We are hard-wired to be critical of new ideas. Maybe it’s our Stone-Age brains in the forefront, avoiding risk in order to survive. Sometimes the urge to appear intelligent and decisive can result in too-swift judgment of something novel.

Art Markman’s blog on promoting a culture of smart thinking includes a tip on staying open to ideas. He recommends that you allow fresh information some “soak” time and try them out before you pass judgment.

Staying open to different viewpoints can only happen when we are willing to be wrong sometimes. We may also need to wrestle with some powerful emotions, such as anger or hurt. In these moments of vulnerability, curiosity is both difficult and much-needed.

If you’re like me, you may be programmed to quickly ask, “What’s her problem?” or “Is he nuts?”

To boost curiosity, try some new questions: “I wonder why he said that?” “What would that look like?” “How would that work?” “What do I like best about it?”

You may find that these questions will not only open your mind…it will unblock those of the people around you as well.

Need some help staying open-minded? Contact Humanergy.

Photo from istockphoto.