Embracing Diversity

The world is constantly evolving and it is important for us to continually embrace the ever-increasing diversity of the cultures and people around us. Whether your perspective is from times past or from the prejudices of today’s world, we are all on a learning curve that must be based on tolerance and understanding. Only when we truly attempt to understand different cultures, mindsets and environments can we embrace our collective diversity. All it takes is the willingness to step outside your comfort zone and having an open mind to diversity.

Intolerance occurs when we do not understand another person’s motivations. While most people expect diversity, they don’t respect it. The solution to this is balancing our confusion and anger with curiosity and innovation.

Moving from anger to acceptance, we must modernize our views, pre-conceived notions and definitions. Change within a culture is grounded within two different types of thinking: traditional and new wave. Traditional thinking is based on strict religious concepts whereas new wave thinking opens the doors to a way of living with far less boundaries.

While you cannot force a person to change, you can expose them to different ways of life and an alternative way of thinking and, possibly even alter their frame of reference. For example, if you never met someone from a particular country, you might hold prejudices toward them and keep your distance. But the more you know someone, the more his or her humanity comes through. Maybe you realize you both like baseball or loved the same bands in high school. Judgments are mostly based on ignorance, so be curious about something revolutionary to your psyche and it will greatly expand your horizons.

People with an antiquated perception of culture or race have been raised a certain way and changing their perceptions can be a slow and laborious process. New information needs to be spoon-fed, only giving them knowledge they can psychologically and emotionally digest. It is hard for people to change, but if the world is moving fast, their old ways of thinking will ultimately isolate them.

If you want your children to embrace diversity, educate and expose them. Travel to different countries, cities or even neighborhoods. Children are naturally open and it is the parents who hold judgments. Sit down with your children and let them talk. You’ll be surprised at their honesty.

Embracing diversity will make our future world a better place. A diverse world is a successful world with a thriving economy, a healthy and happy population, less violence and crime and countries and people working together. Each ethnic or cultural group holds a piece of the puzzle that can solve the world’s problems. If these diverse groups – each a piece of the puzzle – can come together, we will have a world filled with peace, prosperity and acceptance.

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How to Achieve Inner Peace

When you think of inner peace, you may conjure up images of the Dalai Lama. But you don’t need to meditate with a monk’s discipline to get it. It is more accessible than you think. Inner peace means coming to grips with who are, your purpose in life and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It is living your life with integrity; all concepts you can implement in your day-to-day.

We all have busy lives. While driving, studying for finals or preparing for a presentation, inner peace may seem light-years away. Yet it is something you were born with, but the moment you begin listening to other people’s views, it dissipates. You can have degrees of inner peace; it is not an all-or-nothing concept. Everyone can achieve it.

Start by being true to yourself. If you sit quiet, you can hear your own thoughts and opinions. We spend a lot of time trying to satisfy those around us. It is something you must get past so you can find out who you are.

Another way to find inner peace is to recognize the presence of the higher power. Take comfort in His existence and relish the present moment. The occasions when we are on vacation or a relaxing drive are the key to a calm psyche. There is no worrying about the present or regretting the past. There is only what is happening now. You have experienced those joyous moments countless times but they don’t register as inner peace. Next time, notice how your spirit feels in that space. Keep up the activities that feel good in your mind and body. Do them often. 

The biggest obstacle to achieving peace is when we live our lives to make others happy. By doing that, you are trying to gain approval that can never be had. Whoever is making you feel that your dreams are not worth pursuing is obviously not happy with their own life. If you feel pressured to succeed in a career that you do not love, think about what brings you joy. Sometimes, trying to satisfy others is a fruitless endeavor if they don’t know themselves. Their love will never be enough to justify your life’s compromise.

Inner peace is about aligning self with self, self with purpose and self with God. If you live according to your own truth, you will no longer need the approval of others to feel good about yourself. Although it may be scary at first, the confidence you gain will be palpable. You’ll notice the peace of mind right away. Start living with integrity and your life will seamlessly fall into place.

Technology and Personal Relationships

Have you ever noticed the difference in how we communicate compared to 15 years ago? With the advent of mobile devices, our correspondence has undergone a radical shift and it continues to evolve. The intimacy of face-to-face conversation has given way to Facebook, email and texting. Modern technology is not going anywhere but there are ways to make it work for you.

If you want to speak with a loved one, it can be easier to text instead seeing them. Text messages and email afford us the luxury of multitasking on our own time. But when we converse with technology, we lose the essential meaning of our communication. Texting is the best example. If I send a friend a playful or sarcastic text, he may not receive it in the spirit I intended. He may be in a bad mood and feel that my message was rude. It is important to understand how our communication is interpreted depending on the emotional temperature of the individual.

Physical contact and phone calls will always be superior in terms of relationship building. We can read each other’s social cues, such as body language, vocal tone and cadence. These are unconscious methods of relationship building that will stop the desensitization of communication via technology.

Computers and mobile phones are not going anywhere, so we must work with them. On top of opting for phone calls, aim for your correspondence to be authentic and intimate. Try using Skype or Facetime so you can see the person you are talking with. I always say that you should date technology but not marry it.

If you really want to make someone feel special, send a friend or loved one a handwritten letter. Save emails for business. There is nothing more memorable than a note written from the heart.

Technology has its benefits. We can telecommute from the Bahamas if we wanted. Multitasking is the new norm, which means we get double the work done. But there is also a cost. When we are constantly connected, our stress levels are elevated. We are overworked and frustrated. Can you even enjoy the Bahamas if you are chained to your iPhone?

The deep rest of a true vacation no longer consists of traveling abroad. We could get the same effect if we turned our phones off and leave them in a drawer at home.

My hope for the future is that we will start seeing more devices to help us compartmentalize our lives. Smart phones will only get smarter. It would be ideal to have technology that caters to different personality types. A banker and an artist do not need the same type of communication with the outside world. We should only be as connected as necessary.

In order to live a long and full life, we cannot be available 24/7. Put boundaries on your friends and even employers. Your best work will never be done at 2 a.m. Your rest is important. Slowing down is essential.

Turn off your device so you can tune into your life.