You have a mind that is constantly churning, evaluating, and forming judgments about everything around you. While having opinions is human nature, being overly opinionated can close you off to new ideas and damage relationships. What if you could train your mind to be more open and less judgmental? It is possible with conscious effort and practice.
By learning to recognize when your opinions are forming, pausing to open your mind, and striving to understand other perspectives, you can achieve a balanced and open outlook. With an open mind and an open heart, you’ll find greater peace and connection. The journey starts now as you read these words. Open your mind and see what insights you can gain.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Care About Being Less Opinionated
Why care about being less opinionated? Because an open and curious mind is a beautiful thing.
To Open Your Mind to New Perspectives
By loosening your grip on your views, you open yourself up to understanding different ways of seeing the world. You may find truth and wisdom in places you never expected. This expands your mind and enhances your ability to connect with others.
To Reduce Conflict and Foster Understanding
When you’re less attached to being right, you become a better listener. You make others feel heard and understood. This defuses tensions and brings people together, even when you disagree.
To Find Inner Peace
The less you cling to judgments and rigid beliefs, the less mental anguish you experience. You worry less about convincing others and defending your position. Your sense of self-worth isn’t based on proving a point. This lightness of being cultivates an inner tranquility that transcends circumstances.
To Make Better Decisions
Strong opinions often obscure our vision. But with an open and inquiring mind, you see more possibilities. You become aware of your own biases and consider other angles. This clarity and objectivity leads to wiser choices that you won’t later regret.
Being less opinionated is a journey, not a destination. But each step toward openness and understanding is rewarding. Start today – your future self will thank you.
Recognizing When You’re Being Overly Opinionated
To become less opinionated, you must first recognize when your opinions are clouding your judgment. Pay attention to the language you use. Words like “always”, “never”, “everyone”, or “no one” is red flags. The world is rarely so black and white. Rather than making sweeping generalizations, use qualifiers like “sometimes” or “many”.
Notice if you’re unwilling to consider other perspectives. Do you dismiss views that differ from your own without listening to the reasoning behind them? Try to understand other stances – you may gain valuable insights and become more open-minded.
Check if your opinions are facts. Just because you believe something to be true, doesn’t make it so. Do some research to determine if there is data and evidence that counters your views. The truth is often complex, so seek to understand the nuances.
Look for rigidity in your thinking. If you find yourself unwilling to accept new evidence that contradicts your views, that’s a sign you’ve become overly opinionated. Challenge yourself by exposing yourself to different ideas.
Growth comes from evolving based on new information.
To develop a more balanced outlook, make a habit of considering other perspectives and opinions. Approach each situation with an open and curious mind. Your views may not change, but by understanding other sides, you’ll become more reasonable and less judgmental. With practice, you can train yourself to form opinions that are based on reason and compassion rather than bias or habit.
The Drawbacks of Being Too Opinionated
Being too opinionated can hold you back in life. When you’re unwilling to consider other perspectives, it closes you off from growth and progress. Here are some of the major drawbacks of clinging too tightly to your own opinions:
1. Limited Learning
When you think you already know it all, you stop seeking to understand. You miss opportunities to expand your mind by exposing yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking. There is so much to learn from others if you keep an open and curious mind.
2. Damaged Relationships
People will get frustrated when you constantly dismiss their thoughts and perspectives. No one likes being around someone who thinks they’re always right. Your unwillingness to listen and find common ground can drive a wedge between you and others. Try to see things from multiple sides – your relationships will thrive as a result.
3. Increased Stress
When your sense of rightness depends on proving others wrong, it leads to anxiety, anger, and inner turmoil. You waste mental and emotional energy trying to convince people to see things your way. Learn to accept that there are many possible “truths” in life, and you will feel a sense of peace from letting go of the need to be right.
4. Limited Problem-Solving
The best solutions come from synthesizing many viewpoints, not just your own. When faced with challenges, open your mind to input from others. Be willing to consider alternatives and find options that integrate insights from multiple perspectives. Rigid opinions block creativity and the possibility of discovering better solutions.
