The mind shift of intercultural communication

Appreciate the differences


The village of the past

We live in a global society some say. Really? Let’s go back how it used to be. Living in a tiny village, with no transport, no internet. The front door would be unlocked. People felt safe. Because they knew everyone in the village. They stayed there, grew up, and played, went to school and found some work. Your family lived in the same village, parents, grandparents, uncles, nieces. You knew each other. Because you spend so much time together. Knew who to trust, who to mistrust. Sharing similar values and morals. What was OK and what was not OK was clear as glass. Spoke the same language. The same dialect. Most of us were poor. But life was gentle and easy. And you would help one and another in times of need and strive. A stranger would knock at your door and be greeted with warmth and sharing.

Global society

But the village is no more. If you didn’t leave, your family did. The city is everywhere now. The city became the planet. With the anonymous spread everywhere. Around the corner you find different cultures, religions habits, colors, race. In the village of our organization, we meet a corporate culture build with completely different and unique people. It is different from what we know from our village. Nobody taught us how to build trust with people so different from us. How to work together, and play. Some do fine where many struggle. What we need to learn is to spend time to get to know one another. And appreciate each other, not for what we have in common…For our differences!


Intercultural communication

Is the ability to go beyond common factors of human beings and to investigate, appreciate, learn and respect someone for the things that are strange and unknown to us. It is an utter and complete mind shift in communication where the conversation starts with learning from each other instead of assuming that the other understands what we are saying. It is communicating by leaving judgement out of it. It is about listening, opening your eyes and ears. Only then can trust be found and sustained in the human relationship. We need to teach our kids how to do this. We need to learn ourselves. We have to if we want to stop the segregation in the world. Everyone knew how to do this as a curious child. Now you might want to learn again.

By |2017-03-02T16:12:47+00:00March 2nd, 2017|International, Professional|2 Comments


  1. PAUL LESASSIER 2nd April 2017 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    What can we do to effect change in the perception of young black men and women as classless, rude, belligerent and intolerant when we see these things played out in our own community every single day? It seems we have become unapproachable and capable of violence instantaneously. We want peace but there are those who undermine the efforts of others who truly care about change. We as a people talk about what we must do to end racism but we have become racist ourselves. We cannot use fire to put out a fire it just keeps burning. But to remove one or more of the elements of what makes a fire extinguishes it. My question is what are the elements we need to remove to effect permanent change and begin the healing process.

  2. Richard Kleijnen 5th April 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your question. It is a very profound one and I am afraid I have to elaborate to give you my view on this. What you see in society is that there are many people that take more from others than they would need to have a good life. You see this everywhere, among the rich, the poor, the well-educated, in different cultures and religions. I believe this behavior is so ingrained in society that most of us feel that this is normal. People accumulate wealth, money, property, go comfort shopping or eat again that bowl of ice-cream and continue with this process all their life.

    It makes perfect sense to me that people get belligerent, troublesome when they themselves have trouble getting food, work, meaning in life and see others overindulge.

    And the reaction of the ones that have more than they need is: leave me alone, go find some work or do something with your life. Be responsible and work hard and you can have what you want. The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger resulting in an increased polarization in society with strong global signals that this is getting worse.

    A vicious circle and it is difficult to get out of this.

    So you have to break the circle between rich and poor seemingly. But is that really the root cause of the problem. I believe some more sharing of our resources would be good, for example we produce food for 10 billion people on the globe, why do people still hunger? But the source of this is deeper down into the psychological landscape of human beings.

    Why do people take more than they need at the cost of other people?

    What is it that is lacking, that makes people as soon as something bad happens, or sometimes just out of habit, to take more than needed?

    What do we hunger for and that cannot be satisfied with the normal things in the world?

    And the answers to these questions have to do with the fact that we are social beings. Without connection to other people and a purpose in life they will feel unsatisfied. Horror Vacui. I believe that a very important law for human existence is as follows:
    Humans will find happiness if they express there innermost self and get acknowledge for that.

    The expression of your innermost self is connected to your purpose, this will fill the emptiness. The acknowledgement for that will overflow your emptiness. When human beings lose sight of this, no matter how much money or things they have, they will feel something is lacking and they will continue hoarding and accumulating more than they need. You could say: “they are filling their stomach with the wrong food”!

    The right food would be to live the life you are supposed to live. For most of us it is not the persona we take on to earn money in society, whether it be a CEO or cleaner. I am convinced about that each human being has an unlimited potential and a reason for existence. This reason would be a calling, a choice, a mission, whatever you might name it. You have to know this and to live it, every minute of the day. I ask to many people: do you know yourself? What would you do if all resources you needed where available? Most come up some practical stuff and a holiday for a couple of months. And after that something more fundamental emerges. I have not met a person that did not come up with something that was quite meaningful for others.

    So in my view the only way to start building a sustainable global society is to address the root cause of the problem:

    1) we need to start helping each other live the lives we are meant to
    2) we need to build enough real and meaningful relations that they fulfill us
    3) we need to stop taking more that we need at the cost of others

    This would be a very big thing for mankind. And we require two things to make it happen: intention and acting. One without the other is no good as only change of actual behavior will slowly but surely change our perception. Because the results of our behavior only make it real for us. And we need to practice to get to the next level of awareness. Take a small step each day and you will go further than most.

    There are still many people that cannot find their place in society. Society offers many options to have a good life, but sometimes what you need is not there. And society is limiting itself, by only focusing on the money and making people secondary to that. I believe that if you give people more freedom to be who they are, even companies will benefit greatly and the money they like so much will follow.

    I think people need to understand that the behavior of the young people you mentioned could be an unconscious and maybe not so elegant cry for help? They first want to be heard, so they make some noise. Second they might need something from us. You might say, sure, sure, but they do not change. Would you? How quickly can you change having certain behavioral patterns for years? At the very least give it a change! We need to act with good intentions to others instead of judge them. We could gain ourselves as this would create some reciprocity for us, fulfilling our deepest need for social interaction and contact.

    The mind shift of intercultural communication is exactly about this: it is a way of acting with a positive intention. Learning to really know another for what they are, they do, how they live, what they find important. Trying to see the value of those things that are not “normal” for us. In my experience, act like that and something wonderful is the result.

    To get back to the fire and what is fueling it. We need fundamental change in human behavior. Not break or replace the systems but to evolve them to the next level. The problem lies within the people themselves. Even business leaders, politicians, rich and famous , are products of this world we live in and often unconscious about why they can be so judgmental.

    There is only one way to stop the fire from getting bigger. If we don’t we could devolve into a society that we had in the past with racism, religious conflicts, children’s labor, women being second class and so on, were the norm.

    This one way is for each individual to be human again. Belief in humanity. Belief in the unlimited potential. Trust in yourself and follow the unique road each us goes through life. Trust in life itself and it will take care of your needs. Follow your goals with all your heart. The key to go beyond polarity is to know yourself. If you know what you want, who you are, what you need to do, then life is easy. Once a person moves away from a persona and starts living a real life, everything will fall into place and the fires will slowly but surely die.

    The way people would learn this is by starting to do it. Because consciousness follows action. Help is available as there are many people who would love to share their wisdom and experience with the young.

    And this is exactly why I founded the International Institute for Humanization. To give people some help so they actually go for their life and the world will change as a result.

    Most sincerely, Richard

Leave A Comment Cancel reply