Openmindedness - Why Your Life Is A Cage

By Leo Gura - May 16, 2014 | 19 Comments

How closedmindedness silently robs you of all your amazing potential.

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for and in this video I’m going to talk about Open-mindedness.

Alright, let’s talk about open-mindedness. What does this mean and what does this really have to do with anything? How is this pertinent to your life? Well, this is actually a video that I’ve been very, very excited to shoot and I really want to actually make this video very powerful because to me, open-mindedness is, I would say, one of the most important personal characteristics that you need to cultivate to be good at personal development.

The Back Story

Let me go a little bit into the back story of this, why this is important. We’re going to talk about how this applies really directly to your life and why if you’re not extremely open-minded you’re not getting the results that you should be in your life. It’s really hampering your growth so we need to open you up. The more we open you up, the more we can grow you faster. It’s like an accelerator for your growth as a human being.

Alright. So how does this actually work? What’s the connection? For me, personally, this is one of my biggest strengths. I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years about what are my strengths as a human being, what am I really here for, what’s my purpose and all this other stuff… and what I really discovered is that one of the strengths that I just naturally have, for whatever reason, I was maybe born with it or whatever, is that I have a very, very open mind.

Why It’s Important For Personal Development

It’s very, very difficult to offend me. And I’m very curious about lots of different perspectives and ideas.

Now, why is this important for personal development? Well, for me, I think I’ve gotten some abnormal results for personal development in the last five years. Much more abnormal than most people. I’ve gotten some pretty extraordinary results.

I’ve been able to create my own business and become financially independent. My business over the last four, five years has generated over a million dollars in revenue and that was all pretty much passive income. I was able to quit my job and work for myself over the last five years, which has been amazing.

I’ve really worked on my nutrition, I used to be sixty-five pounds overweight. I’ve got that handled. I’ve really worked on my fitness, going to the gym, working out hard, weight lifting. I know I look skinny now, but I used to be actually pretty good at weightlifting until I had other priorities that I’m now focusing on.

What else? Food addiction, getting totally unhooked from food addiction. Relationships with women, I was so, so, so bad at attracting women, keeping women, finding a girlfriend. I had to work really hard to figure that stuff out.

So, these are just some of the examples and the reason I’m saying this is because I look around, I have friends, I have people that I know, and I just don’t see them getting these kinds of results. And the reason that they are not getting them isn’t because I’m that special, it’s simply that I think that I have this special personality characteristic that’s unique that I don’t really see in other people.

It’s Like A Freight Train

What I see other people doing is that I see other people getting easily offended at different perspectives and different ideas and what happens is that they grow up, they grow up in a certain environment, certain culture, certain family, then they go to college get certain conditioning and influences there, and after college they get into work then they just kind of get stuck, right?

By that point it’s like a freight train. It’s got so much momentum that’s it’s just going and going and going and if you want to change its trajectory it’s very difficult. And that person may be stuck in some way of thinking with his beliefs and his perspectives and his, kind of, opinions about life. And that person is very hard to develop.

I mean, how do you improve your life? For me to improve my life in all these different areas, with business, with health and food, with relationships, with improving my own thinking patterns… All of this stuff took incredible open-mindedness because where I start from when I do my development is I start here and I look up and I say, ‘I need to go way up there’ and I need to see it like the next level up.

But most people they’re not even willing to see that level. Their ego won’t let them. Because to see this other level, you have to have a certain foresight. You have to say, ‘Wait a minute, I could be wrong here. My beliefs could be limiting me in some way. I could be holding myself back. I could be ignorant in this situation. Wait a minute, I could totally suck in this field that I’m trying to master or develop.’

Brutal Honesty

You have to be able to be brutally honest with yourself. And to me that was very important from childhood. I made a really firm commitment that I would never ever be dishonest with myself. You can never be dishonest with yourself, because if you can’t be honest with yourself, then how are you going to grow? How are you going to spot your own faults? See, it’s not going to happen.

I’m almost super, super honest with my own faults, sometimes that backfires on me, but in the end I think it’s really been important for me to grow and to get my results. You guys want results. Well, I’m telling you if you want results, talking about all this stuff is nice, but if you’re not willing to open your mind and take a look at radically different perspectives from what is in your life right now then you are going to stay stuck. I mean very radically different.

