Willingnessis a crucial tool in my life. It isn’t something I have always had, and it is definitely something I am continually working on. Willingness goes hand-in-hand with having an open mind.

Willingness and open-mindedness are qualities that create great opportunities and benefits in my life. As I work on having an open mind, I find that I am able to learn from more people and situations than before. Willing to try something new, I discover different and even better ways to interact with the world.

One quality that is essential to both creating an open mind and becoming more willing is humility. Humility involves breaking down my ego, and recognizing the truth. This has nothing to do with humiliation at all. Rather, it has to do with recognizing that we have room to grow. Humility does not come easy, but it is a simple idea.

When my ego kicks in, I let my fear control me. I don’t ask for help, I think I know how to handle everything, and I close my mind to new possibilities. The essence of humility is that I remain willing to learn.

Meister Eckhart reminds us, “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” In order to do so, I must practice genuine humility. Recognizing my own limitations in the present moment, I use this knowledge to help me. Rather than be in fear of these limitations, I utilize them by learning from them.

As I gain humility, I must be mindful of my willingness. Humbly recognizing my limitations is but the beginning; willingness must follow closely. In order to practice willingness, I actively try to catch myself when I say no in my head, judge, or dismiss trying something new or different. Willingness is, in my experience, is my humility in action.

As I become willing to grow, take in new ideas, and try different things, my mind becomes open. Open-mindedness is the quality that arises when we become willing. Through the act of willingness, I don’t close off as quickly. I resist novelty less, and my fears are both quieter and easier to overcome.

At only nineteen years old, I was a homeless violent felon living with a drug and alcohol addiction. Getting sober at nineteen was not easy, as I struggle deeply with my ego. The key to my recovery was and has been these principles of humility, willingness, and open-mindedness.

I currently own a successful small business, a charity organization, and have a roof over my head. As a 22 year old, I am proud to be a fully independent, contributing member of society. With my sobriety and my businesses, I have found these principles to be greatly beneficial. I am constantly learning from my clients, from my employees, and from people in my life that know more about running a business than I do. Although I am not perfect, I try to keep an open mind toward growth in any way. With willingness and open-mindedness, possibilities I had never dreamed of have presented themselves.