Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.
This is one of my favourite quotes by Sir Thomas Dewar – one of the greatest salesmen of the 19th century. In one short sentence he managed to pack one simple truth about progress – it’s only possible if people appreciate innovation and variety. The same statement is valid also for success. Especially in today’s global world – a world of interconnected different societal and technological cultures.
If you want to achieve any form of success nowadays you cannot expect to do that by not acknowledging and understanding different cultures. Our lives are currently shaped by a process of evolution that includes changing our understanding of the world around us, reshaping our daily habits and routines, redefining the ways we do business. This evolution is so important because it influences the way we live, communicate and work. And if you ignore this process you are doomed to an isolated existence with just a limited field of opportunities for expression of your abilities.
On the other hand, if you are an open-minded individual, eager to explore new and unfamiliar worlds, you can further develop your creativity skills and become an innovator, an influential figure. You have to observe a new culture and adopt these elements that can contribute for your development both on a personal and professional level. However, to achieve this you need to let go of all judgement and pre-existing opinions about the new culture. Otherwise there’s a great chance that you might miss out on an important opportunity. For example, if you meet new people from different cultural backgrounds (like nationality or religion), always try to withhold judgement, even though that is the natural and instinctive thing to do – simply that’s how our brains are programmed to work in order to make sense of the world. As long as you are open-minded and keep a positive attitude towards the other party, you are ensured of a successful encounter. You will also learn something new about the other person and the culture he or she comes from. This knowledge might be helpful in future meetings with people from the same culture or even when dealing with people with your own background.
You should keep the same attitude when you are dealing with different or new technology. In general, most people are resistant to change and there are very few early adopters of new technologies out there. But these people who are always on the lookout for new gadgets and services that have the potential to reshape the way things are done, are people who stand out, keep ahead of the rest in terms of productivity, creativity and innovation, and look for new opportunities to increase and utilise their potential. These people are considered opinion leaders with great influence over the rest.
Of course, you cannot expect to become and influence figure just by knowing about different cultures and new technologies. Success comes only after you work hard to achieve something and the results you produce are of great value and quality. And that means extra work. Motivation and ambition are two other factors I consider to be essential that need to exist in order to achieve success. A combination of hard work, motivation, ambition, intercultural and technological understanding will ensure that opportunities to succeed find you wherever you are and whatever you do.