I see people getting very easily offended all the time. And to me this is both laughable, it’s funny, but it’s also very sad. It’s funny to me because I think it’s very shallow. It’s extremely egotistical to get offended at anything. There’s no reason that you should get offended at anything.

Because for me it’s very easy to see what’s happening and I’m going to take you through the mechanics of that in a minute. What’s actually going on there? It’s not what it seems like. But it’s also sad to me because I know that because that person gets so offended so easily, that they are avoiding exactly those things that are going to promote their growth. Because what they’re getting offended at are the things that their ego doesn’t want to admit to itself.

So it’s bullshitting yourself. I see people bullshitting themselves all the time and then actually what they do is to project it back onto other people. So you bullshit yourself and then what happens is that you don’t tell yourself that your bullshitting. What you have to do then is that your mind has to go through all these contortions, bending over backwards to accuse other people of all sorts of wrong doing.

You can get angry at people, you can get depressed, you can play the victim, you can post nasty comments you can say nasty things, you can sign petitions and you can start rallies and revolutions. And you can do all of that simply to avoid looking at yourself, being honest with yourself, looking within, because it’s so inconvenient for you. It’s so uncomfortable.

A Gauge Of Your Development Level

To me when I was really young just for whatever reasons I said that you know what, I’m never going to bullshit myself, at least not consciously. I’m going to stay very, very vigilant to that. And that has served me extremely, extremely well. I will find flaws within myself and it doesn’t matter how painful it is, I don’t care how much it hurts my ego, I’m willing to look inside.

You need to be the same way. If you’re not this way your progress is going to be very slow and at some point you’re going to hit a ceiling. You’re just going to hit a ceiling because there’s certain things you’re not going to acknowledge within yourself and you’re not willing to take responsibility for. Very, very important.

Now, actually this idea of getting easily offended, this is funny to me and very interesting because I think that this is actually a very powerful gauge of your personal development level. Here’s how it works. This is like a law of personal development. Some of you might not believe it, but here’s how it is, is the degree to which you get easily offended, or offended at all, is the degree to which you’re not well developed as a human being.

So if you take this to its maximum conclusion then completely self-developed human being if one even exists, but someone who’s extremely well personally developed, someone who really understands themselves. That person will never get offended at anything. No offending will happen to him or her. And let me tell you why that is.

What Offends People Most

To understand that, let’s look at some of the things that people get most easily offended by. Well, people get easily offended by topics like religion and politics. Oh man, religion. Religion is huge. People get so easily offended when you badmouth their religion, or question their religion, or say something that’s heretical according to their scriptures or their religious views.

Any other perspective, they’re not willing to consider. And in fact any other perspective they perceive as being threatening to their faith. That is hugely, hugely crippling to their life. That shows complete close mindedness. That’s everything that you need to be against if you’re trying to become self-actualized and personally developed.

The next is people get offended by things like murder, rape, racism. Now these sound like very negative things and I don’t want to come off as saying these are nice things. These are negative things and I’m not in any way condoning them, but it’s one thing that they are bad things and it’s another thing that you get easily offended by them. A lot of people get easily offended by it and what that actually is, is a defense mechanism because they’re not acknowledging certain things within themselves.

Sex, that’s another one. People get so easily offended by sex. I was just posting a video about how to improve your sex life with a girl, how to make a girl squirt and I got a lot of people posting offensive, not offensive, but comments that they were offended and it was funny to me because you could just see that someone’s mind is closing, closing down, closing down. It’s shutting down to what’s out there in the world.

How about criticism of your work? A lot of people get offended when someone criticizes their work in any sort of way, says anything negative or even just giving a positive constructive criticism. So many people are bad at taking constructive criticism for this reason. Their ego can’t handle it.

How about things like comments about how you look, how you dress? Someone tells you that they don’t like your hair, they don’t like your shoes, they don’t like your jacket or they think that you’re overweight, they think that you’re underweight or something like that. A lot of people get offended by that for obvious reasons.

