Mental rigidity: When the way you think prevents you from growing

Albert Einstein said that "the mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original dimension". But opening your mind is a complicated exercise, far more than we are willing to admit mental rigidity it begins to build at birth. Each learning not only opens new doors but also closes others. As we grow and form our picture of the world we become filled with stereotypes, beliefs and prejudices, which are very difficult to remove in the future. Furthermore, mental rigidity does not only refer to ideas but above all to the way of thinking.

The vicious circle in which mental rigidity encloses us

Mental rigidity makes us prisoners, reduces our adaptability, creativity, spontaneity and positivity. It keeps us tied to old patterns that prevent us from growing intellectually and emotionally. In fact, mentally rigid people are those who: - They think there is only one "right way" to do things. - They assume that their point of view is there. is correct and that others are wrong. - They are not open to change because it scares them. - They remain tied to the past and refuse to move forward. But if there is something that particularly characterizes mentally rigid people it is the desire to be right. at all costs. They do not realize that this attitude is extremely harmful, because the possibility of making mistakes and making mistakes is actually the main tool for learning and growing.We cannot grow and assimilate new knowledge, both intellectually and emotionally, if we do not realize ourselves. first I realize that what we knew or believed was wrong, or at least limited. Making mistakes therefore turns into a kind of liberation, while mental rigidity and the desire to be right only hide the fear of what would happen if we were freer, if we dared to admit our mistakes and go further. who have good mental flexibility is precisely that of being able to realize that bad decisions are not "bad decisions", because ultimately, any decision is good if followed by another that we can make better use of. Mental flexibility consists precisely in knowing that any decision we make will always open up a world of possibilities before us. Therefore, mental flexibility consists in being willing to make mistakes, not being afraid of making mistakes and being willing to accept and try to understand new things and points of view different from ours.

Mental rigidity as unconscious resistance

The person who develops a very rigid way of thinking is in a sense trying to protect himself. In fact, mental rigidity can also be understood as a form of psychological resistance. At a certain point, when an idea is contrary to what you think, a strange feeling arises that confuses, paralyzes and prevents you from opening up to the reasons of others, so many prefer to simply reject the argument, without analyzing it. But the good news is that when that happens it's because something inside of us reminds us that there is a problem, something that needs to be fixed, even if the process is painful. In fact, in many cases realizing that something we have believed blindly for years is not true, or at least not completely true, can be extremely painful and can open the way to an existential crisis.

How to open your mind?

The good news is that mental flexibility is a skill that can be developed.
1. Focus on your emotions. When you are tempted to dismiss an idea completely, focus on your feelings. If you feel uncomfortable with what you are saying, this stiffness of thought is likely to hide an unconscious resistance. Ask yourself what you are afraid of. If you answer honestly, you will begin to realize several things. In fact, the greater the fear you feel, the stronger the resistance will be.
2. Feed your desire to grow. Curiosity remains one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to grow. Instead of simply accepting ideas, ask yourself the "why" of things. When you start questioning everything you've always taken for granted, you will not only encounter new answers, but you will also discover a new world, much bigger than the one you knew.
3. Develop empathy. In some cases, chances are you will disagree with the ideas, ways of thinking, and attitudes of others. But instead of completely rejecting them, try to put yourself in the place of these people to understand how these ideas were born. If you reject what you do not know or like, you will always remain the same person as before, but if you try to understand the other, you will take another step forward, you will grow a little more.
4. Accept mistakes. Having good mental flexibility means not being afraid of making mistakes, it means being willing to take new opportunities, even if it means making mistakes. It is about understanding life as a continuous learning in which every mistake is not a step backwards, but a step forward towards our evolution, because it allows us to get rid of old patterns and archaic ways of doing.
5. Don't seek the absolute truth. The most important premise for getting rid of mental rigidity is not to seek absolute truth, simply because it does not exist. Whenever we are convinced of an absolute truth it means that we stop looking in that direction and, therefore, that we start dying a little every day in that field. Therefore, it is important not to cling to just one way of seeing things and to keep an open mind at all times.
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