Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How to Get Out of Your Bubble

July 24, 2010  
Filed under Smart & Savvy

Venturing out of your comfort zone.

If you’re in a bubble, you desperately need to get out. You’re missing out on a thrilling adventure. What is a bubble? Essentially, it’s staying in your spaghetti-and-meatballs comfort zone. And no, your eating sushi with chopsticks or eating Panda Express doesn’t cut it or make it any better.

As you may know, many things in America have become “culturized.” Take, for example, fortune cookies. It’s not a dessert in Mainland China and many people there are still not familiar with the term. “A what cookie you ask?”

Go to any of the 120 + McDonald’s chains in India and find it contrary to normal expectations—there is no trace of beef or pork in their hamburgers. Hinduism, the majority religion of India considers the cow to be sacred, so butchering one would be considered sacrilegious. Instead, they use mutton patties consisting of potatoes, peas and spices.

Those are only food examples, but what many people tend to do is apply what they see and know to judge everything else around them—the self reference criterion (SRC). International Marketing–12th Edition by Philip Cateora and John Graham define SRC as “an unconscious reference to one’s own cultural values, experiences, and knowledge as a basis for decisions.” In layman’s terms: living in a bubble.

Staying in your comfort zone means you’re not living on the edge, and as the famous quote says, “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” If you can relate to any of the following characteristics, now’s about the time to take a pin and pop that bubble.

  1. Only making friends or associating with your “type” or “level” of people (e.g., racially or socioeconomically).
  2. America is the only world you know and you consciously or subconsciously buy into most stereotypes.
  3. Not making much of an effort to learn and grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Cures: How to Get Out of the Bubble

1.  Develop a global awareness.

Traveling is a good start. Seeing another culture in its own country shifts perspectives and opens your mind with different foods, dining etiquettes, types of greetings and ways of interactions. Consider volunteering abroad for one or two weeks during your vacation. Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) is a recognized program that has short-term volunteer opportunities available from 1-12 weeks with 12 countries to choose from in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

2.  Be open, adaptable, curious and inquisitive.

Go out and mingle. Be open to meeting new people. Educate yourself about a culture that you encounter frequently, whether it’s because you’re dating someone outside your race or your neighbors are from another country. If you’re going on a work business trip to a foreign country, conduct prior research on the cultural taboos, gestures, communication styles, greetings and personal space. Visit CultureCrossing.net to find country guides on cultural facts and etiquettes.

3.  Learn from everyone you encounter.

Stay humble. Don’t dismiss the down and out and carry that haughty and patronizing attitude because you have more materially. You can learn a thing or two from them or lend a helping hand.


One Response to “How to Get Out of Your Bubble”
  1. veterinary technician says:

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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