we can bridge that gap we can get people to to look at things a little differently a little more humanely the other thing is i know a lot of really conservative people that in their general lives you know outside of their political views are compassionate caring loving people they just look at the government and its role differently you know and that caring compassion needs to come from somewhere else and it’s just a different point of view and and some of it’s been my own family members that i know outside if he didn’t if he just looked at their political crap that they post on facebook or whatever you think they were these racist angry violent people but then you talk to them or sit down with them and have a conversation and they’re carrying nice compassionate people right and it’s hard in my mind to bridge that gap sometimes but i just have to try to accept them for who they are yeah it’s a tough one so i don’t have any more thoughts personally about open-mindedness i i think this went well i i want to be more open-minded that’s all i know yeah well like most again spiritual principles take practice they aren’t a feeling you know i don’t just get to feel open-minded or just be open-minded like i have to practice open-mindedness and i do that by recognizing where areas that i’m weak and what areas i need working i’ll just pray for open-mindedness and then be presented with times i can practice it and then poof next month you’ll be mr open-minded yes i’m gonna get the magic stick waved at me i can’t wait it’ll be so much easier it means when someone’s saying some [ __ ] that you don’t like and you’re just counting in your head to ten trying to calm down before your brain explodes oh goodness all right so it’s been a great week thank you uh please reach out let us know your anecdotes about open-mindedness anything you’ve done to cultivate it that helps you have more open-mindedness maybe areas that this podcast episode in particular has helped you to realize that you’re not quite as open-minded as you’d like to be and what you plan to do about it as always feel free to share share it with all your close-minded friends they’ll love to hear this with that i guess we’ll see you next week if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation look us up on facebook twitter and instagram to join the conversation also and share your ideas with us we’d love to hear it


One response to “59: Are You As Openminded As You Think You Are? (Sort Of)”

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