You understand why that happens. I mean I don’t feel good when someone makes a negative remark about my physical appearance either, but then again I’m not completely personally developed so I get offended at things, but much less so than most people. And the reason is that I’m very open-minded. I don’t care if it hurts my ego. To me that’s good.

The Ego

See, this is where most people get it wrong. They think that of it hurts their ego then it’s bad. They don’t even see it, that it’s their ego that’s really functioning here and that’s what’s really happening is that the reason you’re getting really easily offended at any of these things or any other millions of things is that your ego, it has a certain world view.

And your brain literally as you’re growing up you’re constructing a world view, a model of how you think the world is and how it works. Things include many of your beliefs, many of your preferences in life, many of your cherished cultural ideas. All this stuff gets lumped together and creates this mental model. Now you’re running along life and you’re using this mental model to look at everything and this is a highly distorted perspective of reality.

But let’s say that’s the case and you’re just going through life and everything’s fine. But then what happens is that you come across something, some fact out in the world that disturbs your mental model, it rubs it the wrong way, because you’re mental model can’t cope with that fact. It doesn’t fit. There’s a cognitive dissonance going on.

And so when that happens there’s really two choices: you can either admit that, wait a minute, my mental model could be wrong. How can I readjust my mental model to adopt that new fact that was presented? Or you could do the opposite and you can say, ‘My mental model is completely right, that fact is wrong. Something is wrong with reality, with the outer world’.

And so you point the finger out there. And this is what ninety-five percent of people do, is that they don’t have the intellectual honesty and rigor and open-mindedness to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to take the responsibility for all these various facts that are coming in and I’m always willing to adapt my own mental model to fit the new facts.

A Scientific Perspective

This is really kind of a scientific perspective to living your life. That’s what science is about, science is about just taking what is and working with it, and then being comfortable admitting that’s it’s wrong and taking on new facts and assimilating new facts, and new facts and new facts, and overtime what happens is that builds and builds and builds until finally you get a very, very accurate, very scary picture of reality through scientific law and all we’ve discovered through the sciences.

Now the opposite of that really is religion. Religion entrenches itself. It’s dogmatic. It says, ‘This is the way it is damn the facts, damn the facts. It doesn’t matter what’s out there, this is the way it is’.

That’s how you get someone like Galileo almost getting burned at the stake or living the rest of his life under house arrest, because the church, the Catholic Church didn’t want to admit that that there’s problems in their model, their mental model about how the universe and astrology and the planets are moving.

That whole structure of how the cosmos works just didn’t work for them because Galileo’s model was so radical from their model. And of course they don’t want to change their model, they don’t want to admit that they’re wrong so what do they do? They burn the guy at the stake, or they put him under house arrest.

Open Your Mind Up

If you’re a student of history you see numerous examples and this is actually very scary. And it’s actually good to be a student of history here, because when you’re a student of history then you start to see what is going on here and how closed-mindedness has really robbed humanity of its greatness and potential. And this is happening not just on a global societal scale, but it’s also happening within you personally coz all societies are constructed out of people. So this is happening because you are being closed-minded.

This is very, very important to drive this home here, is that you really have to open your mind up because all that’s happening here is that your mental model, it wants to stay the way it is. There’s kind of a biological natural impulse to stay there, but the better approach to life is to always be expanding and opening up. Being willing to take that pain.

To me it’s not even a pain anymore it’s like a pleasure. When I see a new fact that I don’t understand, when I see a new problem that’s really radical to me it’s like oh damn, that’s like, it’s cool. A new chance to go out there and adapt my model to fit that new fact. Whereas most people would be like no damn that. That guy is stupid, they would get angry at him or curse him or insult him or just say something negative and criticize and judge.

See, you want to avoid that. If you live that type of life then you’re going to get stuck. I mean, how can you not get stuck? Because you’re cutting off facts from your mental model. This creates an inaccurate mental model and it means that you have to go around, and you have to constantly be protecting your model, like you have to fight for it.

