Teens: The High Cost Of A Closed Mind

Does your teen (or do you) automatically say no to things more often than yes? There is a fine line between knowing what you like and shutting down opportunities that could lead to potential learning, growth, and increased satisfaction.

As an infant, we tried anything and everything with an insatiable curiosity. Of course we had our parents to shield us from harm, but we went through the day with a non-judgmental perspective toward new foods, new people, new ideas and new experiences. We certainly had no fear of failure or fear of judgment from others.


I have yet to meet an infant who when trying to walk, fell on his butt and then stopped trying to walk in fear of what the other infants would say about him. As we grow up, many of us start to lose that child-like wonder and only stick to what we know we like or we avoid ideas and experiences that are unfamiliar to us. We start to be filled with self-doubt and skepticism. When we encounter a new idea, we may ask ourselves, “Is this going to work?” “Is this going to be worth it?” “What if I try it, and it doesn’t work? It’s just better to avoid it all together!”

There may be a sense of security and comfort when you close yourself off to new experiences, but it comes at a high cost. You may become rigid and inflexible which prevents you from changing and growing. You may also be shutting down an enormous range of potentially positive, pleasurable, and enriching experiences that could not only enhance your life, but could change your life for the better.

One strategy that you can use to see if being closed-minded may be getting in your own way is checking in with yourself.

1. Identify a specific goal that you’re working on this year.

2. When presented with a new idea or experience, ask yourself:

Is this experience potentially useful or not useful toward achieving my goals?

Is my current way of thinking about this experience useful or not useful toward achieving my goals?

So, the next time that you’re presented with an opportunity to try something new, try using this strategy.

Without trying new things, there is no new learning. Without new learning, there is no growth. And it is only through growth that we begin to learn what we are truly capable of.

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