Monthly Archives: February 2012

Avoid ambiguous signals and lack of attention; or be ready to dynamite your only chance

“There is only one perfect chance to do something right”.

This thought came to my mind yesterday, as I observed someone who was very anxious to start a conversation with another individual. Body language told me that person A was trying desperately to talk to person B on his right. Nevertheless person A was listening to some radio show and was not paying attention to the surroundings. It was a 20 minute fight between person B’s shyness and person A’s lack of interest in even making eye contact with person B.

At one specific moment, person A stopped listening to the radio show. So this was the perfect timing for person B to break the ice. Instead, person B gave up on his attempts to pass his message. Obviously we might think that it was not important for person B to talk to person A, but who knows. What if person B desperately needed the help of person A to succeed?

Person A gave an opportunity to person B, when he ignored the context of the situation and understood that B needed to communicate in spite of unclear signals. But B was not alert so he missed the chance. Those were valuable seconds who were wasted because of a lack of attention.

This can happen at a political level too. A politician is not alone in the arena. Some of them only count on their power and resources, but history has taught us that it is better to have allies than to collect a bunch of enemies just because you were not able to reach out to others.

And if we start thinking about countries, it can get really complicated. Countries sign agreements to cooperate in various areas. I know one specific country which needs to negotiate a trade agreement with a block, started sending confusing messages when he had the chance to return to the negotiation tables and now… we don’t know.

The negotiation power rests on the block, and not on the isolated country. It is possible that the other party does not give a new chance to negotiate the agreement, because of the country’s mistakes. Ambiguous signals can result on failure to comply with objectives. This means, that the country needs a B-plan while it expects not to have negative consequences from this impasse.

The airplane corridor, and the cultural wings

How i saw the Alps, from an airplane

When you get into a plane, on which side do you sit: right, left or is it unimportant? Of course, this applies when you have not been assigned one seat before. Let’s say, you have to travel on one of those low-cost airlines where they make you choose your place as you enter the aircraft. At the end of this article, you might be tempted to figure out where do you actually place yourself regarding culture.

Two weeks ago, I was living in one European country. It is not necessary to specify which country I was living in, but I spent four months of my life discovering the truth about the old continent and its people.

Have you ever heard of a cultural shock? I guess some people have experimented at least once this bizarre moment, where you are actually realizing that you were raised within some parameters that are not especially “global”.

It is pretty interesting to compare your reactions with the reactions of someone else with a different cultural background. But if I have to confess something, being conscious of the components of your own culture, doesn’t always mean that you are ready to adapt to a new reality, nor that you should not understand that you might have to modify your habits or thoughts for a while.

For a foreigner, it can be harsh to do anything that it takes to be considered a local and after all being asked about your cultural background. But it can also be difficult to isolate yourself because you simply decided to stay as “the outsider” who does not want to get involved with the locals.

When it comes to cultures, there are people who are proud of what they are and others who are willing to change their beliefs, just to fit in someplace else. And it is, this crucial moment after you know that you think different, when you need to decide to which group you belong.

I do not think that someone has evaluated this aspect before experimenting living in a foreign country. It is not necessary if you are planning to stay forever in the land that saw your first steps. I think some authors may consider me a bit radical, on the existence of these two groups of people. Nevertheless, I am convinced that it can function as well as the right or left sides of an airplane.

Either you decide to go defend your culture, or you start modifying your inner self because you found out something new, that appears to work better in your political view. And the people, who are in the corridor, are the ones who have not yet identify their culture because they have not been able to compare it with others. They are in this sort of limbo, which I think can be considered paradise since they believe the concept “my own culture” is non-existent.