The Power Of An Open Mind

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‘When I was young, I read a lot, I wrote poetry – I would have been a totally different person had I not been exposed to those things’ – Tupac Shakur

When we’re young, we have a freedom of imagination and expression that we don’t appreciate. I think about those times and realise how that was when I was most free. I could read what I wanted, watch what I wanted and be free to dream and think of ideas that eventually my surroundings would make me embarrassed about.

Why is it that certain things like reading, museums and art are seen as ‘boring’ and ‘lame’? Where does the peer pressure come from that makes kids (and even adults) have a close mind?

As I looked at some of the famous artists of our time, I saw that they we’re all influenced by something outside of their normal field. Tupac wrote poetry and went to an arts school where he participated in ballet classes. Steve Jobs spent 18 months studying calligraphy (a way of writing and design).

Knowing the impact they went on to have, shouldn’t we then look to do things that take us outside our comfort zone? Things that don’t naturally line up with what our friends do or what is the ‘norm’?

I remember I used to listen to a lot of soft rock when I was a teenager (Billy Joel, Elton John the classics!). Now, I still listened to my bread and butter, hip-hop, but the soft rock gave me a different appreciation for music. The same with the old motown records. You understand culture. Gain a greater appreciation for art. How everything is different – yet has so many similarities

Most importantly, stepping outside your comfort zone gives you a whole new perspective. You can then bring this to whatever you’re doing. Our creations, our art, our life’s are all dictated by our experiences. What we read, watch, listen to and learn. It all affects what we end up doing. As Steve Jobs put it:

“When we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

So without him taking that class he would have never the Mac.  Apple’s speciality – its design’ wouldn’t exist. Without Tupac being exposed to that arts environment, he would have never have wrote the music that was so passionate, combined with the story telling, that made him so unique.

So this is to say don’t be embarrassed to do other things that may seem ‘wack’ or ‘gay’. To be extraordinary you have to move out of the ordinary. You can’t judge things that you haven’t experienced. This is what will impact you and make you unique.

So this year try something out of the ordinary – mix with people who you wouldn’t normally talk to, heck go see the ballet if you can! You never know how it will manifest itself in the future…..

‘I would rather have a mind opened by wonder, than closed by belief’ – Gerry Spence