Build your Cultural Intelligence by watching the Olympics

Olympics Culture

Varying cultures find commonality in sports. The impact that this has on our world is enormous, yet I never really appreciated global events like the Olympics. I used to watch them coincidentally and perhaps hear the odd fact about a world record being beaten. But, I didn’t realize the commitment it took for an athlete just to have the honor of attending the famous event.

Most of these athletes aimed to attend the Rio Olympiad four years ago. That means every day of the last four years had to count towards their efforts, or they would not have made it. I did not understand the competition associated with that until I met my husband. He made me aware that waking up at 5 am every morning to fit in a workout before heading off to their jobs and schooling was necessary.  It’s amazing that some of these athletes are also over-achievers in their careers as veterinarians and engineers, and they all come from different cultural backgrounds. Case in point: a beach volleyball game between Egypt and Germany.

Around 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are competing across 306 events. So, a great way to build your cultural intelligence is to watch the Olympics – not just keep track of the scores but actually watch the athletes interact. Pay attention to what they wear and what they do before they try for that fateful moment. It must be grand and overwhelming for them. See how they high-five their teammates, and how they salute the camera when they have the camera spotlight. Pay attention to how their fans and supporters react when they medal or don’t. What a vulnerable moment for these athletes. You get to see them when they look up into the skies for divine  intercession from a higher being. You watch them as they attempt the maneuvers of their lives. You see their expressions of relief or disappointment after that moment of action. Is what you see different from one culture to another or is there commonality in their reactions?

Our world is becoming more and more globalized. Are you prepared for it? Are you culturally intelligent? To learn more about what cultural intelligence is and how to build it, check out my new class on Skillshare titled, How to Build Your Cultural Intelligence. I walk through the different stages of Cultural Intelligence and how to get more intelligent with this quotient. Check it out and let me know what you think, but definitely watch the 2016 Rio Games!


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