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The 8 Step Tool

New Feature

Save your 8 Step answers to your account and view all of your culture bumps in one place!

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from the culture bump

Step 1 

Pinpoint The Culture Bump

Finding a culture bump

Recall a time when something caught your attention, when you noticed something different or when someone did something you wouldn't have done.

Then tell what your perception was—in other words, what you thought about it. 

What if the bump/situation has happened multiple times?

Focus on one particular time, perhaps the first time you encountered the bump or the last time.

Don't tell the story about the incident 

Instead of telling the story of what happened, you are looking only for certain details (the person or thing you bumped with and your intial thought about the incident) that will be the starting place of your 8 Steps. 

So don't talk about motivations or feelings in this step.

I had a  

culture bump with 


I thought that was


Step 2

Describe What The Other Person(s) Did

Keep it simple

Don’t tell the story. Just focus on the actions and words you can see or hear. (Or, taste or touch if in the case of an object).

What if the bump/situation has happened multiple times?

Describe exactly what you saw, heard, touched, or smelled. Even though it is somewhat artificial, report exactly what happened with no interpretation.

  • Descriptive Observations: crying, hands out in front of him, said “That’s cool.”

  • Non-descriptive Observations: sad, nervous, rude, in an angry tone

Don’t add how you felt or your thoughts about the incident.

Don’t tell the story. Just focus on the actions and words saw, heard, touched, or smelled. 

What did the other person(s) do or say? Or, in case of an object, describe it physically.

Step 3

Describe What You Did

Use descriptive language only

Describe exactly what you  did—using only precise and literal descriptive language. 

  • Correct: I stepped backward and said, “No, thank you.”

  • Incorrect: I stepped backward in fear and said nervously, “No, thank you.”      

Focus on yourself

Don’t tell the story or add how you felt or your thoughts about the other person or yourself.  Just focus on your actions and words. 

What did I do or say?

Step 4

List The Emotions You Felt When The Bump Happened

Try to identify as many emotions as possible. 

  1. Many times we are aware of being mad or angry but underneath we may feel a more "tender" or impactful emotion such as "fear" or "sad."                             

  2. Look for the most “tender” or impactful emotion. It typically is the last emotion you identify. (People often think, “wow, I didn’t know I felt that.” when they name it.)

You will actually feel a “release” from the bump when you identify all of your emotions.

Note: Some emotions may contradict one another.

Focus on yourself

  • Correct: sad, honored, weary

  • Incorrect: he made me..., I thought they were..., he was scared, etc.

List emotion words only

Do not describe why you felt an emotion or use words like: felt like, felt that, or felt about. 

Do not use words that describe feelings or physical states.

  • Correct: sad, honored, weary

  • Incorrect: normal, upset, tired, hungry, 

Example List of Emotions:

Shock, astonishment, amazement, wonder

Fury, resentment, exasperation, indignation, irritability, annoyance,

Anxiety, scared, nervous, concern, wariness, panic, terror

Grief, hurt, sorrow, melancholy, self-pity, dejection, despair, disappointed

Happy, joy, relief, contentment, delight, satisfied, euphoria

Acceptance, trust, kindness, connectedness, adoration, infatuation

Contempt, disdain, scorn, aversion, distaste

Inferior/superior, guilt, embarrassment, chagrin, remorse, humiliation, regret,

At the time of the culture bump, the emotions I felt were:


our commonalities

Step 5

Find The Universal Situation In The Incident When It Happened

Why do you think they did what they did?

When asking yourself "why" the other person did what they did, you are trying to identify the situation to which they were responding—not to “understand” the other person(s)’ motive.

Their action was in response to a particular situation. If you were in the same situation, you would most likely have responded differently. Here you are looking to pin point what that situation might have been.

Don't worry about trying to pick the exact "correct" situation. Just try to find a universal situation that could have led to their response and your culture bump.

The situation usually begins with a verb such as:

  • Wanting to...

  • Needing to...

  • Explaining...

  • Being...

Is it a Universal?

Universal Situations are something anyone from any culture could find themselves in. Here are some helpful tips:

Instead of specific people's names, change it to their role in the situation.

  • Correct: ...parents are mad at their children

  • Incorrect: ...They (my parents) were mad at Fred (my other brother).​

You can add more details to make it specific such as: 
Roles of the individuals involved, the ages, pertinent relationships, gender, or whether the situation occurred in public or in private.

More Examples

Click here to see our Universal Generator tool and get more acquainted with universal situations.

Now let's find a universal situation for your culture bump. It will be something that could happen to anyone from anywhere, like arriving late or feeling hungry in class or a meeting. 

Find the universal situation in this incident. (What is the situation that they were responding to?)

Step 6

List And Describe Specific Actions You Would Do In The Universal Situation From Step 5

Use descriptive language

Try to make the behavior as precise and vivid as possible—Add as many details as you can recall.

Don’t focus on why you did anything in this step.

There may be more than one pattern of behavior

Often we learn behaviors from family, teachers, personal experiences, or our own personalities which may mean that what you would do might be different from your community at large, or that there are several possible responses to this same situation. 

Image yourself in that exact situation

If you cannot remember being in the exact situation, imagine what you would do if you ever found yourself in a similar position. Or you might think of what someone from your "group" would do in that situation.

List and describe specific actions you would do in the universal situation from Step 5.

Step 7

List The Qualities That You Feel That Action Demonstrates

Remember in Step 1, when you said "I thought that was...(rude, silly, nice, etc)." You were associating an action someone did with a quality. This is similar. You associate the actions above in step six with certain qualities. When your brain see someone doing those actions, it thinks (often subconsciously) "Oh they are being...(considerate, wise, etc)."
Imagine yourself in that situation or that you are watching someone doing the actions you listed in Step 6, and then ask yourself, "What kind of person acts or speaks that way?"

Do not use the word Normal. ("They're being normal.") Look deeper to find the specific qualities that make the action "feel" than normal.

Try to pick the exact quality instead of merely stating “NOT....”


Here is a list of a few of the millions of human qualities. Notice that qualities can be positive or negative.

Selfless                                            Selfish

Thoughtful                                        Thoughtless/Shallow

Cautious                                           Reckless

Caring, Concerned                           Inconsiderate

Successful                                        Failing

Competent                                        Incompetent

Modest                                             Show-off 

Loving                                              Hateful

Cool                                                 Dorky

Considerate                                     Mean

Forthright                                         Sneaky/secretive

Empowering                                    Discouraging

Collaborative                                   Obstructive

Authentic                                          Insincere

Finding Qualities

Avoid using normal or “not"

More Examples

Click here to see our Universal Generator tool and get more acquainted with universal qualities.

When people in my culture (or group) do the actions I listed in Step 6, I say they are being:


beyond the culture bump

Step 8

Ask or think about how those qualities are demonstrated by other people

How does the other person(s) you had the culture bump with express the qualities you listed in Step 7? (If you do not know, consider starting a conversation with a question like, "How do you like to show (a quality from Step 7)?"




Program/ Training ID or #


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