Month: January 2018

4 Powerful and Simple Ways of Understanding Diversity

4 Powerful and Simple Ways of Understanding Diversity

Jane is a young african lady who got her scholarship to study at a famous western University. During a class discussion, she was asked how she managed to travel from Africa to the country.

She replied she walked by feet from her house till she reached the sea border, and then took a boat that dropped her on one of the port. After that, she walked by feet again and reached the University and Register for her classes.

They all replied: That’s awesome! Great! And where did you learn English?

The lady answered: I came here with no knowledge of English and I learned English when I landed in the country.

Wonderful! Said the classmates with big smiles on their faces and with a certain satisfaction they learned something new about her.

But they could not understand why Jane was answering their questions with an ironic smile.

The type of smile that says: “They believed me! How in the 21st century these people don’t know there are scholarship programs that enable countries to exchange and transfer knowledge?”

Jane, who was narrating the story with some people, said she did it purposely to show them how stupid their questions were and to help them understand they need to be more open minded.

The above story is a fraction of what some immigrants or foreigners face every day in western countries. Such questions arise mostly from western people when they encounter someone coming from a third world country.

But the reality is different from what social media portray about third world countries. People are also different. As we travel outside our native country, we notice how different we are from others but also, we are amazed of what they know and could provide us in term of services, knowledge, and information.

In this article, I would like to share with you how to smartly discover other cultures for development purposes*. Whether in our neighborhood, workplaces or social groups, there is an increasing probability to encounter someone of another cultural background. That’s the direct effect of a globalizing world.

Some few tips could avoid you being seen as an authentic ignorant when you meet people from other countries.

We could also learn how to put aside prejudices and stereotypes that could lead to harmful discriminations.

  1. Ask the right questions. By asking the right questions, we can discover more about others. Two powerful types of questions could help us do that: Why and How.

“Why” questions generate motivation speeches. One could be amazed at people’s motives for being where they are.

“How” questions provide a process to move from point “A” to point “B”.

Below is a typical example of a conversation with “why” and “how” questions.

Question: Why did you come to America?

Answer: Because it’s the country of opportunities where I could become the best version of what God wants me to be.

Question: How did you come here? Which means of transportation did you use?

Answer: I came by plane. The flight was 16 hours .

The conversation could continue for an hour and nobody will feel like a new product being studied to know if it could be consumed or not.

  1. Make some research based on the answers

We should really be humble and make some researches on the person’s country, travel opportunities, and socio-economic status.

When working for the US Peace corps, I was amazed at the number of things I learned on Cameroon through Volunteers.

The same thing happened to me when I landed in America. In my discussions, I demonstrated so much knowledge about America that many did not believe I have been in the country for less than a year.

It’s simply because of the advantage of new technologies.

Google provides you almost all the knowledge of cultures around the globe.

Hollywood gives a certain view of societies with true story based movies (Not fiction please!).

Discovery World, Planet, National Geographic and many other channels disseminate all kind of reliable information about other cultures.

You could watch a foreign channel right in bed and learn about others.

Due to globalization, we may have relatives, friends or friends of friends almost everywhere who could provide some knowledge about other cultures.

In libraries, you find amazing books of people who traveled and discovered the world.

Make good use of all those resources to understand foreigners around you with non-suspicious eyes.

  1. Share life. It’s important to have common activities with a common interest and learn why and how people from other cultures understand things.

Understanding others could be possible through genuine and natural interaction because people do not “behave” as expected.

Going to a pique-nique, discussing on life topics like marriage perception, society challenges, football business, language differences and much other life related domain could help discover how others perceive and analyse the world from their cultural background.

To know more about this topic, read my article on  Taping The Power Of Diversity in 21St Century Organisations: Principles and Practices.

  1. Avoid the Superman Syndrom. The Superman Syndrom is manifested by asking questions as if we have the answers but deeply we no nothing.

To identify “supermen”, they simply never share in return their views on questions they ask you. They could actually ask you question but the day you reply and ask them: “What about you?” You could perceive on their face the embarrassment of being ignorant.

The Superman Syndrom is due to the difference between social media and reality. It could be shocking in positive or negative ways but there is always a: “It’s not exactly what I saw on TV!”

When I left Cameroon to Uganda, my mother almost cried because she taught I was moving into a country where war is raging. She knew famine and HIV are devastating the country.

The only thing I knew about Uganda when I was still in Cameroon was the former leader Amin Dada through the movie “The king of Scotland”. When I reached there, I was amazed by the positive changes that occurred since.

While in Uganda, I also encountered a lot of western natives among my students who gave me a certain view of how the western world looks like. They were impressed by the difference between what they heard about Africa and the reality they were experiencing.