Security vs Dogmatism

See, a really secure person, a really open-minded person doesn’t need to feel like they have to fight. That’s why someone can criticize their work, okay, whatever, and he goes on doing his work. He doesn’t have to fight for it. Someone comes in and tells him a new perspective on sex, or politics, or religion that may be very radically different from what he believes and he’s like, ‘oh maybe that’s true. Maybe there’s actually something there’.

He doesn’t get offended even though it’s very different. Someone comes and tells him something negative about himself, tells him that he’s fat or that he’s wearing bad shoes or something like that, criticizes his style of dress and the person’s like, ‘Yeah ok, maybe, maybe. So what?’ It’s like so what? You don’t need to be threatened and fighting all the time.

A dogmatic person, it’s very easy to see them. A dogmatic person will pull out the pitch fork as soon as something comes up that threatens them. Someone says something about them, someone says some little truth, a little comment, someone makes a little side comment at you and it seems innocent, but then you recognize that there’s a really deep element of truth to it and you get offended and you do, you bring out your pitchfork and defend yourself.

But see that’s an adversarial relationship with life. Instead of doing that why don’t you just say, “Okay yeah, maybe there’s something there. Let me look inward, let me see’. Coz it might not be very comfortable right in the moment, but of I keep this process happening it’s going to be like a scientific process on myself. I’m going to get better, and better, and better, over time and this is what personal development is, it’s gradual growth.

So each little offensive thing that happens to you that’s actually an opportunity for you to grow, but you need to see that. If you’re always defending yourself, if you’re finding that you have to do this, then what that really shows, it doesn’t show that you’re trying to defend something, it doesn’t show that you’re a crusader.

See, a lot of times people will say, ‘Well I’m a crusader for my religion, I need to defend my religion. I need to defend my political party. I need to defend my culture’.
That’s not really what’s happening. That’s actually complete bullshit. What’s happening is that you’re defending your own mental weakness. That’s all that’s happening and then you’re coming up with excuses.

It’s your ego. You need to really see through that whole illusion. It’s your ego that’s there and it’s like the puppet master pulling strings and you’re like the little puppet doing whatever the ego is saying, just so that the ego can feel a little more comfortable.

A Fragile Ego

And all that is showing that the ego is actually extremely fragile. For you, your world view is extremely fragile. That means that any little thing can come in and disturb it. But with a very open-minded person, with a very developed person that’s not the case. They have a very robust mental model of the world and one of the key features of that mental model that they have is that they could be wrong.

Always, always, always they admit that they could be wrong, they could be mistaken, they could be deluded, they could be tricking themselves coz they know how tricky the mind is. They know how powerful the ego is. They are not immune to the ego, the ego is working on them, but they admit, right, they admit that they could be wrong which is important because the other type of person, the closed-minded type of person would never do that.

And in fact what they’ll do is come back at you and say, ‘Well, what if you’re wrong? What if you’re wrong? Let me worry about whether I’m wrong’. An open minded person always takes that burden and that responsibility on himself.

I am constantly second guessing my theories, my models, my understanding of reality. Constantly. Never am I saying, ‘This is the way it is’. And I spent an inordinate, ridiculous, crazy amount of time building my models. Very methodically, much more so than other people.

So if I’m doing that, and I’m still doubtful about some things, how doubtful must most people be who aren’t spending hundreds, thousands of hours researching this stuff, studying philosophy and science and religion and personal development? They should be much, much, much more doubtful, except that they’re usually much, much, much more dogmatic and sure that they’re right.

And of course all that is, is their ego protecting the fragility of their system. So this is actually a very good way to gauge someone’s personal development. Just toss them a little sarcasm, toss them a little comment, try to rub them a little the wrong way and see how easily do they get angry, how easily do they get upset, how easily do they get offended?

Because if they do you can tell they’re not really self-developed at all. Their mental model is very, very fragile and you do not want to be that person, because that person is very limited in life and they are going to run along that track, just automatically, unconsciously running along that track and it’s going to be very hard for them to grow in all the areas in life that they need to grow in order to become calm and happy and successful and peaceful in life.

So the conclusion here is that, take responsibility for your own offences. Use them as vehicles to promote your own growth and really, really value open-mindedness. If you are a student of personal development and you want to go far in this, open-mindedness. This is the key characteristic that you need to develop and cultivate within yourself.

