Precondition: Do you get the chance to experience interactions with people from ‘other’ culture(s)?
It’s then up to you! Here is the
decathlon towards developing the 21st century skill of managing ‘your’ multicultural mind:
- Keep in mind that culture is embodied in our spontaneous behavior which is habitually informed by what we have silently learned to believe as the ‘right’ thing to do or to say!
- Do not underestimate that a. culture is there prior to our birth and that cultural input is a life-long process b. each individual is part of it’s context and dynamically interacting with any salient context = > we do internalize ‘new’ cultural feedback too. It is simply how human mind works! c. such a ‘new’ feedback doesn’t have to replace the corresponding primary internalized one! The ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is then negotiable within us and thus, depending on the situation. The result? Theoretical and empirical research has shown that people interacting with more than one culture, are able to produce spontaneous reactions that are in agreement with different and even conflicting cultural ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ versions of the same thing! To this journey you should help yourself:
- Link and personalize the theory on cultural differences you learnt through training to situations you are experiencing!
- Put your self in the ‘shoes’ of the ‘other’and reconsider: ‘do I explain correctly the behavior of this ‘other’ person in this situation?
- Grasp any chance to talk with the ‘other’. You may ask him or her in a friendly context whether your explanation is correct. Reward yourself for a right interpretation. No correct? You just got a valuable feedback.
- Any surprising or uncomfortable feedback can be your ‘new’ input = your ‘new’ cultural knowledge. Though uncomfortable and mighty nasty, consider it as great chance to benefit your own professional development. Comparative research has shown that there is indeed conflict between cultures. Yet, there are people who manage such cultural conflict in their mind and people who suffer from it. Allow and help yourself to Be the first type.
- Express your appreciation when your discover something in the ‘other’s’ practice or mindset that, after all, you do value.
- By realizing and managing such conflicts within you you put the fundamental cornerstone towards developing context-consistent behavior, in other words, towards acquiring intercultural competence
- No pain no gain! Intercultural Competence is both, goal and time -oriented process: Only IF you persuade yourself go beyond your previously ‘fixed’ mindset, become open, curious and context-consistent, You then do steadily walk
- towards the 21st century survival journey: from a monocultural mind to ‘your‘ multicultural mind!