Breaking the ice: How astronauts overcome their differences aboard the ISS

Think getting along with people that are nothing like you is hard? Here’s how astronauts do it, 254 miles above Earth on the ISS.

Look up—you can see the greatest feat of human cooperation orbiting 254 miles above Earth. As commander of Expedition 35 aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield understands the difficulty of cultural barriers in team work, and the life or death necessity of learning to communicate across those divides. The ISS is a joint project between five space agencies, built by people from 15 different nations—and each of them has a different take on what is "normal". Hadfield explains the scale of cultural differences aboard the spaceship: "What do you do on a Friday night? What does "yes" mean? What does "uh-huh" mean? What is the day of worship? When do you celebrate a holiday? How do you treat your spouse or your children? How do you treat each other? What is the hierarchy of command? All of those things seem completely clear to you, but you were raised in a specific culture that is actually shared by no one else." Here, Hadfield explains his strategy for genuine listening and communication. Whether it's money, reputation, or your life that's at stake, being sensitive and aware of people's differences helps you accomplish something together—no matter where you’re from. Amway believes that ​diversity and inclusion ​are ​essential ​to the ​growth ​and ​prosperity ​of ​today’s ​companies. When woven ​into ​every ​aspect ​of ​the talent ​life ​cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are ​the ​best ​equipped ​to ​innovate, ​improve ​brand image ​and ​drive ​performance. Chris Hadfield features in the new docuseries One Strange Rock and is the author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

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Hey Bill Nye! Our Brains Are All the Same, So Why Aren’t People Identical?

Human minds are all powered by the same organ, so why do we have such strong preferences and diverse favorite things? Bill Nye lets us in on an example from his life.

Our brains are the same organ, but no way are we all the same people. So why do we like different things, if we’re all made of roughly the same parts? Everybody’s brain development is a little bit different, explains Bill Nye, whether that’s physiologically through chemical variations in air, water, and agriculture; or culturally through societal influence and tradition. Our genes too are different, determining what tastes, sounds, and other stimuli we might like. Our differences usually reside in those trivialities – we have favorite flavors of ice-cream, we find harmony in radically different music, we either love or hate chili. But when you take a wider view and examine our emotional lives, ambitions, and sense of self, those predilections fade away. "If nothing else," says Nye, "I have learned in life people are a heck of a lot more alike than they are different." Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.

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