Wrap Up

Alright. This is Leo, I’m signing off. Go ahead and post me your comments down below, please like this, please share it, and of course come check out, sign up to my newsletter. I’m releasing new, free content every single week. Exclusive articles, videos, other goodies that I have planned, I have a lot of research that I’m doing and I’m going to be bringing lots of new stuff to you.

What I’m doing here is I’m helping you to develop a very, very robust mental model of your life and of reality. The kind of model that will allow you to create whatever you want in your life, from money, to relationships, to an awesome career, passion, energy… all that stuff. To get to it, the best way to get to it, is to have accurate mindsets, correct models, understanding the stuff.

Then you know how to act and what to do. That’s why I’m so passionate about making models. That’s why I’m so passionate about studying all this stuff, coz to me there was no way I could have got all the results that I’ve gotten unless I did this.

I had to kind of like bootstrap myself. And I found a lot of very, very powerful mindsets and I want to share those with you and I want to keep you on track with your own dreams and your own goals, so you can actually accomplish them.

I don’t want to just talking about this stuff. I want to see it happening in your life, in my life… I want to actually see the results and I want you to see the results and I want you to prove it yourselves, so sign up and I will help keep you track.

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Just a sincere congratulation for all your excellent material, but specifically for this one… I simply LOVE IT!!! I´m Mexican but had the privilege to study at Columbia University for a Master Degree (several years ago I must admit…) so I don´t have a problem with the language…

You are really an inspiration for me, and you came to my life in a the exact moment..!!! Keep your hard work and your great spirit, I´m convinced you are truly changing lives all over the globe…!!!


Leo Gura says:

Thanks Mario!

Ace says:

I believe in keeping an open mind, yet not so open that I trip over my brain. I’ve been studying PD since 1994 When Robert Wright came out with the book called “Man – The Moral Animal”. Of course this coincided with The 7 habits of highly effective people. I turned to PD out of necessity.

I’m not sure if keeping an open mind is the same as Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, He must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear”. The term “Open” minded gives one the impression that you are leaving the door to your mental model open to invite everything into your mind. To me that’s Psychic Russian Roulette. Science, Wisdom and Experience determine how wide we keep the door to our mind open.

I believe in listening to every one empathically to see what resonates with me and what is bull shit masquerading as wisdom. (Note* Keyword is empathic) A non moderated open mind can lead to self destruction. Just ask Steve Pavlina how Polyamory worked out for him and Erin.

I once read in a business marketing book: “Complacency is death”. We do not live in a static world so if you’re not reaching for the next wrung on the ladder, you’re slipping down the ladder. The same attitude exists in all 4 aspects of your life. (Wisdom, Health, Spiritual Growth and creating a legacy) If you neglect one, it effects the others.

Keeping an open mind is a must. Keeping your principles in alignment is even more important. There are laws that exist that you can not overcome even with an open mind. Gravity can work for you and make your life easier, or it can kill you. Jumping out of a plane can be a rush, or suicide.

My open mind has a lobby and a bouncer. It takes a deep examination for a principle to make it into the “back office”. But it works both ways, if new data convinces me that my back office has flawed principles or concepts, it gets escorted out of the Back office and is replaced by the “upgrade” or, the proper version for my model. (Metric vs. Standard)? One may fit both bolts; but strip the threads while going un-noticed. One of the best signs of complacency are your emotional indicators. You’re either ascending or descending. You’re either feeling good, or feeling as something is wrong. But remember, emotions are only indicators.

Never act on emotions, but the logic that comes from examining the emotion. Did you discover a new insecurity, or are you working with flawed principles? Emotions are your mental motion detectors. This doesn’t mean you start shooting at every thing in your front yard. But you need to face the cause of your emotional shift. There is a reason for it and keeping an open mind means being able to understand you may be working with a flawed paradigm. Ignoring your emotional shift means living in denial. (Often allowing the bad guy entrance into your house, or even worse; your head)

Leo Gura says:

The point of keeping an open mind is never to be threatened by any idea and being willing to change your thinking honestly whenever the situations demands it.

