We define ourselves at several levels. This is a result of needing to interact in a complex environment. Information is coming to us continuously and we need to be able to sieve through it and more importantly react to it appropriately. Our reactions, both internal and external, will impact what we do and how we think.

The layers defining us have been articulated by Robert Dills based on previous work by others as described in the reference (1). They are called Neurological Levels (see figure).

The Environment is what surrounds you, people and physical environment. This is where the culture you live in is. Behaviours are what you and others do and how we act in that environment, in that culture. Capabilities are your abilities to understand and function in that environment, that culture. Your Beliefs and Values are what your culture takes as true or not, as right or wrong and that you have incorporated as your own (for sure you can have others). Your Identify is who you are. We will see that although we like to think we build it ourselves, it is also forged by the culture you are in. Finally, your Purpose is what you think your role is in the bigger schema of life.

How we define ourselves at one level will impact most levels below. It is usually thought that changes at a level will have minimal or short term effects on the levels above. However, I will argue in this series of posts that it is not as straightforward when it comes to culture.

This model has mostly been used in conjunction with the learning processes or how they are impaired in mental illnesses. It is also a model used in coaching to assess the source or level of a problem or inadequacy.

In this series of posts, I will explain how culture affects each and every of these levels. You will understand why you experience confusion, frustration and even worse feelings sometimes when you have to perform in a new cultural environment.

I will explain at what levels change should occur for performing as well in a new cultural environment as in the ones you are familiar with.

1. http://www.nlpu.com/Articles/LevelsSummary.htm

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