Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hip to be Square (Or, At Least Unafraid of the Possibly Square Idea)

One of the themes that I hope will emerge from these writings is how open-mindedness is critical to the good life. A big part of that means acceptance of new ideas, people, ways of living, spending time, etc. In other words, life can be a lot more interesting and rewarding when you don't torque things or scoff at them. Certainly, this is nothing new in the Judeo-Christian tradition -- the Book of Proverbs alone contains more than a dozen references to "scoffers" and how they stand against everything that is Good.

Much more recently than the time of King Solomon came a study on luck done by Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. Wiseman's ten-year study concluded that what separates lucky people from unlucky ones mainly comes down to mindset.

In a 2003 Skeptical Inquirer piece, he wrote, "Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements and as a result miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for."

In other words, lucky/successful people are too busy taking in the totality of their surroundings to spend their time rolling their eyes or scoffing at ideas, habits, or people that run against the grain of what they think is cool or even acceptable. This spirit of open-mindedness leads to greater and richer opportunities than does a closed-minded one.

And if you believe that "luck" is the intersection of preparation and opportunity, it should follow that more luck will result for the open-minded.

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