Being a little mindful

As I go on in this class, I have learned many things.  However, one thing that I recently learned was how to be more mindful. Learning how to be more mindful, specifically especially during when I meet someone from another culture.  I might not understand everything that they do, and there might be something that I disagree with, but now, I will always try to be mindful of the other persons culture, and the other persons feelings about my own.

After doing the video project, I learned how to be more mindful of other cultures.  It opened my eyes on how I should look at another persons culture, and how to look within at myself to see how these people can view my own culture as “weird” or not out of the ordinary.  However, over the course of my twenty years here on the Earth, I have always liked to think that I have always been at least somewhat mindful of other people, and other cultures.  One of the things that I do, especially if I am going to a place where I have never been before is do a little bit of research about that new place.  I look to see what the people there are like, and general do’s and dont’s in the country.  For example, earlier this semester I travelled to Sweden for the first time, and I did not know much about the people and the culture there besides the normal stereotypes about Sweden and Swedish people.  So, I wanted to learn more before I went there.  I spent about 1-2 hours learning more about Stockholm, some of the history, and even tried to learn a few words in Swedish before I went there.  So while I have learned more ways to try and be more mindful of new people that I encounter, I would like to think that I have always been pretty mindful when it comes to learning a new culture.


The Value of Family and Community

One of the values that I was brought up with was the value of family, and friends come first over everything.  I love my family very much, and would do anything for them, no matter where I am.  To me without family and friends, you don’t have anything to live for.  Coming from a society that is highly individualistic (USA) I do not often understand how people live for their work, or can easily go through life without contact with family or friends.  While to a degree I am individualistic, I always keep in contact with family, and my close friends.  I might be across an ocean, but I always take some time out of my day to talk to someone back home and tell them about London and how much I love it. I am a family oriented young man, and will do anything for my best friends at home.  Those guys are like my 5 brothers from other mothers.  While this value is considered good by many people in many cultures, this value can also have some flaws or negative aspects.

A negative to this value can be the fact that as far as a career goes, maybe I will not be a CEO, or not be at the top of the totem pole where people make millions of dollars a year.  However, I am perfectly fine with this.  I do not mind sacrificing a little bit of money for the one’s that I love the most.  People can also think that I only do things through my family, or through family connections.  This is not a fair judgement, but it can be one of the negative aspects about being close and loving your family very much.  As for living in a place where family is not very important, I do not think I could be able to do it.  However, another aspect about my personality is I always like a new challenge.  So I would want to put this to the test at some point.  In the end, I will always love my family, and my best friends since childhood no matter what people say or think about me.

CQ Test Results and findings

Going into this weeks assignment, and after living in London for about a month and a half now, I am starting to feel like I am becoming a Londoner more and more everyday.  I feel like I am slowly starting to adapt to life here fully (even though my transition is not as big because some of my family lived in London for about 5 years).  I have also travelled a little bit with a weekend trip to Stockholm, Sweden not to long ago so I had the opportunity to get stuck in with another culture.  However, after taking this CQ test which analyses your cultural intelligence, I find that I still have some work to do in order to achieve full cultural competence.

My main problem is not a lack of confidence.  I have a bundle of confidence when I am meeting someone for the first time from another cultural background, which is proven by having friends on five different continents (not to be brash, or arrogant).  My problem is adapting to how I can manage my emotions, and the ways I express myself in a culture that is different from my own.  I tend to be very animated, use my hands a lot to talk, and stand close to people so they can get what I am saying.  It is just what I do, and it is how I was brought up really.  So something that I need to work on is the way I express myself and the concept of personal space.  I also have a habit of slowing down my speech pattern when I speak to someone from another culture or language.  I do this to insure that they understand or at least somewhat understand what I am saying.

However, I am very confident in my abilities to befriend someone from another culture.  In my mind, I do not view them as “strangers”, I view them as a potential friend.  I also say “hey, they are in the same situation as me, we both don’t know each other, so we might as well try to get to know each other a little bit.” It comes from the outgoing mentality I was born with and the fact that in my cultural background that I was brought up in.  So that being said, we all can aspire to be perfect when it comes to understanding others, and their cultural norms, but nobody can or will be perfect.  We all have our faults and we must work on them to become completely competent.