Richard Loat is Canadian Gold Award holder. He is passionate about using sport as a tool to influence culture and grow businesses. This innovative approach has taken him across the globe, where he imparts his knowledge and acts as a cross-continental agent of change.
For as long as I can remember, I have lived my life somewhere in between two (self-labelled) universal truths that illustrate both how vast, and how small our blue planet is. The first is that our world is so large, you never ever have to do the same thing twice. The second is that you can be absolutely anywhere on earth within about 24 if you really had to be. Some might find those two things overwhelming and in some ways paralysing. I however, find them liberating. Maybe that is the result of being a third culture kid. Or, maybe it is a product of growing up in a country like Canada where if your heritage isn’t indigenous it is immigrant or refugee and our roots are scattered all over a map. Our different worlds aren’t as far apart as they might have once been.
Being #WORLDREADY, or rather, getting #WORLDREADY, is a wildly different proposition to what it was even at the beginning of this decade and the road ahead is one that’s exciting.
Growing up as a third-culture kid, the term for a child born of parents from different cultures, that is subsequently raised in a third culture, I have an acute interest in how culture influences us. My parents are from India and the United Kingdom and I was raised in the United Arab Emirates and Canada with a stint in the United States. I sometimes feel like a cultural nomad after having incorporated parts of all these cultures into who I am. You can start to imagine how it’s always struggling to answer the question “where are you from?”.
What has this got to do with being #WORLDREADY though? I’ve found that being #WORLDREADY fundamentally comes down to one thing: understanding culture.
My phone is Korean. In a given day my meals might cross the European continent as I eat French for breakfast, Italian for lunch and British for dinner. My TV is Japanese and half my furniture is Swedish. My running shoes are American and my clothes are manufactured in China. My job sees me managing projects across sub-Saharan Africa in Rwanda, Zambia and Sierra Leone and my work colleagues are based on the small Channel Island, Jersey. Living in a global city like London it’s impossible to take the tube without hearing a handful of languages and it’s so exciting to think that if I wanted I could take my own Around the World in 80 Days trip just sampling ethnic restaurants in the city.
We may not stop to think about it, but we are influenced by different cultures almost daily.
Every culture has been refined over thousands of years and those cultures served us well when boundaries and borders were tangible and we didn’t live in such a fluid world. Today though, what I’ve learned from other cultures impacts me every day and makes me better and stronger at what I do. Being #WORLDREADY starts with an insatiable curiosity that is excited by our differences instead of scared by them. It’s part one part cultural explorer, and one part cultural ambassador.
The #WORLDREADY citizen is drawn to the unknown, never afraid to try anything once, and always learning.
Understanding people, cultures, and being able to adapt to culture doesn’t always come easily. However, whether you live in small-town Canada, a rural Swiss Cantonment or a global city like Tokyo we can engage with people and cultures from across the globe. Our world has become borderless and we have the world at our fingertips. Being #WORLDREADY will only make this thrilling adventure even better!
As the world becomes more and more integrated I find myself drawing the best parts from different cultures. Culture can be a very fluid thing and many of us are creating our own cultures and subcultures wherever we are.
So, if you’ll allow me to indulge in some small generalisations I propose we chase happiness like the Bhutanese, be innovative like the Israelis, dance like the Spanish, and show passion like the Brazilians. Let’s try being good listeners like the Japanese, live life outdoors like the Swedes, and Finns, and show hospitality like the Filipinos. We have so much to learn from each other and our cultures aren’t something to protect, but something to build on.