Every minute is an opportunity to learn something new, especially if it is about ourselves, the most difficult and obscure subject of all.
This week has been special and I wanted to share what I have learnt so far.
#1 I Will Never Be An Actor. This week we have attended an interesting class on Intercultural Negotiation. Held by an American professor, it was focused on some role-play activities in order to make us aware of the differences in cultures when it’s time to negotiate. Such a hard task! I quickly forgot I was an American on the first role-play. It went better when I had to play a Chinese businesswoman because of all the differences they have: a lot of silent, smile-and-nod moments, protocol everywhere, try to be vague when answering questions etc. Because of all those things to remember, the acting part turned out to be false and not natural at all. While we were more at ease playing as an American negotiator, being a Chinese made both team frustrated: we were forced to be rigid in our manners, the other team knew we would not be such an easy team to deal with and that they could not do anything. I felt uncomfortable being in somebody else’s shoes, although it was for an academic purpose.
#2 The Trinomial “Know-Do-Be“. It is the new method some American Universities have adopted to organise their courses and programmes. As you may guess from the verbs used, it is structured in 3 parts: the knowing part is the most classic one during which theory is approached; the doing part is the practice of what has been taught previously; the being part is the analysis and reflection upon what has been learnt so far. It is probably the longest and most enriching part because you are able to analyse what you have learnt, how it helped you to know yourself and how it changed you.
#3 The Power Of Silence. By forcing us to stay silent, we took advantage of this situation to control and analyse our “enemies” and I secretly laughed when I saw they could no longer stand with silence and started to speak just to avoid that thunderous silence. Moreover, silence gives you the time to think about what to say and how to say it. It makes you go slower and act better, because you give you time before answering somebody’s questions. That does not mean that what you will say will be automatically smart because you had more time, but it can help you articulate your thoughts better.
#4 You Always Learn Something. No matter how stupid, repetitive or insignificant a job might be, it will always teach you something. Although you might not see the important changes it brings in your professional and personal life, every task you will be asked to accomplish has the objective to teach you something new you never thought you would have been able to do. It is a precious piece of a new you that you unconsciously integrate into yourself.
What have you learnt this week?