Be InspirNational = Be Culturally Intelligent

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The common theme of all of my posts is to have an inspirNational mindset. I have defined an inspirNational mindset as curious, open-minded, and spontaneous. Those who are inspirNational:

  • Seek new opportunities
  • Try new things
  • Meet new people
  • Think global. Act local.

No matter where we are, we can live with this mindset, which helps us live life to the fullest and make the most of any situation.

Another way to think about being inspirNational is through cultural intelligence. Many of us understand general intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ), but cultural intelligence (CQ) has only recently been studied and interpreted (since 2003!). Studying international business has provided me with an interesting perspective about cultural intelligence and its significance in my international business career.

What is cultural intelligence? It is the ability to work with people who are not like you. It is the willingness to think broader than your individual, familial, and local norms. Many people assume that cultural intelligence comes from understanding others’ cultures. The most difficult culture to understand, however, is your own. It is important to learn when your own culture helps you and when it hurts you. Develop cultural understanding of your own biases and what opportunities become available in your life as a result of your background and worldly knowledge.

How do you develop cultural intelligence? Think about your core: your qualities, values and beliefs that define who you are and are non-negotiable. For example, my personal integrity, work ethic, and commitment to health and happiness are core to who I am. Then think about the components of your life that are flexible. For example, my clothing and where I live is flexible.The flexible components are where you can develop cultural intelligence. Consider learning from other cultures about how you can improve your lifestyle. While living in Spain, I learned how a laid back lifestyle helped me be more productive and healthy. Traveling throughout the world has enabled me to have a wardrobe and jewelry that always tell a story about my adventures. I am passionate about developing cultural intelligence and it is one of my lifelong pursuits in my daily experiences.

By becoming culturally intelligent, you are opening yourself up to a world of opportunities. You will become self-aware of your own biases and how they affect your daily decisions and behaviors. You will find it easier to connect with others throughout the world. You will be able to listen, understand, and appreciate the diversity of the world. You will have a competitive edge in both your personal and professional life.

Want to learn more? Check out this fascinating Tedx video about cultural intelligence by Julia Middleton.

How have you developed cultural intelligence? Have you noticed any advantages or disadvantages of being culturally interested and aware?

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