Adapting brings you closer to yourself

Globalization, cultural diversity, unknown patterns. Everywhere the changing world appeals to the adaptive capacity of people. Attention, self-reflection and willingness to jump into the unknown are good answers.

The academic literature on diversity is highly cognitive and often describes ‘types’. Anyone who wants to discover differences must, according to behavioral scientist Andy Molinsky, look more closely at behavior. In his book ‘Global Dexterity: How to adapt your behavior across cultures without losing yourself in the process’, he explains how people can acquire new patterns without losing their identity.

Molinsky has three recommendations:

Understand the code
Learn to recognize and analyze stressful situations outside your own cultural comfort zone. This can be done by reflecting on: directness, enthusiasm, formality, assertiveness, self-promotion and self-revelation;

Respond appropriately
Every culture has its own bandwidth of acceptable behavior. Discover what is appropriate on the basis of different scenarios;

Automate
Practice, practice, practice and try out as many new situations as possible.

Adjusting is often done in small things. Not difficult, you would say. Yet the psychological barriers are usually large. The knowledge that people who are open to other cultures and personal boundaries, learn more about themselves and thereby also come closer to themselves, is a strong argument to convince the ‘adventure’.

Molinsky, A. (2013). Global Dexterity: How to adapt your behaviour across cultures without losing yourself in the process“. Harvard Business Review Press: Boston

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