Keeping an open and receptive mindset allows you to grow as a person, strengthen your relationships, decrease stress, and become a better problem-solver. Try each day to understand other perspectives – your openness will be rewarded in so many areas of life. Expand your mind; limit your opinions. The possibilities that open up are endless.
How to be Less Opinionated
One way to become less opinionated is to practice active listening. When someone is sharing their thoughts and ideas, pay close attention to what they are saying and do your best to understand their point of view. Refrain from passing judgment on their thoughts, instead focus on understanding and learning.
Additionally, take the time to research and investigate new and unfamiliar topics. You may find that you are more informed with a broader understanding of the world. Finally, challenge yourself to be more accepting of diverse opinions
1. Identifying Your Triggers for Strong Opinions
To overcome strong opinions, you first need to identify what triggers them. Our opinions often stem from deeply ingrained beliefs, experiences, and values. Recognizing your triggers can help you gain awareness and make more objective judgments.
The events of your life shape your perspectives in profound ways. Painful experiences can make you overly sensitive to perceived slights or lead you to make negative assumptions. Positive experiences can make you overly optimistic or unwilling to see other viewpoints. Look for patterns in the types of topics or situations that evoke the strongest reactions in you. Ask yourself how your experiences may have influenced your outlook.
We all hold certain beliefs central to our identity and sense of purpose. Question whether any of your closely held beliefs are limiting your openness to different ideas. Try re-framing beliefs as preferences rather than absolute truths. Remind yourself that there are many valid ways of seeing the world.
Our values represent what we care about most. But taken to an extreme, values can narrow our thinking. For example, if you value achievement highly, you may be overly judgmental of perceived laziness in others. If you value justice, you may rush to condemn anything you see as unfair. Look for ways your values may be distorting your objectivity. Focus on balancing them with openness, understanding, and compassion.
The first step to overcoming strong opinions is developing insight into yourself. Observe your reactions and see if you can trace them back to life experiences, beliefs, or values. This self-awareness will help you recognize opinions as they form and allow you to choose a more moderate perspective. With regular practice, you can train your mind to be less reactive and judgmental, and open to more possibilities.
2. Cultivating Curiosity and Open-Mindedness
To cultivate an open and curious mindset, you must consciously practice expanding your perspective. Rather than reacting to new ideas with judgment or dismissal, approach them with a willingness to understand.
Challenge Your Assumptions
We all hold beliefs we consider to be truths, but many are based more on habit and familiarity than on fact. Make a habit of questioning why you think what you think. Try re-examining your positions from different angles to uncover hidden biases or logical fallacies. Be willing to accept that your views may be limited or misinformed. With an open and inquisitive attitude, you can gain insights that lead to greater wisdom and empathy.
Seek to Understand Different Viewpoints
It’s easy to form opinions about ideas or groups we don’t fully understand. But superficial judgments seldom reflect the nuances and complexities of reality. Try to expose yourself to different philosophies and ways of thinking. Read about them, follow related social media accounts, and engage in respectful debates. Even if you don’t agree with all you encounter, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the diversity of human thought.
Listen With an Open Mind
When discussing controversial topics, strive to listen for understanding rather than just reply. Pay close attention to the actual experiences, values, and reasoning behind someone else’s perspective. Look for common ground and areas of agreement before focusing on differences. Ask follow-up questions to make sure you comprehend their actual stances. You may find that some of your disagreement stems from miscommunication or misunderstanding, rather than truly irreconcilable differences. With open-minded listening, you open the door to finding harmony even amid discord.
Practicing openness, curiosity, and a willingness to understand will expand your mind and enhance your relationships. While conviction has its place, cultivating an open and inquisitive spirit leads to greater wisdom, empathy, and connection with others. With practice, you can train your mind to judge less and understand more.
