Becoming a Citizen of the World

Who enriches your life and expands your world view?

One of the things I am absolutely loving about moving to Costa Rica is that we have met such interesting people from around the world. Not only are we getting a rich exposure to Latin America, but we’re also meeting many others who have made the bold decision to venture off from their country of origin and make Costa Rica home.

Yesterday we met with the couple whose lovely home we’re buying. Such an interesting family! Originally from Germany, this family of engineers has lived all over the world—the US, Canada, China, Japan, Costa Rica and now they call Mexico their home. Imagine the world view they bring to every conversation. How they’ve learned to navigate different cultures and speak different languages. How they’ve grown their resilience and expanded their minds. The community where we’ll be living is truly an international community like none-other I’ve experienced and there’s no question in my mind that it will make me better.

But one does not have to move across the world to gain exposure to other cultures and viewpoints. Cultivating a sincere curiosity about the world is something that’s open to all of us, especially in this age of the internet.

Yesterday I was looking at the demographics of my Facebook community and I was astounded to learn what an international group we have become! There, every day, we meet to delve into human themes that connect us all—the need for bravery and purpose. The yearning to grow ourselves to experience who we can become. The hunger to make a positive difference in our own corner of the world, wherever we find ourselves.

Yet we come at this conversation with such different histories and experiences. We make up a world tapestry of possibility-seekers and difference-makers. We are the hopeful and the caring. The people in the world who dare to fight for their better selves against the pull of division.

Or at least we aspire to be.

I think one of the things I’ve learned in all my travels (and suspect I will continue to learn) is that no matter where we live, how we’ve lived, or what has happened to us, we are all far more alike than we are different.

I recently had a wonderful exchange with one of my community members who constantly inspires me. He had read one of my posts in which I described our little Costa Rica town. He asked me about the local foods. In just a few short exchanges we found parallels between this small town in Costa Rica and the village he called home in Rwanda. Imagine! Worlds and cultures apart, yet so much alike!

Consider what would be possible if the whole world could see our commonalities as human beings. If instead of focusing on our differences, we could look in one another’s eyes and see how much the same we truly are? That our heart’s desires are no different.

How can you grow your curiosity about others? What might you learn? Who might you become?

For yes, we may all live in different countries, but let us never forget that we are also citizens of the world.

©A Thoughtful Company, LLC


Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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  1. Kimberly — It’s so interesting…when I was reading your article, imagines of January 6th flashed in my mind. On the surface, many of the people who attempted the coup terrified me because they reminded me of how quickly the mob can rule. But I was forced to slow down and ask “What is it that they want?” If you listen to their words — not their anger — the vast majority of them probably want many of the things we all want: security, not to feel abandoned, to matter. Their anger has been enflamed by the big lie and a series of lies. Like in Nazi Germany in the early years of the 3rd Reich, “leadership” and various less-than-honorable voices pointed to “others” to blame for their lot in life. In no way am I trying to absolve them of what they did, or tried to do. I will never forget the haunting voice of “Nancy, where are you, Nancy.” As a government of the people, by the people and for the people, though, we need a national conversation about government’s responsibility to help lift all boats – sometimes directly and sometimes not directly. I read an article recently that recommended a national service program. People put in two years of TBD service, and they receive two years of college for free. A lot of people who stormed the capitol were found to be out of work or working at menial jobs. During the great depression, FDR put people back to work in various roles. Sometimes people built dams; sometimes they cleared forests; sometimes they painted murals. But at the end of the day, what they received in return was huge: the ability to look in the mirror and recognize that they mattered. Self-respect.

  2. Beautiful insights Kimberly!
    Your writings always offer up a subtle way of questioning what might be possible. It is a powerful way to stimulate a deeper thinking and ask more questions for myself. I read once “The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask”.
    Our time here in Portugal we have found how isolated we felt in the US. We are saturated daily in new experiences, with new sounds, smells, and a completely different vibration/energy.
    And….It all feels very familiar. As you so eloquently stated “we are all far more alike than we are different.”

    • Thank you so much, Carolyn. It’s so interesting that we’ve never met because now I find myself thinking about you and what you’re experiencing all the time! You so beautifully said what I hadn’t been able to put words to yet with,”….we have found how isolated we felt in the US. We are saturated daily in new experiences, with new sounds, smells, and a completely different vibration/energy.” That’s exactly the way we feel! Thank you!

  3. Goodness me, Kimberly, talk about being on the same wave-length! Your description of commonality as opposed to differences, really got my mind going!

    There are more things we have in common; even coming from totally different countries, background, languages, there is always a platform of engagement where e there is unity of thought and a view of humanity that is similar if not the same. I often wonder how you and your family are settling in Costa Rica and knowing you for some time you will be engaging with people with a gentle, non-invasive conversation, exchanging questions and answers, gaining empathy and belonging.

    From my side, I have always enjoyed meeting, talking with and exchanging views on everything in the Universe! When travelling around Europe meeting clients and candidates, I enjoyed so much talking with people from France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany and Spain. Plus a couple of visits to Boston and. A trip to Chicago and New York. I learned about the cultures, attitudes, initial greetings and the wonderful French custom of greeting everyone in the office everyday, shaking hands; renewing the relationship. The police by the Eiffel Tower do the same. Changing shifts, always shaking hands. Each country is unique, but there is a common factor, that being the similarities the commonality. I still have many contacts in many countries. Germany has different cultures in each city. They say the next city from Munich is Milan! Similar life styles. Parisians say there is only one city in France…….Paris!
    I enjoy meeting with people the world over at Winchester Cathedral. Kings and Scribes Exhibition and welcoming visitors to the 1000 year old icon.
    Kimberly, I intimated you had set me off on a tour of international commonalities! I thoroughly enjoyed your article; brilliant and thought provoking.

  4. What a great view Kimberly. Thank you for this share. Really nice to read.
    “I think one of the things I’ve learned in all my travels (and suspect I will continue to learn) is that no matter where we live, how we’ve lived, or what has happened to us, we are all far more alike than we are different.”

    Well said

  5. Kim, that sure is the wonderful thing about extending our life beyond our bubble. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure. We all breathe the same air, stay grounded by the same gravity, with aspirations for a wonderful life in belonging.

    I remember setting up people operations for an Indian subsidiary we created. Countless people said, you can’t run things like in the US, Indians are way to different. I believed we were the same enough, and it was a marvelous time together. We took the the better things of each that would work for both sides. Anchor in our sameness and embrace our brilliant differences.

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