"Culture is the widening of the mind and spirit." - Jawaharlal Nehru
Thankfully We Are Not All The Same
Over the course of my life, I have had the good fortune of being able to travel. I've managed to visit five of the seven continents and visit dozens of countries. I vaguely remember the sites that make these places famous, but I vividly recall the people. In Fiji the people I met had kindness in them that originated from their soul; in Bali, people radiated a sense of happiness and positivity in the face of any circumstance; in Italy, I become part of the family with every person that I met. The privilege of travel has given me a great personal, and professional gift: the ability to respect difference. You don't have to travel to learn about different cultures. Thankfully there are documentarians, ethnographers, and museums that have captured the essence of others for you.
Today, in our global economy, in a world where tolerance seems to be on the decline and change triggers fear, the skill of appreciating different cultures may be one of the skills that save us, both personally and professionally. Read this short and effective piece in Fast Company on how to raise your cultural awareness at work. If you want to go a level deeper, then The Culture Map is definitely worth your time.
I travel less now because of work and family, but I make it a point to watch, listen and read about people that don't look like me, talk like me and have completely different life experiences. It reminds me that I'm part of something bigger than the tiny little world I've created for myself and that thankfully, we are not all the same.