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  • Claire Le Compagnon

Use polarization as an opportunity to practice

I witness almost every day on social media, in the workplace or on the streets a growing polarization in our societies. It can be around religions, political views, pro-vax or anti-vax, and the list goes on. It seems that we can find more topics to disagree upon nowadays than 10 years ago. Or at least, it feels that the opposite positions are further apart than they have ever been and people are less capable to engage in reasonable and wise communication. I recognize that social media can maintain us in an echo chamber and distort our perception of reality if we don't make a conscious effort to trick the algorithms or follow culturally diverse personalities.

I view this as an opportunity to practice my cultural intelligence. In order to navigate better in a multicultural world, I always try to listen more, understand the thought process and reasoning of both sides.

I might disagree, but hey, what a pleasure to have a good and passionate debate of arguments as long as there is a desire to listen and engage respectfully . I believe the people one might want qualify with hard and tough adjectives, could be our neighbors, our team mates or bosses. So ideally, you want to be the one that will bridge the gap and create a path for a better communication.

So couple things I practice to help me adapt and navigate in tense and polarized current context.

- I follow the news both in the US and French media ( at a minimum) in order to provide myself with different points of view and references

- I use different media outlets, from the whole political spectrum, that's the only way for me to build a point of view and start to understand the differences and commonalities. Because if I manage to show commonalities in an interaction, I am creating that path to adaptation and understanding

- leverage emotions and facts in an equal manner. I try to spend time researching facts and data, but also listen to feelings. Our societies have been under great pressure in the past year, and people's emotions are at an all time high. So spending time on both sides of the spectrum is helping me engage with partners who sit on each side of the scale.

I'm not going to lie, it's not always easy, but it's a good practice for me. Never lose a good opportunity to improve and grow from a different culture, point of view, belief!

I would be happy to learn your own ways to practice your cultural intelligence when it comes to the current polarization of our world. You can comment below if you wish to, or connect directly with me at

Nature is creating bridges at Arches National Park ( USA), photo by Leopold Le Compagnon

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