By nature, I have always been a people pleaser. A fear of conflict drove me to maintain the peace, no matter what the cost. In my old age -- or perhaps I could be bold enough to say, as I've matured -- I've become less afraid to disagree with someone and more willing to express what I feel and believe. I have to admit, however, that to a large degree, I still care what others think of me.
Have you ever wondered what other people think of you as a nation or culture? During my travels this past summer, I spent a good deal of time interviewing Europeans on their impressions of American culture. Some were careful to point out that there is a difference between Americans and American culture.
I've also begun interviewing non-Americans residing in the US about their experience adapting to life in these United States. Their stories are both compelling and diverse.
If you are among those Americans who couldn't care less what other people think, or about the impact -- both positive and negative -- American culture has had in the world over the last century, World to the Wise might not be for you. But if you're among the culturally curious who believe what is projected from this country matters, stay tuned.
To quote the great Scottish poet Robert Burns:
"O would some power the Giftie gie' us
To see ourselves as others see us."