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Counterproductive Habits: Our Barrier to Keeping an Open Mind

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

Justice Wehrmeyer


College of Charleston ‘25

I was recently assigned an article to read  for my English 101 class, and a particular topic of discussion caught my attention. The article, Writing Analytically by David Rosenwasser, discusses “counterproductive habits” that we as humans have a tendency of picking up. “These habits shut down perception and arrest potential ideas at the cliche stage.” (Rosenwasser 10)  Human beings have a tendency to forget that their personal opinion is simply an opinion, and not a fact. So, why is it such a natural response for us to be so close-minded ?

I have personally experienced this type of behavior from others, and I have even caught myself behaving in this manner. David Rosenwasser refers to this behavior as a “counterproductive habit.” He explains this habit as people “naturalizing their assumptions.” Like I stated before, I catch myself naturalizing my own assumptions here and there in conversation or even just to myself. I think the key to overcoming this counterproductive habit is finding a balance between having confidence in our own opinion &/or morals whilst remaining open-minded when hearing the opinions of others. As humans, we are naturally self-centered and we tend to think that our own feelings are more significant than others at times, but there’s still time to break this habit. We can simply change our mindset: changing our mindset to view situations from a curious perspective, rather than a prideful perspective, may just help guide our discussions in a healthier direction and break some of the tension we may feel during sensitive topics. This  may lead us to becoming more open-minded. Unfortunately, sensitive topics are bound to arise, even at unpredictable times. While we may not have much interest in discussing sensitive topics, it is important to address social issues, and issues in all areas for that matter. 

Social issues are a huge topic of discussion in today’s society. Listening to someone else try and convince us of their opinion as being “right” is tough to sit through and often uncomfortable. Being the one who is trying to do the convincing can be just as uncomfortable. However, we don’t have to go about discussions in this manner. I believe that viewing a situation from a curious point of view might just allow us to take a moment to understand both sides of a topic before our defenses go up and we shut down. I think the first step to bettering our conversations with others is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. We all have a right to our own opinion and we all have the right to speak our minds; the next time your ego tries to convince you that your opinion is the only one that matters, take a step back and try to picture yourself in the opposing person’s shoes. This way, no matter how the discussion comes to an end, you can walk away  from the situation knowing you kept an open mind and considered all possible scenarios before giving into your natural instinct of such a counterproductive habit. And remember, it’s not that your opinion doesn’t matter, but your opinion isn’t the only opinion that matters.

Hi, I'm Justice !!! I am a very earthy girl, I enjoy art & music, I have two cats, and I love to write ! I am very passionate about saving the planet/sustainability and I also love trying new things. I haven't ever been one to participate in many clubs so this school year I joined four ! I am excited to write and also to read other's stories. :-) <3