The first step, especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money, the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art. Whoever tells the best story shapes the culture. We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. I’m this way because my father made me this way. I’m this way because my husband made me this way. Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible. Standing still is never an option so long as inequities remain embedded in the very fabric of the culture.
We have to create a resonating culture and create it soon. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Virat Kohli or Modi or somebody else, then you are disempowered. You’re giving it all away to icons, icons that are maintained by electronic media. This is crap, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears. But then you want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world. It used to be the parent, the school, the priest, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.
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One of the most effective ways to learn about oneself is by taking seriously the cultures of others. It forces you to pay attention to those details of life which differentiate them from you. No human culture is inaccessible to someone who makes the effort to understand, to learn, to inhabit another world. The sense of perspective that interaction with multiple cultures gives you is extremely valuable, because it allows you to see the structure of a country with greater clarity, and gives you a sense of mental independence. Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or conform to those of others and without distortion and self-deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture? The seed of cultural harmony lies not in the culture you are born in but in the recognition of the sweetness of other cultures. Cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity. We are all humans, some of the different cultures. Nothing as superficial as skin color could ever encapsulate our cultures, experiences, or what we each have to offer the world. We are one race with many cultures and we are too biologically similar beyond mere superficial variances to be significantly different. Perhaps if we cared more about each other and less about how each other looked everyone would be far better off. We are the flawed human race.
Understanding languages and other cultures build bridges. It is the fastest way to bring the world closer together and to Truth. Through understanding, people will be able to see their similarities before differences. Progress has always been achieved by probing well-entrenched and well-founded forms of life with unpopular and unfounded values. This is how man gradually freed himself from fear. Culture is to a group what personality is to an individual. It’s a collective character that describes a set of beliefs and behaviors that identify the group.
Strong cultures are to organizations what breathing life-giving oxygen is to the body, while weak ones are like poisonous carbon monoxide. Don’t ignore the cultural health of the business. Now and forever, culture is only as strong or weak as the employees that make up the organization. Being a leader on a quest to amp up your company’s culture might be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but the journey is so worth it. It can be life-changing. Surround yourself with the right people and you’ll have the right culture.
In our postmodern culture which is TV-dominated, image-sensitive, and morally vacuous, personality is everything and character is increasingly irrelevant. We are seeing a globalization of indifference. There is a culture of conflict, which makes us think only of ourselves. Makes us live in soap bubbles which, however lovely, are also insubstantial. We’ve become used to the suffering of others. It doesn’t affect me. No one in our world feels responsible. Our culture encourages us to plan every moment and fill our schedules with one activity and obligation after the next, with no time to just be. But the human body and mind require downtime to rejuvenate. The greatest moments of joy and peace are found just sitting in silence.
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Be the initiator. You have the power to light up the cultural flame of the company. It’s not going to happen because of programs, processes, tools, branding, or the product itself; focus on the culture and light it up. Own the place. Act as if you started the business; this will create added focus, commitment, inspiration, and guidance to crafting the right culture. Light the fire. An established culture needs to be catered to, amped up, and perpetuated for the future. Regardless of the state of the culture, take it to the next level. Put in the work. Sustainable culture change takes time, patience, persistence, and passion. But it’s not impossible and it’s completely worthwhile. Embracing experiences as opportunities allows us to bring fresh perspectives to the party. And that can be incredibly empowering. A single leader with a great idea can start a cultural revolution. Real culture change only happens by thinking differently, acting on those new ideas, and fearlessly defending the decisions later. The digital realm provides us with the capacity to enable new forms of expression that were previously non-existent.