3. Asking Questions Rather Than Making Declarations
To become less opinionated, start by asking more questions. Rather than making declarative statements about topics, frame your thoughts as open-ended questions. This simple shift can help open your mind and make you more receptive to different perspectives.
- What else could be true here that I haven’t considered?
- What’s another way of looking at this?
- What are other possibilities or options?
When conversing with others, ask follow-up questions to make sure you understand their viewpoint fully before responding. Say something like:
- Can you explain your perspective in more detail?
- What has led you to see things this way?
- I’m curious to know more about your opinion on this.
The more you practice active listening and seek to understand, the less rigid your stances will become. You’ll start to realize there are many sides to every story.
Rather than seeing opinions as fixed or absolute truths, view them as perspectives that can evolve based on new information. Remind yourself that there’s no single ‘right’ way to think about most topics. The truth is often complex, messy, and multi-faceted.
Keeping an open and curious mindset takes conscious effort. But making this a habit can help you become far less dogmatic in your beliefs and far more understanding of different ways of thinking. With time and practice, you’ll get better at holding opinions lightly and embracing ambiguity and nuance.
The goal is to be able to say: “I used to think X, but now I see there’s more to the story.” There’s wisdom in being willing to change your mind. So ask more questions, listen more deeply, and stay open to other possibilities. Your opinions will soften, and your world will open up.
4. Practicing Active Listening in Conversations
To become less opinionated, you must learn the art of active listening. This means putting your thoughts aside to focus completely on the other person speaking.
Pay close attention to the speaker
Give the speaker your full attention. Make eye contact, keep an open and relaxed body posture, and avoid distractions. Hear not just their words, but the feelings and intent behind them. Listen for what is meaningful to the other person.
Let the speaker finish their thoughts before responding. Interrupting is disrespectful and prevents you from truly understanding their perspective. Bite your tongue if you feel the urge to cut them off.
Ask open-ended questions
Seek to clarify and gain deeper insight into the speaker’s views. Ask questions like “What has led you to see things that way?” or “Can you tell me more about your perspective on this?” Ask follow-up questions to make sure you comprehend them fully before forming your own opinions.
Reflect on what you’re hearing
Take a few moments to reflect on the speaker’s words and the feelings behind them. Try restating their position in your own words to confirm you have understood. Look for common ground and validity in their stance, rather than searching for ways to prove them wrong.
With practice, active listening can become second nature. Make a habit of suspending judgment in conversations and approaching each interaction with an open and curious mind. You will find that people open up more, and you gain valuable insights into different ways of seeing the world. Your own opinions will become more balanced and well-informed.
Less opinionated, more open-minded – this is the gift that comes from truly listening.
5. Seeking to Understand Rather Than Persuade
To understand rather than persuade, you must open your mind. Seeking to understand involves letting go of your preconceptions and opinions to truly listen.
Listen without judgment.
Suspending judgment is challenging but crucial. When talking with someone of an opposing view, listen without immediately labeling them or their ideas as “wrong.” Pay attention to their actual words and experiences, not your assumptions. Try to understand why they feel that way. Ask open-ended questions to make sure you comprehend their perspective fully before responding.
Focus on experiences, not beliefs.
People’s beliefs often stem from their life experiences, so try to understand the experiences shaping their views. For example, someone with a negative view of immigration policy may have had different experiences with the system than you. Seek to understand those experiences. Focusing on experiences helps build empathy and common ground.
Look for nuance and complexity.
Opinions on most issues are complex, not black-and-white. Look for nuance in other perspectives instead of an “all or nothing” view. Question whether aspects of their view have merit. Also, question whether your view might lack nuance. Complexity and nuance lead to more understanding.
Share your experiences too.
While listening, also share your own experiences that shape your perspectives. Explain how life events influenced your beliefs. Look for connections and common ground in your experiences as you build understanding. Let others ask clarifying questions. Understanding is a two-way street.
The path to understanding starts with an open and curious mindset. Make the effort to understand rather than persuade. Listen without judgment, focus on experiences, look for complexity, and share your own experiences too. Common ground emerges from a willingness to understand one another.
