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4 Reasons Why Differences Are Good

Equality and diversity is a phrase most of us will be familiar with. It is the subject of policies, training, HR documents and forms for us employees. For our young people, it informs one of our intentions within asphaleia’s Pledge to Young People.

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Pledge Number 1

According to WikipediaEquality and diversity is a term used in the United Kingdom to define and champion equalitydiversity and human rights as defining values of society. It promotes equality of opportunity for all, giving every individual the chance to achieve their potential, free from prejudice and discrimination.

At asphaleia, this is an integral value that shapes how we operate as an organisation regarding our staff, volunteers and the young people we work with. We are BIG believers in the potential of ALL young people and we aim to ensure we are offering the best of all we have to offer to every young person that walks through our door.

E&D isn’t just something we are obligated to do because of legislation. We believe in the importance of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to progress in life, but furthermore, that differences enrich and enhance our society and personal experiences.

Here are 4 reasons why differences are good:

You learn new things about the world – to put it bluntly, if we were all the same, life would be incredibly dull. What would we talk about? What would we learn? I have learned some absolutely fascinating things from friends or colleagues who are from another country, or in a completely different line of work to me, or who are much older or younger. From languages and culture to simply your outlook on life, the people around you will believe different things for different reasons. Learn from them!

They help you develop – when we are curious about others we have the opportunity to discover new ways of doing things. Better ways. We can also open the door to different paths we didn’t know were there. As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said: ‘Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

Stength lies in differences not in similarities

They keep you humble and open – we like to think we know best. The phrase, ‘my way or the highway’ springs to mind for many of us when faced with people who do things differently. Refusing to adapt and change keeps us in the same place and we can make many assumptions about people that are simply wrong.

You learn empathy – an important skill for connecting with people and maintaining relationships. Both personally and in the workplace. To work or learn alongside someone who is different to you, requires you to see things from their perspective. To withhold judgement and listen is at the heart of empathy and is a skill that will allow you to work well in a team or partnership.

Whilst it’s great to celebrate our similarities, let’s look for ways to appreciate the differences of those around us or new people who cross our paths.

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