To generalize is to be an idiot

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Lately I am getting a lot of news about Eastern Europe and how wrong one side is….and I am really amazed how easily there is made a judgement. It reminded me of a short period in the Middle East, where I was with local people who gave me the opportunity to explain their point of view. I am not writing this for my political statement, but I am writing this, because people just simple assume what the media writes is true and make a judgment. And that made me think about the urge of people to brighten their horizon. You absolutely do not have to agree on a persons view, but you can enrich yourself with the point of view and broaden your own view. I learned from very young that people who traveled for work or lived in other countries all have a much broader view of their own country. That is interesting, suddenly you can actually see the flaws of your great country and the advantages as well ofcourse. But it is important if you want to succeed in life and business that you learn to be open to the viewpoint of another and learn from it. When I was studying internationally we worked in a team to set-up an enterprise. One team member came up with ´coffins tailor made´ a big hit nowadays and a great idea we thought. We embraced the idea highly and wanted this to work…..except for one. One team member was quiet, but did not say everything. Luckily we asked if all was alright, but the answer was clear ´a shock´ and in her culture this is just not possible. We changed the project immediately, but also we learned a valuable experience. We had to broaden our view and listen to other people, other cultures, other views to enrich ourselves. Within the business I always read about the local customs in the country and I try to adapt as good as I can. Considering the fact I am Dutch, this seams maybe easy, but I always pay attention. Simple things like holding your business card with 2 hands and the text readable in China or not to be direct in Spain or too open in the Middle East. Shaking hands, hugging or kissing someone can make a big difference in a lot of countries. Not accepting food or drinking alcohol too. It is up to you to find out, but use that experience for yourselves and your company as well. It will broaden your view of friends and consumers, it will create a lot of out of the box ideas……you will be surprised.    

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