Don’t take it personally

I don’t know if it’s just me and the way I was raised (I tend to believe that most people I know from Brazil are like that too), but I used to to take personally many things people told me. This is certainly a bad thing to do…

Here in the US, people are not like that. There’s a clear invisible line separating their personal person from the professional person, and no comments made either way is rarely taken personally. A comment about your professional skills is just that, a comment about your professional skills. It was almost unbelievable how people could do that. In my mind, if you talked about me, it was almost a personal attack, regardless of what it was really (how crazy was that?).

Adjusting to that was hell as you might imagine… I was so hung up on the “personal attack” that it was really difficult for me to start thinking differently. Eventuallly I did. Adapting to this mindset has been one invaluable lesson I’ve learned from living here. It has opened my mind to many opportunities I could have lost (and maybe did) because of my silly thinking.

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2 responses to “Don’t take it personally

  1. I’ve never heard anyone make this observation before. I’m very thankful to get your perspective.

    Not taking a professional criticism personally is perhaps a result of a sports culture that studies performance constantly in order to create competitive advantage. Who knows!?

    But now you have given me lots to think about on the cross-cultural front.

    Thanks for stirring my thinking…keep creating,
    Mike

  2. I must say that the term “don’t take it personally” may have started out well, but it has converged into a cliche that allows employers to frequently abuse employees and then say “don’t take it personally.” I can’t quite agree with your take, sorry!

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