Do you ever wonder why some people get all the breaks–and get ahead–with seeming ease? What’s their secret? It may be that they’re smart, or that they simply went to the “right” schools. But research indicates that it’s not always privilege that opens doors. It’s also a matter of “culture smarts.”
People with culture smarts can have a lively conversation with anyone–about restaurants, pop music, art, fashion, business, tech trends, the news of the day. They’re lifelong learners who keep gathering a little information about a lot of things that you don’t necessarily learn from school. You learn it from people.
To find out if you have culture smarts, ask yourself, how varied is my social convoy? Do you I know people up and down the occupation ladder? To find out, take the Occupation Test. You’ll see that in national samples, the highest scorers know people in 19 of the 22 occupations listed. But knowing people in more than 19 occupations certainly isn’t out of the question. In fact, one of the women I interviewed, a New York City bus driver who has been at the wheel for nearly thirty years, know people in all 22! Exceedingly culture smart, she managed to work her way up the ladder of success despite her humble beginnings, mostly because she can “mix it up” with her fellow drivers and a multi-hued array of passengers.) Indeed, if having a diverse convoy is like getting a degree in “a little of almost everything,” as sociologist Bonnie Erickson puts it, then consequential strangers–people outside our intimate circles–are our best teachers.