The problem is that you assume that you can trust the “bouncer” at the door when that very bouncer is the problem! Who is trusting the bouncer? Why is the bouncer correct?

Claire says:

Hello Leo,
I found this video interesting. However, it made me consider a very important aspect of my life. Since a teenager I have always found intimate relationships deplete my natural energy, motivation and happiness. I am trying to discover why this is? I have a family and a partner, we have been together twenty years. Although tough at times we have always worked at our relationship. Yet, I’ve reached this cross roads where I am unclear as to what my belief systems regarding relationships has been all these years. I am not sure at the moment if my mind is tricking me or if I have felt the way I have because my whole notion of how a relationship should be is wrong. I want independence and freedom within my’s as if I believe this can only be attained outside of a relationship. It a scary idea to think that how you think a relationship should work might be why you feel the way you do. It’s like looking at yourself from a different perspective and not being totally trusting or sure of what your feeling?

Johnny says:

Good video but I would have wanted to know concrete ways to cultivate open mindedness.

Linda Taylor says:

Leo, I can’t help but admire you tremendously. I wish we could be best friends. I love your thinking and can tell that you put an incredible amount of work into it. I am forwarding your links to quite a number of people, but am surprised at some who are reluctant to even listen to them, I think because they are comfortable in their lives the way they are – even if they are broke, depressed and don’t feel their lives will get any better.

However, I am growing in leaps and bounds.

Thank you.

Leo Gura says:

Thanks for sharing the videos. Yes, most people don’t care about personal development. So just focus on bettering yourself and leading by example.

eli says:

amazing video,really makes me think differently about my life…
is there any book you would recommend for this particular subject of openmindness.

Leo Gura says:

Yes: http /

Tumea says:

Great as always! I really need to work on this one in my life… Thanks for your precious and free insights. You’re really helping people

roman says:

Leo. Thank you. This is an excellent reminder!

Tarun says:

Leo you are really helpful in every way possible in personal development, thank you.

Phil Ryan says:

Great Video – a real eyeopener. I have always been the one to hold my hand up when I feel I am in the wrong but then think I’m too soft for doing so – clearly not – however I do get easily offended. This is why I look a lots at your videos – personal development is a priority in my life now so thankyou

YM says:

Hi Leo
to recall the video about “How To Have Amazing Sex (For Women)”
I think that you did it in purpose to shake women’s values, ego and etc.
but ultimately I think that the tone was not correct, kind of patronising, very top expert man to bottom women who don’t know how to please a man.
If you had kept it the same way you explain why men cheat, it would have been ok. But again, I suppose that you did it consciously and purposefully to do another video. Did you just apply the “How To Exploit People To Grow Yourself”?
And last but not least, 42 min to say banalities, frankly – you can do it in 15 min.
As you said, we are all learning so we are all opening and trying at our own pace.

Doug Archer says:

HI Leo:

Enjoy your work, you’re articulate; Listening to you is like a university lecture.

You make life sound so easy, and all you do is follow these steps, and you’re there. My life was never that easy. I have a stuttering problem, I was classified as a slow learner, I’ve had some health problems, and, if that were not enough, I was outed as a homosexual, gay man, outed by parents and co-students.

How could I even begin to achieve with all of the above baggage. I tried to present my self on the moral high ground, but people saw through my untruths and lies. I’m sure you know about the six verses in the bible used to condemn homosexuality. I want you to debate and win over Pat Robertson. To Pat, The bible is the truth above the American Government.

Leo, you are so articulate, it puts me to shame. I have never been able to speak like you do. I feel I’m in prison. You know what you want to say, but it doesn’t come out that way. It makes me look dumb.

I’m not dumb,

Doug Archer, San Diego

Faizul Hussain says:

Since subscribing to your emails I have watched and saved all of your videos. I agree totally and unconditionally, with all the comments on this particular video. I am 77 and I look forward to your future videos. Thanks Leo.

Rose says:

….when someone says, “….no offense, but…” to me, I usually say, “…none acknowledged.” Thank you for your work, Leo. I appreciate these videos tremendously and start my day with then everyday.

Milan says:

Hello Leo. Looking for a video that you talked about not making any decisions that are your own.

Cheers Milan

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