Understanding leads to progress; persuasion often leads nowhere. An open mind opens doors.
6. Considering Different Perspectives and Possibilities
To expand your mind, consider other perspectives and possibilities. Our experiences, environment, and beliefs shape our opinions —but there are many ways of looking at the world. Challenge yourself to understand different viewpoints.
Seek to Understand
Rather than immediately dismissing other views, seek to understand them. Ask open-ended questions to discover the reasons and experiences behind someone’s perspective. You may gain valuable insights and find common ground.
Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you see the situation if you walked their path in life? This exercise in empathy can help overcome differences and bring people together.
For any situation, there are multiple ways events could unfold or problems could be solved. Try brainstorming additional options before forming an opinion. Think outside the box—some of the best solutions come from unexpected places.
New ideas may seem strange at first, so have an open and curious mindset. Do some research on alternative theories or unconventional approaches. You may discover options you hadn’t considered that change your perspective.
No one has a monopoly on the truth. The world is vast and complex, and there is always more to learn. Approach each new piece of information with humility.
Be willing to accept that your current opinions may be misinformed or incomplete. When presented with contradictory evidence, don’t become defensive. Carefully evaluate the new information and adjust your views accordingly.
Letting go of preconceptions and admitting you were wrong takes courage. But by doing so, you open your mind to grow in wisdom and understanding. Staying humble allows you to see beyond yourself to the greater possibilities in each moment. With an open and curious mind, you can overcome biases and expand your perspective.
7. Learning When to Keep Your Opinions to Yourself
Learning to keep your opinions to yourself is a skill that takes practice and self-discipline. It allows you to build stronger relationships and avoid unnecessary conflict.
Listen More, Talk Less
The more you listen, the less you feel the need to share your opinion. Pay close attention to understanding other perspectives fully before responding. Ask clarifying questions instead of assuming. Listening demonstrates you value what others have to say.
Consider the Context
Some situations call for discretion. At work, with family, and in public settings, consider how your words might affect others or reflect on you before speaking. Your opinion may be unwelcome or inappropriate. It’s always better to stay silent than risk embarrassment or hurt feelings.
Find Common Ground
Rather than focusing on differences of opinion, look for areas of agreement and build on those. Compromise and finding common interests are more constructive than trying to prove a point. Meet others halfway instead of demanding to get your way.
Stay Curious, Not Certain
The most open-minded people remain inquisitive. They don’t see their views as absolutes. Consider other angles and interpretations. Be willing to accept that you might be mistaken or that there are other valid ways of thinking. Staying curious keeps you humble and open to learning.
With practice, restraint, and openness, you can train yourself to curb excessive opinions. Learn to listen, consider context, find common ground, and stay curious. Keep an open and inquiring mindset rather than one of certainty. Your relationships will flourish as a result.
Less opinionated, more understanding – that is a skill worth cultivating.
8. Cultivating Tolerance
To cultivate more tolerance for different viewpoints, you must practice open-mindedness and empathy.
Listen with an Open Mind
When encountering opinions that differ from your own, listen with an open mind. Try to understand the other perspective rather than instantly rejecting ideas that don’t align with your beliefs. Ask questions to make sure you comprehend the full meaning and context behind the differing opinion before passing judgment.
- Challenge yourself to find common ground and areas of agreement. Focus on listening to understand rather than just replying. With an open mind, you may find your own opinions evolving.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand their experiences and viewpoints. Consider how their background, environment, and life events have shaped their thinking. Ask yourself how you would feel in their position.
- Recognize that many factors beyond our control influence the formation of our opinions and beliefs. Have compassion for others and their perspectives, even if you don’t fully agree with them.
Accept that Differences Will Exist
As human beings, we all perceive the world in our unique ways. Vastly different life events, experiences, environments, and more have shaped us. Accept that there will always be differences of opinion.
