East Asian students now dominate Western schools and workplaces, yet crash into the so-called “bamboo ceiling” before reaching the top.


The politics of conservative Protestants frighten Americans of other religions, while the politics of more mainstream traditions infuriate the conservatives.


Women are getting stuck as they rocket up the corporate ladder, while men are falling off the ladder altogether.


Midwesterners and Southerners get depressed when they relocate to the Coasts, and vice versa.


Many Blacks, Latinos, and other people of color know that discrimination keeps them   down, while many Whites sincerely believe that race no longer matters.


Despite the need for more collaboration, partnerships between governments, businesses, and nonprofits too often fail.


The have-nots still struggle in the classrooms of the haves, widening the gap between rich and poor.


Governments in the Global North and Global South still can’t agree about what counts as “fair,” “honest,” and “efficient.”

As the world gets smaller, people from different cultures are colliding like never before. Although each of these eight conflicts seems unique, we show that many stem from the same root cause: the tension between people who tend to use their independent, separate, and in-control self versus people who tend to use their interdependent, connected, and adjusting self.

Though disputes between selves underlie these problems, merely changing our selves will not solve them. Instead, changing selves also requires changing the cultures that make and mirror them in a process we call the culture cycle. For each clash, we show how to nudge our culture cycles so that we can call forth the best self for each situation. By knowing when and how to use our different selves, we can not only better understand the clashes around us, but also thrive in the 21st century.