Traditional psychology points to humans having 5 basic dimensions of personality, and ‘openness’ is one of them. Openness represents one of the Big 5 personality traits, along with agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and neuroticism. These five dimensions of personality are all on a continuum for us to have high or low amounts of each of them.
People behave quite differently depending on which of the Big 5 personality traits they possess more or less of.
So, what exactly is the personality trait of ‘openness’ and why is it an important trait to possess? Openness reflects a person’s degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference to try new things instead of sticking with what’s familiar. Someone with a high degree of openness will opt for novelty and variety, averseness to the unfamiliar, and readiness to embrace the unconventional.
Someone with the ‘openness’ personality trait in their DNA will be more likely to bravely step out of their comfort zone and embrace new life experiences. Openness is related to intellectual curiosity, although the two concepts are not synonymous.
Someone open to experience is willing to try new things that may alter their routine. However, an individual with a high level of intellectual curiosity is more interested in expanding their knowledge of the world around him or herself. The following signs indicate that you may possess the personality trait of ‘openness’:
You’re a Good Learner and Have a Variety of Skills
Open people are good learners because they’re flexible and open to new experiences, skills and challenges. They are willing to try new things, meet new people, and face different challenges to help them grow. Open-minded people also don’t mind saying they don’t know something right away, especially if it means it would help them learn something from someone. Those who possess the personality trait of openness are not afraid of trying new things because they think there is much more to learn and discover in life. It gives them the opportunity to learn something completely different from what they already know or thought they knew.
If you think you’re open, you might be quite an active individual who enjoys doing different things. You are always looking to try new activities, whether it is new sports, arts, or music. You may be a bit of an explorer at times, but you don’t always go out of your way to take risks with your life. You see things differently from every new experience that you have. Even though you may not feel entirely comfortable with a situation or activity, you find that there is always something that you can learn from it.
Openness is characterized by curiosity, creativity and an aptitude for cognitive and aesthetic pleasures such as art, music, literature and film. Evidence shows that openness is linked to the tendency to think outside the box and view the world differently, as well as view various issues differently. If you have high scores in the personality trait of openness, you are more likely to be an explorer, artistic and creative. In addition, you are likely to develop many skills, and therefore open yourself up to many opportunities in life.
Because open people bring a different perspective to the table, they view things more originally and innovatively. They’re not afraid to confront new challenges and think outside the box because they know that their creativity can tackle just about anything.
You Enjoy Intellectual Stimulation
The personality trait of openness goes along with being open-minded and embracing new things, fresh ideas, and novel experiences. Studies have shown that people who are open enjoy learning about new ideas and concepts, whether scientific or not. They also enjoy discussing these ideas with others, especially when there is a debate involving reasoning and logic.
Open people are less dogmatic than others. If they have principles, they’re still open enough to make exceptions and hear out someone else’s perspective. Open people tend to be more curious and inclusive, seeking out multiple perspectives. They’re willing to entertain conflicting ideas and beliefs, which gives them a broader perspective on the world. And they notice how their own biases can skew their perspective on the world, making them more intellectually humble. Those with openness are more likely to consider changing or altering their perspective if they hear a good case for it, rather than stubbornly standing by their principles.
Those with Openness Often Have Good Communication Skills
People who have the personality trait of openness have a strong love of learning languages. They revel in the sounds and rhythm of language, both their own and that of others. They can appreciate a variety of writing styles and a range of artistic approaches to graphic design. They may seek out opportunities to learn a second language in addition to their own. This involves an enjoyment in learning about the vast array of languages in the world, understanding how every word means something particular and fits into the communication process, and examining various ways that words can work together to help get a message across.
For example, if you’re a writer and you have this personality trait of openness, you probably love expanding your vocabulary, learning new words and practising using them correctly with others. You might sometimes volunteer information about language or writing in conversations simply because you know it will interest others.
You’re Not Easily Offended
Open-minded people aren’t easily offended. Those with openness don’t tend to take things personally, but they know there’s a time and place for advancing an idea. They’re just as comfortable taking a stand as they are open to new concepts. Both being right and being kind matter to them. They know their feelings aren’t the default for everyone else, so they don’t immediately take offence when someone thinks differently than them. And when someone needs a little comeuppance, they’re happy to help.
If you’ve got the ‘openness’ gene and someone says something that offends you, you have the maturity not to take it too personally. You know they’re just trying to get a rise out of you, and you don’t want to stoop to their level.
Open-minded people are humble in a deep sense. They do not credit their characteristics for their success. They may be confident of their skills in some areas, but they understand that they are lucky to have what they have in other areas. They know that there is always the possibility that someone else is suitable when they are wrong. And when this happens, they look to the evidence rather than blaming others or external factors for their failures.
Open-minded people are humble because they are not afraid to have their opinions changed. Those with openness are humble because they are secure enough not to feel threatened when someone else has a better idea. (If someone has a great idea and you listen excitedly, you likely have the trait of openness.)
Finally, those with openness in high amounts are humble because they know that the only correct answer is the one that works best, and there might be a better idea than theirs.
The Bottom Line
If you resonate with the above traits, you are definitely an open-minded person with a high score in ‘openness’. You are not set in your ways. You are willing to question the way things are done and consider new ways of doing things. Openness is an essential dimension of your personality. It’s an appreciation for the many forms of looking at the world and recognizing that there is more than one way of thinking, one way of doing things, or one truth.
Personality traits such as the Big 5 personality traits are, in part, inherited and written in your DNA. In combination with how you were raised and your life experiences, you’ll develop higher or lower levels of some of these traits.
If you’d like to find out which of the Big 5 personality traits you’re most likely to be high in based on your genetics, get your personality report from CircleDNA. In addition to your personality report, you’ll also get hundreds of other reports to learn more about yourself.