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Chelsea and I had a blast while we were in Malaysia! The people are fantastic, the food is spicy, and the possibilities for adventure and leisure there are endless!

We spent a week in Malaysia during the Toastmasters International Convention. During our time there we were reminded that we, in America, should be doing the same:

1)  Take care of one another: While we were almost three blocks away from our hotel we had a flat tire. We got out of the car, and within minutes we had more than eight guys helping us fix it and get back on the road. Sometimes, I see Americans being fascinated with the thought of going across seas to help others in need, but there are millions of people in our own backyard that need our help. What are you doing to help those in America?

2)  Our way is not the right way: I think for the most part, Americans are really proud to be American, but sometimes we have the view that our way is the right way and the way that works. Our way might be the way that works for us, but not the right way that works for everyone else. Like in most math problems, there are multiple solutions to get the same answer. Same goes for being human!

3)  Embrace diversity: Malaysia has three cultures mixed within its borders including Chinese, Indian and Malay. They embrace it with photos in advertising, restaurants, friends, and language. I feel as though Americans can sometimes get pretty defensive when we “let others into our borders” or what an “American” looks like! Embracing a little more cultural diversity on a larger level would be good for America.

4)  Speak another language: As the saying overseas goes, “If you know three languages you are trilingual. If you know two languages you are bilingual, and if you know one language you are

Take time this year to interact with more people who are outside your borders of comfort. Get to know them. Who knows? They might teach you something you like and remind you how much we have and how much we can improve! As always…

Dream BIG,

Ryan Avery

Author Ryan Avery

Hi, my name is Ryan Avery! Every Sunday I share the "notes" I use to build my keynotes. They are personal stories and tangible strategies we can use to improve the way we communicate at work, at home and with ourselves.

More posts by Ryan Avery

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Tahseen Mohammad says:

    Thanks, Ryan. Nice meeting you last week. You touched deep in my heart with your cross-cultural article. I’m proud to be an American. Also, I completely agree with you on all the above 4 points. Being a migrant from India and brought up in a diverse society just like in Malaysia but today I still struggle sometimes to establish or enjoy my own identity and culture.

  • Matt Kinsey says:

    Ryan – here are a few other lessons I learned while I was there… 1) traffic lanes are more of a suggestion at times. 2) Relax about the traffic (I don’t think I heard a single horn blare the entire time I was there despite cars and motorcycles cutting in, nearly causing accidents and more, nor did I see “aggressive gestures). 3) Treat guests like guests. The level of customer service I received was outstanding, and tipping was not expected. From the courtesy umbrellas, to warm smiles and welcoming gestures, to pressing elevator buttons and more, it was nice to be treated like a guest and not an annoyance. 4) A little courtesy goes a long way. I learned a few simple phrases and gestures while I was there. When I used them, the smiles I received were tremendous.

  • Amber Blazek says:

    Hey Ryan,

    I love this post! I think that all of these values are extremely important. Sadly, they are often times forgotten on a daily basis. Especially “our way is not the right way”. As a sociologist, we call this “cultural relativism”, and it is something that we strive for. It is very important and valuable to try to understand different cultures in terms of their own, opposed to always basing our judgments of other cultures off of American culture. Fantastic reminder of important things to keep in mind 🙂


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