- Do not expect or demand others to share your views. Allow diversity of thought and promote inclusiveness. Judge opinions based on their merits, not on whether they match your preexisting beliefs.
With practice, cultivating an open and empathetic mindset can help you become more tolerant of differing viewpoints. Accepting diversity of thought leads to greater wisdom, creativity, and progress. While differences may remain, tolerance and inclusiveness will prevail.
9. Developing Empathy
To develop empathy, you must make the effort to understand other perspectives and be willing to challenge your assumptions. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It allows us to be less opinionated and closed-minded.
Listen without judgment
Pay close attention to others and listen to understand their experiences and perspectives, not just to reply. Avoid interrupting or mentally preparing a counterargument while they speak. Keep an open mind and listen with the intent to learn.
Ask open-ended questions
Show interest in others’ experiences and seek to gain insight into their perspectives. Ask follow-up questions to make sure you understand fully. Say something like, “Tell me more about your experience with that.” or “What has that been like for you?”
Reflect on your reactions
Notice any discomfort you feel when exposed to different perspectives and question your preconceptions and biases. Our natural tendency is to be defensive, so make a conscious effort to avoid that reaction. Reflect on why you feel that way and how you can become more open-minded.
Put yourself in their shoes
Attempt to view the world from the perspective of someone distinct from yourself. Imagine what experiences and life events shaped their perspectives and values. How would you feel and think if you had lived their life? This can help foster understanding and compassion.
Developing empathy and open-mindedness is a journey. Start by listening without judgment, asking open-ended questions, reflecting on your reactions, and putting yourself in the shoes of others. Make the effort each day to understand perspectives different than your own. Your ability to connect with people unlike yourself will grow, and you’ll find your own opinions softening into wisdom.
Self-Reflection and Personal Growth
To grow as a person and become less opinionated, engage in regular self-reflection.
Reflect on Your Opinions
Examine the opinions you hold and why you hold them. Ask yourself:
- Are these opinions based on facts or personal biases?
- Do I understand other perspectives?
- Am I open to new evidence that contradicts these views?
Journal about the roots of your opinions and assumptions. This self-awareness is the first step to developing an open and curious mindset.
Continually expose yourself to different ideas and ways of thinking. Read books or follow experts with opposing views. Discuss sensitive topics with people of diverse backgrounds. Travel and immerse yourself in other cultures.
Take a step back and consider other angles before forming judgments. The more you understand those who differ from you, the less attached you’ll feel to your own opinions.
Practice Active Listening
Listen to, and understand rather than just reply. Ask open-ended questions and reflect on the other person’s views on them to make sure you comprehend what they’re saying. Make eye contact, give the other person your full attention, and avoid distractions.
When you listen actively, you gain insights into why people hold the opinions they do. You may not change your views, but you’ll become more empathetic and less judgmental. Developing this skill takes conscious effort but is worth the investment.
With regular self-examination and an openness to grow, you can overcome excessive opinionating and close-mindedness. Make progress gradually through small acts of courage and compassion each day. Keep learning and improving – you’ll become a wiser, more understanding person as a result.
So you’ve started on the journey to open your mind. It’s not easy, but with practice your opinions will soften and your perspectives broaden. See each new experience as an opportunity to learn. Question what you think you know. When a judgment arises, gently set it aside. Your opinions are not you – they are fleeting thoughts.
Underneath the surface, your true self remains open and curious.
Stay humble in the face of life’s mysteries. There are more ways of seeing the world than you can imagine. The less you cling to views, the more wondrous each moment becomes.
Keep going – stay devoted to truth, not opinions. Let your mind expand into possibilities. A whole new world awaits when you free yourself from the limits of how you think things are. You’ve only just begun to discover how open and clear your mind can be.
- Why incompetent people think they’re amazing – David Dunning- TED:ED
- 7 Ways Leaders Express Their Opinion Without Being ‘Opinionated’ by Avery Blank from Forbes
- Is Being Too Opinionated a Bad Thing? by Morning Coach
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