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Monday, September 21, 2020

Appreciating Cultural Diversity: 5 Ways It Promotes Self-Growth

September 14, 2020  
Filed under Global Spotlight

Mexican tacos

Imagine how dull and monotonous life would be if every country and human being were identical to each other. Forget about wanderlust since travel wouldn’t be much of an inspiration and hit movies like Parasite, Amelie, Coco, or Moana wouldn’t have materialized.

Appreciating cultural diversity means valuing, respecting and enjoying cultures different from our own. According to the United Nations, there are 195 countries in the world and it’d be hard to argue that they don’t bring unique and fascinating contributions to the table.

Whether it’s enjoying a plate of Enchiladas or Unagi sushi; grooving to K-pop, Reggae or Jazz; or breaking a good sweat from a Capoeira or Tai Chi workout, we see an abundance of Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Jamaican, African-American, Brazilian, and Chinese cultures naturally infused into our daily lives from the mentioned activities, especially if we live in big cities and neighborhoods with immigrant influences.

All of these things we might relish unintentionally, but when we enjoy them more consciously, it can do us a big favor. Enjoying other cultures more consciously means to be more intentional—meaning we’re not just consumers but we’re taking the initiative to educate ourselves and interact with the people who are making those enjoyments possible. When we do this, we can reap multiple benefits that contribute to our self-growth and personal development.

5 Invaluable Benefits of Embracing Cultural Diversity

  1. Increase in Innovation and Creativity
    A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse leadership teams reported 19% higher revenue due to innovation that comes from differing backgrounds and perspectives.
  2. Better communication and harmony
    When you’re exposed to a wide array of cultures and interact with people from diverse backgrounds, the experiences of initial clashing with the status quo and the learning of new perspectives can help foster deeper understanding and connections in the workplace and other social settings no matter their background.
  3. Humility
    When you encounter new experiences through traveling abroad and building friendships with people of different ethnic backgrounds, you’re prone to see strengths and weaknesses in your own cultural upbringing. This makes it easier to see everyone on the same level without ethnocentrism getting in the way.
  4. Increased likability
    Naturally you become more well-rounded and likable by appearing more open-minded and cultured. It can also increase your ability to share unique knowledge and perspectives for more interesting conversations and meetings.
  5. Wider access to communities and resources
    When you embrace cultural diversity, it shows open-mindedness, which means it becomes easier to build friendships and expand your network. This in turn gives you wider access to communities and resources. For instance, let’s say your friend who is from a Chinese community offers you a Chinese herbal medicine that is effective for coughs. You take it, and you’re instantly cured. It was a great remedy that you previously had no knowledge of or could not have found in any American pharmacy.

Stephen Covey said it well when he said “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” When we stretch ourselves to go beyond our individual and monocultural thinking, we reap unexpected benefits and grow further as a person to become a greater contributor to society.

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