Diversity is Key to Growth and Happiness

In our business, my wife and I sometimes have to split our attendance at training events. Today she attended a first class training event while I spent time with our daughter. My wife recorded the event and took great notes, so I was able to get the same great training after the fact, albeit second hand.

For “Daddy-Daughter Time” we went to the Elk Grove Multicultural Festival. It turned out to be a great event for several reasons. The Festival itself, in its second year, is our city’s premier community-wide celebration of diversity. Thousands of people attended this popular event, which featured ethnic entertainment, food, and exhibits representing the city’s diverse community. I am grateful that the city puts this event on each year, and I certainly plan to attend next year, as well.

When I first mentioned the idea my daughter was not interested in going. “Meh,” was the response, uttered with a shrug of her shoulders. Clearly I hadn’t provided enough information to her for her to make an informed “yes” decision. I decided to paint a picture for her so she knew what she’d be missing if we didn’t go.

“Imagine walking across the park,” I told her, “on the soft grass, with the smell of all kinds of delicious food in the air.” She raised an eyebrow. “Imagine hearing a lot of kids laughing and having fun, throwing Frisbees and playing in the bounce house,” I continued.

“There’s going to be a bounce house?” she asked.

“Of course!” I said. “There will probably be at least one bounce house and lots of people, all having fun. And ice cream! They’re sure to have ice cream there.” Her eyes were wide with interest now. “Think about what we’ll miss if we don’t go.”

Before I knew it she had her sandals on and was shouting, “Daddy, come on! We don’t want to miss it! Let’s go. And bring money for ice cream!”

Photo of Amazing Face Designs booth at Elk Grove Multicultural FestivalOnce there it was almost exactly as I’d described. We found the bounce houses (both of them), along with face-painting at the Amazing Face Designs booth (where my daughter got a fantastic lavender cat face), a snow cone vender, phenomenal authentic Polish cuisine by Goasia’s European Catering, and booths staffed by volunteers representing an amazing array of non-profit and grass roots organizations.

I was impressed by the sense of community and took advantage of the opportunity to meet people I’d never met before. There are so many people in just my local area, each of them with different backgrounds and different stories to tell, and each of them with something amazing to share with the world.

Photo of Gosia European Cuisine booth at 2013 Elk Grove Multicultural FestivalI could have literally spent many hours there just taking with people and learning about them. I made efforts to meet as many people as I could in the short time that we were there and I’m richer for it.

You will never regret connecting with people. If you’re like I was, it may be uncomfortable to “break out of your shell” and talk to people but it’s well worth it. I believe that diversity is key to growth and happiness; diversity of culture, of style, of thoughts and beliefs.

You don’t have to subscribe to every view or belief out there, but understanding sure makes it a lot easier to engage with people and develop a relationship with them. And by engaging with others you learn about them, their culture and, ultimately, about yourself. I know I did.

Originally published on JoinMeForSuccess.com

 

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