Monday, 29 June 2015

‘Two States’ and Cross Cultural Awareness!

Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Two States’ spread like wildfire across the country and soon enough, the sparkling, glitzy,  Technicolor Bollywood movie followed in all its grandeur.
While the world marveled over the picturesque cinematography, the adorable romance between the couple, the acting prowess of the cast and the colorful explosion of Bollywood songs and sentiments, I was focused on something rather different.

The clash between Krish Malhotra’s (Arjun Kapoor) North Indian culture and Ananya Swaminathan’s (Alia Bhatt) South Indian Tamil culture awoke a lot of sensitivity in me and I realized how we have grown very fiercely protective of our own cultures and tradition. While this may be a beautiful sentiment to harbor in an age where tradition and culture is casually neglected, it may be coming at the price of learning to respect cultures that are different from ours.

Despite a vast increase in exposure and education, the need for cultural awareness has grown monumentally today and this especially extends into the professional forum. The work environment now includes people from all walks of life, who hail from different parts of the world. This influx carries a surge of different cultures along with it. Only by imbibing a sense of cultural competence in ourselves will we be able to respect people who are different from us.

With an increase in awareness, the harmony within different, sometimes even conflicting cultural groups will automatically increase and the team synergy becomes a symphony! This is the strength of cross cultural training.

At the end of ‘Two States’ what Krish and Ananya’s families realized, was that only by wanting to learn about other cultures would they be able to understand each other better. When they stopped believing that theirs was the superior culture and looked upon the newcomers with friendliness and a willingness to learn, understand and compromise, the newcomers became fond friends and even families!

In any environment, when we are met with people who are different, the first step towards understanding them is accepting their difference as a beautiful unique identity. I was overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of the amount of beauty there is in exploring different cultures and this is what I carried with me at the end, when two complete opposite poles of traditions came together in a marriage that had the best of both worlds.

So embrace the adventures that come with meeting people from different cultures and shed your inhibitions! This little anecdote from a popular movie is one of many instances of the need for cross cultural training and cultural competence. This awareness is vital for both our professional and personal lives.
Stay tuned to our blog to see what we bring forth next!

MMM Training Solutions conducts soft skills training, cross cultural training and leadership training programs for corporates in India and abroad. 
Please visit our website to know more about our programs and our trainers. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Emotional Intelligence - You Are Your Own Master

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” – Kahlil Gibran

Recently I watched a tamizh movie starring Jyothika titled 36 Vayadhinile (At 36 years of age). This movie is a re-make of the popular Malayalam movie starring Manju Warrier titled How Old Are You and my expectations were quite high as I entered the theater. Half an hour into the movie my mind was whirring with a million thoughts and revelations.

In the first half of the movie, Vasanthi (Jyothika) is the kind of woman who is very submissive with her husband and silently bears abuses and insults from him. But more than feeling sorry for her, I only felt an indignant rage.

When Vasanthi was emotionally manipulated into abandoning the project that she had worked so hard on and moving out of the country, she initially felt she had no way out. But when she thought about it and realized that her decision was in her own hands, she very calmly and confidently put her foot down and refused to do something that she felt was not right. For the exact same situation in which she first felt trapped and betrayed, a simple change in perspective made her feel strong and secure.

Eventually in the second half of the movie Vasanthi finds herself and finds true happiness. While this may seem like a fairy-tale ending that makes us sniffle and well-up, it isn’t as easy as it may seem on the big screen.

We need to make a conscious effort to be more in tune with our emotions. What Vasanthi displayed initially was a complete lack of emotional literacy where she was not aware of her own emotions or the emotions of those around her. Her very low levels of emotional intelligence was the reason she was her own biggest obstacle.

When we apply this concept to our own lives, we realize that we need to be emotionally intelligent so we can grow holistically. If we do not respond to the words that are being said on the inside, the face we present to the world is going to remain resolutely, woefully incomplete.

So put your best foot forward and embrace your emotions. There are instances in your life when emotional intelligence training will make you evolve as a person. Look out for those moments and carpe diem- seize the day!

This little anecdote from a popular movie is one of many instances of the reason for emotional intelligence training and emotional literacy. This awareness is vital for both our professional and personal lives.

The next blog post will delve deeper into the complexities of human emotions and how we can perceive them to our advantage. 

MMM Training Solutions conducts soft skills trainingexecutive coaching and leadership training programs for corporates in India and abroad. Please visit our website to know more about our programs and our trainers.