Common Differences: Celebrating What We Have in Common and What We Don't
Technology and globalism are bringing people together in ways never before imaged and it up to us to find creative ways to communicate more effectively finding common ground to both bridge and celebrate differences.
I stopped by the local Quickie Mart where I sometimes buy coffee. The two clerks were in the midst of a shift change and were speaking to one another in a tongue with which I wasn’t familiar.
I asked them what language they were speaking and they proudly explained it was from their homeland, India. In the course of the conversation that ensued they explained how one of them was from the North and the other from the South and that even though they could communicate fluently in their spoken language, they could not read a word the each other’s written versions of their language.
The first man enthusiastically took out a pen and wrote something in a very ornate looking script, his hand carefully inscribing a phrase from right to left. He asked the other to read it. The second man said could not. The first man said something in Indian and then told me he had written “How are you today?”. The second then smiled wrote down his version in a less ornate but equally foreign-looking hand that went from left to right.
The two lines on the page couldn’t have been more distinct – they weren’t even read in the same direction. Yet both men were successfully conducting business, making the transition between shifts, handing over operations from on to another.
We all think, see and speak in our own individual languages. Even when we speak and read the same words, the subtle complexities of meaning and nuance come into play. Conducting business requires constant diligence and conscious effort to communicate across the inevitable barriers.
In this world of rapidly changing technology and global expansion survival depends on finding common ground upon which we can come together and celebrate the riches and diversity our differences bring to the table.