You are the product of your environment. Ultimately, the people around you are the ones who shape you. I was thinking about it yesterday: I changed my perspectives a lot in the last 6-7 years. At first, I thought that was the result of getting exposed to other cultures, losing somehow some of my bad (but sometimes absolutely needed!) Italian habits.
Open-mindedness is more than just getting exposed to multiple cultures
Was that really it? Was that just traveling, working and meeting with people from a different culture? The more I think about it the more it’s clear it was something else.
Your partner, your friends, your colleagues, ultimately your environment, are the ones who shape you. Day by day, with a sentence, with a thought or simply with a simple action. Open-mindedness is another step forward, it’s mostly a mix of listening and opening yourself to something you don’t understand. Your environment matters because great people are better at listening and usually love coaching other people close to them. It’s difficult to experience this if your environment has always been composed of mediocre people, but once you change that, it’s fascinating. The better your environment, the better you become. That’s why great people attract other great people in the work environment. Try hiring just a few “ok people”, and you will watch that equilibrium breaking and great people leaving.
People influence you, for the better or the worse. A few weeks ago I met a friend of mine who I didn’t see in a while. This person is brilliant and one the smartest people I know, but staying too much close to close-minded and mediocre people definitely had an impact on her. I was shocked by some of her thoughts related to some situations and how little she tried to look at the whole picture.
Guess it’s a good reminder to spend more time to dive deep into thoughts, do a step backward and try to understand more why things, people, situations are that way before you judge them. It’s a great exercise, someone calls it emotional intelligence. The more I see that practiced by great people the more I understand its value.