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It is said that culture gives us identify and patterns a person’s ways of thinking, feeling and reacting.


Culture is a huge part of our identity. Our first lessons as children are all cultural, from getting dressed, how and what we eat, how we address our parents and family members. Many a person presume that people from different cultures see and perceive things differently and that is probably due to how their culture shaped the way they view the world. From a university student’s point of view with limited knowledge of the outside world, I strongly agree with that opinion for several following reasons.

I would like to begin the idea of culture shaping thoughts and perception by focusing on the differences between the Western cultures and East Asian cultures. The Western culture, mostly the United States, is known as individualistic or analytic, which they show attention to object and its attributes, and detach the objects from its field when perceiving them. In contrast, East Asian cultures, mostly Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese, are known to be holistic or interpersonal and therefore, much more adept at determining another persons’ perspective.


Culture has a large effect on our daily lives. As observed, many studies and examples show that culture does seem to affect individuals’ thoughts and perception, especially in the way we communicate with each other. Owning to having different cultures, effective communication with people of different countries is especially challenging. For instance, the difference between American and Vietnamese culture is quite significant, first and foremost their ways to communicate with other people. For the first meeting, Vietnamese people have a tendency to be curious about other’s private lives whereas Western people do not show excessive interest in other people’s privacy. Vietnamese people often start conversation by asking the opposite person about questions related families, personal information questions. This is the result of the village community. Because of that, Vietnamese think they are responsible for caring the others, and it is necessary for them to know the other’s circumstance. By contrast, American people start a conversation by asking another person about the weather, current news, interests, music, fashion and avoid asking personal questions related to their age, marital status or salary because they think that these questions are impolite and ignore to answer them. Thus, to avoid annoying other people unintentionally, it is important to learn about other cultures to communicate with people of different countries effectively.


A perfect fit.


What is more, culture also influences on the way people eat thereby the eating etiquette is diverse around the world. As an example is the eating cultures in some Asian countries are different from that of the Western coutries. One of the most typical examples is the table manner in the United States, while eating noodles or soup, you should not make sounds because it is considered rude and annoys other people. However, when you eat noodles in Japan, it is very impolite not to make sounds! Making slurping sounds while eating noodles is giving compliment to the person who cook for you. If you eat your noodles quietly, that means you do not enjoy the noodles and you do not appreciate the work of the person. An empty plate also means different things to different cultures; in India and Japan, it is important to finish the items on your plate in order to let the host know you enjoyed the meal. However, in China, it is considered rude and means that you were not fed enough.


An additional example that should be mentioned here is the difference of education system in the US and Vietnam. The US education is more comfortable and easier than the Vietnamese education. The students in Vietnam have to take extra classes at home with their private teacher. The parents will decide what major the student will get, and what school they will study at. School and home are two places that the student will stay most of the time. They do not have to worry about the bills, foods, or money at all because their parents will take care of everything until they graduate. It is a good thing that the young Vietnamese people do not waste a lot of time for choosing and changing his or her major while the American student changes their major three or four times until they recognize their goal. Vietnamese parents don’t show their love by kissing, or hugging, but they do their best to help their children in their life.

Take your time.


Loosely defined, culture refers to the shared values, beliefs and norms of a specific group of people. Culture, therefore, influences the manner we learn, live and behave. Because of this, many theorists believe that culture is an important shaper of our personality. One of the general assumptions asserting the effect of culture to personality is that people who are born and bred in the same culture share common personality traits. Therefore, understanding these differences helps us fashion a richer life for ourselves, our families and our world. The starting point, however, should alwasy be a better understanding of ourselves and the impacts our own backgrounds have had on us.


Culture influence us are surely unconscious. Similarly, many of the influences of culture are so prevalent that we remain unaware of them until we contact people from other cultures that are different. Unfortunately many people immediately jump to the conclusion that different is wrong. The lack of understanding between East and West has been going on for centuries and there is no end in sight.


Everything is designed.
Few things are designed well.


The leadership journey can be one of the most stirring and refreshing experiences in life. On Thursday afternoon session I attended, Mr. Brian Teel recommended us a very famous book namely “Good to Great” which was written by James Collins to show how individuals can become the best and most productive at what they do. In that book, “Level 5 Leadership” is one of the most noteworthy parts which includes five key levels to help us visualize the effective ways to become the best leader ever.


At the first level of Level 5 Leadership, “Highly Capable Individuals” are exactly what I expect. Level 1 leaders make “contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits”. This means they must be good role models, knowledgeable in their fields, and worthy of respect.




Enjoy the morning.

The second hierachy shows the way to become a contributing team member. Your ability to be seen as a contributing, valuable member on these teams can have a significant impact on achieving your career goals. You may not always be in total alignment with the direction of your team, but you need to support your colleagues and leaders, and cooperate with them to achieve the desired team outcome.


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At Level 3, a competent manager can organize people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of pre-determind objectives. Therefore, if you are working on a project, your goals and expectations should be clear from the beginning to make your employees be motivated, not confused.

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Enjoy the morning.

Level 4 leaders are those can mobilize other by drawing upon vision, skill, and integrity. According to Roderich Beidler, “vision is a complelling and captivating picture of a preferable and achievable future”. For example, John F. Kennedy famously dreamed of putting a man on the moon. His dream then came true that really changed the world.

Becoming a Level 5 leader means you have all of the abilities needed for the other four levels, plus you have the unique blend of humility and will that is required for true greatness. A leader who follows this leadership style is characterized by humility, putting the interests of the organization before his or her own, and a focus on team over individual success.


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