Yesterday, I skimmed over a book called Open by Johan Norberg.
Norberg claims that behind every human advancement, is an element of openness. Think about it for a second! Imagine a world where everyone kept their knowledge and insight to themselves. From scientist, who work hard to bring innovative solutions, to kids sharing ideas on how to play. Any movement or change for the better, has happened because people have collaborated, shared their ideas, and were willing to listen.
The dictionary defines openness as lack of secrecy or concealment. It also defines openness as “acceptance of or receptiveness to new ideas or change’. Openness can also be defined as commitment to transparency. When there is transparency, one also has to acquire tolerance to accept or at least hear what is being shared. Here are some personal examples of how openness has made an impact in my life:
- I can think of my child rearing days; and how the sharing and openness I experienced with other young mothers helped me not feel alone.
- I can think of work, and how holding back information on a project by any of the team members, could have led to disastrous results.
- I can think of the pandemic and how not sharing knowledge about the virus could have caused million more deaths.
It’s through exchange of ideas that we grow, we become knowledgeable, build on what we’ve learned, and ultimately add value to the quality of our lives. Overall, I think the underlying reason as to why folks are not open is fear. One type of fear is the fear of being judged or mocked. The other type of fear is the worry that their ideas will be stolen and someone else will get the credit for it. I also think there are those who just want to be left alone, as they are dealing with mental blockage.
I sometimes picture each of us as cells in a bigger body, say a giant. This means each of us have a unique talent and a specific role to make this giant function properly. When we hold back information, we block the process of reproduction and growth. The aloof cells cause impediment to the entire system.
As Norberg mentions in more detail, advancements in the history of mankind, was made possible by being open. I have had my share of mockery in my face and behind my back. To be honest, I don’t care…Ideas are to be shared, as rudimentary and silly as they may seem. At least, I rest assured that one day someone can build on any of my silly ideas.