Cultural Variety and Exposure: Secrets to Success

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. — Maya Angelou


Meeting others with a different set of cultural beliefs from their own is a part of life for many people. For others, however, it’s an uncommon experience, and they do not have a great deal of exposure to a variety of faiths and traditions.

When you are exposed to other cultures and you learn to tolerate, accept, and even embrace them, you will have more chances to succeed personally and in business. Twenty or thirty years ago, the geographic region you lived in limited your experience (unless you could afford to travel). The internet has closed that gap, and the information and ability to learn about others different from you is literally at your fingertips.

Embracing other cultures will help you:

Develop an Open, Receptive Mind

Open-mindedness is one of the advantages that comes with being surrounded by people from different backgrounds. You learn to accept differences and thus broaden your mind and your ability to think outside your comfort zone. Being open-minded prompts you to see the world from a different perspective, and that different perspective will help you grasp circumstances in a new way that can open doors you didn’t know existed. Embracing the different perspectives of others can also be a powerful force in helping you learn to better accept what you can’t change about other people, whether it’s those you work with or in your personal life, leaving you more time to focus on what you can change.

Enhance Your Problem-Solving Abilities

According to different studies, exposure to different cultures helps expand your creativity. Familiarity with diverse and distinct cultures assists in reinforcing the expectation that eventually someone will disagree with you, preparing you mentally (and sometimes subconsciously) for the sometimes challenging process of consensus building. As a result, you’ll be ready — even when short on time or under pressure — to create alternative solutions for whatever problem you’re working on.

Deal with Different Opinions

Similarly, dealing with an opinion different yours can be challenging, but learning to do so is essential to success professionally and personally. You may have to compromise to reach an agreement, and the more exposure you have to different cultures and their thinking and reasoning, the better equipped you will be when the situation really matters. Plus, it’s just easier to be civilized and polite to other people when you understand them better.

Provide Better Customer Service

Because at least some of your customers and clients will more likely than not come from backgrounds that different from yours, you will be able to relate to them better. Relating to them translates into retaining customers and establishing long-term client relationships, which is better for your bottom-line.

Attract a Broader Range of Talents

Your ability to attract and retain diverse employees will help you create a team that is equipped to handle a variety of internal and external issues. You’ll be able to conquer problems more effectively than your competitors, giving you a valuable edge in the marketplace.

In what ways do you embrace diverse cultures and traditions, either personally or in the workplace?