“Throw out your conceited opinions. It is impossible for a person to begin to learn what he thinks he already knows.” Epictetus, Discourses.
Having an entirely open mind – one that is not partially occupied already by beliefs and expectations – is probably impossible to achieve. Being ‘aware’ of our own existence is one example of an assumption we readily make every day (unless, of course, you’ve recently watched the film ‘Sixth Sense’!). What can we do to manage our tendency to ‘know’ what’s going on around us – sometimes before it’s even happened?
Try asking a question that challenges your own ego and the need to be competent, wise and in control: “What don’t I know? How wrong could I be? What is missing from the scene?” Better still, adopt this mindset with those with whom you work and you can start to create a culture of naïve humility – willing to be educated by others and unlikely to react defensively (just because your ego is hurt when you don’t have ‘all the answers’).