Their views added more knowledge to what I knew already (through the ways mentioned above and through my years of experience with Peace Corps in Cameroon) and prepared me mentally to live in America.

For sure, reality could be far different from what you heard or learned but at least to avoid the Superman syndrom, you may have to communicate with people by acknowledging that you are learning from real facts, not theories.

If the above 4 ways of discovering other cultures seem too simple to you, then it means you perfectly understood the goal of my article.

Life could be easier than we think and people could be less complicated as we thought.

There are surely many ways to discover and understand other cultures. I would like to hear from your own experience.

If you liked this article and you think it could be helpful to people around you, share it with your network. You’ll be contributing to making our diverse world a better place to live in.

Hervé-Boris Ngaté, Cross-Cultural Psychologist/Communications Specialist

  • This article (drafted since October 2017) has no political purposes and in no way is related to any political view.
  • This content aims to contribute to a better understanding of cultural groups for a better interaction. (The author)


11 Truths Nobody Will Tell You About Success in 2018!

11 Truths Nobody Will Tell You About Success in 2018!

The last two months of 2017 has been very exciting! I don’t know about you but I would to share with you how I found a new perspective of success: Success based on developping a high sense of autonomy

I actually discovered new ways to improve my knowledge on success while searching for a captivationg book to read.

I found a quite simple but amazing book entitled “Make it reality” written by Cris Abrego. What attracted me with the content are the principles of success stated by the author through storytelling.

I summarized it for you but I also added my own input based on my experience and the one of other successfull people I know. I hope this article will help you broaden your view of success.

I also hope this piece could help you become a successfull person next year and the coming years.


How much worth do you value yourself?
This means taking the responsability to take actions on what is possible.
It also means planning on a long term 20 years goals you’ll break into subgoals by:

-Doing everything you see: The first 10 years
-Transfer your skills: 3 years
-Become the expert through what you learned: 5years
-Expand and grow your business: 2 years


What do you see that nobody is seing?
Passion reveals your dream and your dream provide your vision. For the vision to become true, it has to be converted into goals.

True passion is related to  people interests and influences. Passion could become real only when your skills are identified. You should master the area in which you are really excellent at.

-Focus on working hard and give your best to achieve those goals.
-Find examples of people who achieved their dreams and learn from them. Otherwise choose to be mentored.

-Prepare  for what you have to do to make your vision become reality and know your audience.
-Competition will help you pick up yourself when you’ve fallen and push you to work harder to realize your goals.
-Talk about your vision but don’t say it to everybody. The more you declare it the closer you are to it.
-Obstacles like fear of failure/ success, doubts about your skills and potential can be overcome.


How to see beyond challenges and turn them into directions.

Be the best in your current job -do beyond what is expected of you- to gather enough skills that equip you to make your dream become true.

While doing it, you’ll get out of the crowd and get the promotion no one expected. This is where networking and enjoying hard work  are very  important.


How to write goals that translate ideas into realizations.

-Prepare by training like a professional athlete
-Write down your ideas and imagination
-Organize them into plans
-Make them real with skills and knowledge activities


How to be flexible to what your environment offers.

-Identify experts in your fields and learn everything you can from them
-Target excellence
-Learn from everyone
-Good directions is better than speed
-It’ s all about being resourcefull to the needs around you
-The more you grow, the more opportunity you have. So, focus on gathering resources that help you become more knowledgeable and stay focus on your goals.


How to manage time, relations and visibility

-Manage your time by focusing of priorities not emergencies
-Invest in relationships
-Use various channels to increase your visibility
Succeed here by learning from your failures


How to move faster than your competitors : Change the routine and write what work for you.

-Be yourself and develop the power of being original
-Just one person who trust your business and pay you is enough to prosper you.
-Your passion (not your fears) and your Brand is providing the best quality service you promise to do. What do you want to be known for?


How to overcome the fear to succeed/fail.
-Tell the truth: Say things exactly as they are and become authentic.
-Always think of going higher than where you are now.


Where to find powerfull stories?

-I am a storyteller. I can tell my story by putting every details needed to be read.
-Find the story to share that would attract audience.
-You find stories everywhere around you. You just need to pay attention.


Why money should not take over your vision
-Be patient not to take the first money offered in a deal. Always remember your vision.
-Learn how to take risk: accepting or refusing an offer that contradict your vision or lessen your goals


How to tape into your differences to reach your goals

-Know yourself and take a mission that is higher than you. What are the values that defines you not others?
-Work with priorities

Keep moving forward into new territories.

Success cannot be define from one perspective. Your view count. That’s why I would like to know the principles that led you to be the successful person you are now.

Happy New Year 2018!

Hervé-Boris Ngaté