In this ever-changing world, culture continues to play a big part in understanding people. In order for you to be an understanding person, you need to be culturally aware as well as intelligent.
Here are some signs that you are culturally intelligent, or signs you should work towards to become so:
1. The individual is what is important, not labels they identify with.
It’s fine to use labels to describe a part of yourself, but no one person is limited to just “country”, “white”, or “Islamic”. There is more to people than just these things and understanding this helps you to piece together a person.
2. What makes a person is influenced by any number of labels, or traits.
These can include things like region they grew up in, their gender, sexual orientation, etc. All of these labels will cause people to seek out others who associate under the same label as support – but that one label doesn’t make them, THEM.
3. Curiosity about people and their backgrounds.
Understanding someone’s background is understanding them as a person. By understanding different stages they have been through in life or different hardships they have had to overcome, you can better understand their identity.
4. You possess a strong desire for knowledge in many different forms.
You can learn by doing anything, simply by applying your mind to improving yourself, no matter what. Travel, reading or plain old-fashioned learning classes are great ways to learn.
5. Understanding the context of something first, before taking everything said literally.
This is very important for everyone to understand! Understanding all the surrounding factors that play into different things is very important to understand something in the big picture.
6. Asking good questions is important.
Anyone can ask any questions, but the person who is able to ask questions to direct the conversation is the one most will listen to. Don’t ask questions for your own sake and to get answers; all answers will be revealed in given time.
7. Understanding empathy in every human interaction is just as important as speaking the same language.
If you are truly confident with your own beliefs, then when someone challenges them, why get angry and defensive? Simply be empathetic and understand that they may not be comfortable with their own beliefs yet; or maybe they need a listening ear and not advice.
8. Being able to speak properly, meaning to respect your own beliefs while respecting others’ beliefs.
Tact is important in this area; to understand your beliefs are yours and not necessarily someone else’s is a number one rule. Other culturally intelligent people will do the same; however, you need to also remember that a lot of people are not this.
9. “Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.
This says everything. Just because you unclogged a toilet one time does not make you a plumber. Refrain from speaking when you don’t actually know a subject inside and out – and help someone to research if they don’t know. That way you can both learn.
Following these rules can help you to become a culturally intelligent person – and if you already are, it will help you to self-assess.
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