Abundant Optimism

Helping people regain and keep an optimistic outlook in challenging circumstances and improve their creativity, mind, and skills.

Follow the Path to an Open Mind

By Tamara Martfeld

I have found it very interesting to see how different things are connected. I go to research a topic on the internet and, wanting additional information, I follow the research links to the article I am reading. The research links lead to other links, and eventually to articles not used in the original research. Many times, these links provide a different perspective to the original topic.

Before you start this exercise, make sure your computer firewalls and other security features are up-to-date. If your computer security warns you against a site, donít go there. If the site looks like it might land you in jail, leave it immediately. Unfortunately, not all sites are safe. A good computer security software should be sufficient. If you do not know enough to know if what you have is good enough, check with your computer go-to person. Also, donít do this at work.

Open your mind by following the links on a topic on the internet. This is especially interesting if you think you know a lot about a topic or feel you are an expert on the topic. Find a web page on your topic which contains many links. Follow each and every link on that page, and then follow each and every link on every page you reach. Directly or indirectly, everything you find will be associated with your original topic.

For example, if your original topic is a rose, links might lead to other flowers, leaves and how they work, and roots and how they work. Then you may be directed to articles on plants in general, and then eventually to a variety of tree. Open your mind to determine how the articles to which you are lead relate to the original topic.

Read whatever you come across. Discontinue reading only if the path leads you to something generally considered offensive in your society, such as adult themes. If the information is offensive only to you, I suggest reading it and doing your best to understand the other view point. You do not have to agree with what you read.

As you come across sites, be aware of what they are. For example, if you are researching science, note whether the site is a bona-fide science site or a science site run by a non-scientist. For this exercise, read both kinds of information. It is sometimes very interesting and entertaining reading something written by someone who does not know the topic, especially if the ignorance is obvious. It also gives you a bit of background for when you encounter these opinions when speaking to someone who has the same views.

If you are brave enough, do this with your belief system. I did this with a few topics in my belief system and the information was all over the place and very interesting. It was one of the things which lead me to believe that most people believe the same thing and in different ways. It also lead me to some extreme sites as well as to sites with information which pre-dated my belief system by thousands of years.

This is a fun exercise which opens your mind by showing you related topics. As you look for the reason they are related, you are also learning to see relationships between topics you may have considered unrelated. As you train your brain to do this, you will eventually be able to find solutions to your problems in areas you thought were unrelated. One creative thinking exercise for problem solving is to randomly pick a topic, look for the similarities to your problem, and then see if the way the similarities work in the other topic help you find a solution to your problem. The internet hopping exercise will give you some experience in seeing those relationships.

I hope you are all on target for reaching your New Yearís goals. If not, just pick a new day to start another year and start again. Remember, every day starts a new year.

I hope all the February holidays you celebrate bring you joy and relaxation!