If we are open minded, it doesn't mean we are pushovers and accept whatever anyone has to say; and it doesn't mean that everyone is right for themselves. You can take a stand and decide what is a piece of wisdom and what isn't. But being open minded means you are ready to listen.
We can absorb and receive wisdom in a variety of ways. We can be enlightened by a flash of inspiration that seemingly comes out of nowhere, and we can pragmatically test the natural world for hard facts that lead us to practical knowledge. We can learn from our successes, and we can learn from our failures. And sometimes it seems that we have a source of wisdom deeply embedded in our hearts.
But the common denominator appears to be that we are curious and open to new insights and wisdom. Do you feel like you know all you need to know? Are you jaded and think there’s no meaningful tidbit or revelation that is still out there for you? The world of wisdom is infinite and there is always more to know, or as Socrates is quoted as saying, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
Another side of this is the wisdom we have already acquired. Is it finished? Do we fully understand the principles we've already accepted, or is there a broader and deeper understanding that awaits us if we put in the effort?
A person at fifty years old is ten years more mature than a forty year old. Hopefully those ten years brings more understanding of life in general. Those ten years of understanding can now be applied to the storehouse of wisdom a person has. It won’t happen automatically, we have to activate it.
Possibly the most impactful for many people is the openness to the wisdom in others. Every human being is capable of profound insight. We may not all be able to articulate it well, but it is there on the inside. A CEO may feel more successful than a janitor, but that janitor may have learned something important about marriage that the CEO is still struggling with.
The more you respect humanity, and are open to each person‘s insights, the more you stand to gain. Or as it says in the Jewish guidebook Chapters of Our Fathers, “Who is the wise man? The one who learns from every man.”