The only man who can change his mind is a man that's got one. – Edward Noyes Westcott

The only man who can change his mind is a man that’s got one.

Edward Noyes Westcott

Change is the only constant in life. Ideas that are too rigid and people who are too set in their ways fall by the wayside before long. This is especially true of the present century, whose dynamics require continuous change and evolution.

It takes a lot of maturity to admit one’s shortcomings and be receptive to new ideas. After all, it is easier to be misled by our inflated egos into believing that we must always have the upper hand in everything; that it is better to come across as right than actually be right. However, a truly enlightened soul is one who is more concerned with becoming a better version of themselves than with having the upper hand at all times. They do not mind conceding defeat to a better opinion than their own. It is this open-minded attitude that sets them apart from individuals who would rather argue for the sake of arguing instead of giving up on their misplaced sense of superiority.

Even from the standpoint of emerging victorious, it is an unprejudiced mind that benefits immensely from a lost debate. They constantly push the limits of their knowledge, broadening their horizons. On the other hand, people with dogmatic beliefs struggle to fulfill their potential because of their inability to look beyond their own opinions. Their compulsive need to ace every argument clouds their reasoning to the point that they become the biggest hurdles to their own success.

That said, being open-minded is not the same as being fickle-minded. In fact, the latter is no better than being narrow-minded. One should objectively weigh the pros and cons of every opinion instead of embracing every new idea thrown at them. A rational mind is one that is willing to accept new ideas but only after assiduously making sure that those ideas are better than their own.

Edward Noyes Westcott was an American banker. Best known as the author of David Harum, Westcott once wrote: “The only man who can change his mind is a man that’s got one.”