Cultures are Like Icebergs
What can we learn about life, success, or happiness from countries other than our own?
We all know the world is highly connected and very interdependent these days. And, despite the fact that we love our iPhones across the globe, we’ve got some dis-similarities in values, lifestyle, and mindset . We don’t always run companies the same way, because we may not approach leadership like each other. Body language can get us in trouble, even if we mean well as we move in and between cultures that are not our own. Happiness in life has been studied a lot lately, and numerous books have been written on this, including The Geography of Bliss. Some countries seem to be inherently happier than others, because of how they look at life. And success may relate to our happiness, but how much money someone has is the elusive element in the formula.
I chose this topic to blog about, because I’d love to get some comments on different cultures’ views of success, where and how they find happiness, what they think about the subject of purpose and passion. IS purpose in life something that is only thought about in places with a large middle class sector, where needs are met so now dreams and deep desires have space to bubble up?
Whatever the case on dreams and needs, the more we are open to evaluating our own patterns of belief in relation to others, the fuller and richer our lives can become. We not only increase our understanding of others, but we expand our understanding of ourselves. And because we are connected and linked in ways never before possible, how do we influence each other at that deeper cultural level?
I discovered a comparison of culture to an iceberg, where 90% of what a culture is about lives below the surface of the water, as does the structure and strength of an iceberg.
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We may judge a culture by what we see, because that is what is obvious to the eye. Yet, how we relate to cultures other than our own is more about the ‘underwater view’. It’s the unspoken values and practices and concepts that can catch us up or confuse us in communications. The places that are out of our view are also where we can challenge our own habits and beliefs, test them against others, and re-own or adopt new ones.
So, as we go out into the world with our dreams and our businesses, enjoy meeting up with that new point of view. Maybe it is one that is ready to belong in you!