Diversify your thinking

Dylan John

Question your perception of diversity

There seems to be a tendency among many to feel that diversity exclusively refers to our outer appearance and the inclusion and acceptance of multiple races, ethnicities and religious backgrounds.

However, diversity is a much more comprehensive concept, and to achieve the state of being “Truly Diverse” means paying attention to other elements of diversity that we sometimes exclude in its definition. I believe there are two significant environments that relate to diversity and these environments can be separated into the External and Internal environments of diversity. While the external refers to the common understanding of diversity, the internal environment is all about opinions, thoughts, experiences and concerns that make us diverse by nature.

I was recently at the Georgia Southern International Ambassador’s training program and was asked to select a trait that I would like to work on through an exercise called “Who will you be,” I decided to choose “Diversity” as I felt that we often tend to lock the concept of diversity in a box and only make reference to diversity in relation to its external environment within the confinements of that box.

There is a harmonious importance of diversity in the external and internal environments that we must understand in order to effectively promote diversity. Working on both these environments collectively will be the most powerful tool in creating a “Truly Diverse” community.

As an example, if we take a clock that seems to be off on the hour hand; it makes little to no sense to focus only on the hour hand if the problem is related to the minute hand, as the smaller minute hand is the actual determinant of the hour hands rotation. This relates to our attempts to understand diversity only from an external environment (Hour Hand) and forget the importance of the internal environment’s (Minute Hand) impact on the operation of the external environment.

Referring to an opinion I presented recently through the George-Anne about Mindful Leadership to resolve conflict, the thoughts I express today relates to the component of Listening to the other side/s of the conflict. Listening to the diverse opinions that are presented from the internal environment of a person will enable you to understand them better and respond wisely in creating a collaborative and “Truly Diverse” community.

Dylan John


Mock Mediation Club