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To:  A Future Generation
From:  Carol Sartain
Written:  7/29/2012
Posted:  10/3/2012

It boils down to this: About the best thing we can do for ourselves is to be open to new ideas.

That’s easy, right? Unless you’re one who says “Don’t tell me; I know,” you probably think you’re flexible and open to new ideas about how to do things and how to behave.

Most of us are fairly open-minded, except when we come up against those mental red flags concerning social mores, religious beliefs, and family standards. And don’t forget the biggie: our early childhood subconscious programming.

When we’re reacting to those influences, when we’re most convinced that we’re absolutely right, that’s when we’re most often in need of a new idea.

We’re not only what we eat; we’re what we think. Therefore, if we want to make improvements in our lives or resolve conflicts, we need to consider doing things differently.

That’s so common sense, but it must be hard to do or we’d all be doing better. So, how do we get past the ideas that are holding us back?

Try this: turn an idea around 180 degrees.

Just consider the opposite. If your first reaction is “No!” consider saying “Yes.” If your first reaction is “They are wrong,” take a moment to imagine why they are right. Then, if you think no one is going to die because of it, try a different response. Say yes instead of no. Tell them they’re not wrong, viewed from their perspective.

If you like to lead, try following. If the obvious answer is to build a wall, try building a gate. If someone asks you about a solution to a problem, don’t answer about the solution. Ask about the problem.

Question facts. They could be merely habits, or opinions, or even worse: advertisements. Question how you are reacting to something. Then think about how you could react differently.

If this sounds like you’re being wishy-washy and weak, be prepared for a surprise. These techniques enable you to become more honest with yourself, less self-defensive, and better able to negotiate life’s challenges.

Considering the opposite may not be the only way to adopt a new idea, or the best way, but it is an interesting way. Try it. Then try it again.

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