When I was living in Argentina, one of my friends explained his constant tardiness the following way: “I’ve gone native.” In Russia, going native sometimes meant using your elbows in public transport, and in Uzbekistan it meant haggling over 5 cents at a market. Whatever the country, many of us often find ourselves absorbing and engaging in the habits and behaviors of people who surround us.
This post, however, isn’t about going native. I am only using this example to illustrate a human tendency to repeat after people who surround us. In NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) it’s called modeling and there are techniques that are built upon this tendency. For instance, people are encouraged to succeed by hanging out with and repeating what successful people do – that is, by modeling them.
Specific NLP techniques aside, we can all benefit from repeating – and from surrounding ourselves with people who we would want to repeat after. At the same time, we don’t benefit by surrounding ourselves with people whose energies drag us down. So, if you want your expatriate experience to be happy and successful, consider who you hang out with. Do you spend a lot of time in the company of upbeat and open-minded people? Or do you find yourself socializing with those who complain and judge?
Finding a circle of acquaintances and friends who offer positive energy is important everywhere – and it is especially important when you are living in another culture and need all the support you can get.
Who are you surrounding yourself with?
And – there are lots of P’s out there – suggest one!
For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.
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