How Dogmatic Are You?

Everyone has one or two “pet” ideas—those notions that seem so obvious that it’s almost incomprehensible that others would question them. However, when a person carries this attitude to an extreme, he or she runs the risk of becoming dogmatic.

Highly dogmatic people push away any and all information that doesn’t conform to their acceptable patterns of thought. They don’t want to hear what others say if it challenges their beliefs.

Low dogmatics can absorb information as it comes to them, then make informed decisions to either hold on to or change their beliefs.

Which are you? To test your level of dogmatism, answer each of the following questions with “often,” “sometimes,” or “rarely.”

1. Do you seek out people who think the way you do?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
2. Do you attempt to shape others—family, friends, co-workers—to fit your mold?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
3. Do you read newspapers or books or watch programs with viewpoints different from your own?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
4. Do you seek the advice of others on proposed changes in procedure?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
5. Do others dare to differ with you?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
6. Do you feel antagonistic toward those who question your views?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
7. When confronted with a new idea, do you look only for flaws?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
8. Do your friends and acquaintances have opinions that match your own?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
9. Are you reluctant to become friends with someone whose age or occupation is quite different from your own?
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely
10. Do you generally feel you’re “dead right” and the other person is “dead wrong?”
 
Often
Sometimes
Rarely

An “often” answer to questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 9 and 10 means you are high on the dogma scale. This can be a significant factor in your ability—or lack thereof—to communicate with others. If you answered “often” to questions 3, 4, 5 and 8 you’re more a low dogma type and are probably easier to work with.

The point of this exercise isn’t to change your ranking from high to low. It’s a reminder to listen to others’ ideas while at the same time being true to your own beliefs.

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