Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I Had a Dream

July 9, I experienced a couple of events that I would rate them as unfairness.

- A friend who deserved a large pay raise got only a salary increase of few percent.

- An Ayi (house keeper) who was challenged by her employer that she charged the battery of her electro bike in the employer’s house quitted the job with anger.

- An employee who works in a large company could not claim back the difference of transportation expense, because he was not informed about the budget raise.

- A landlord who was offered a house leasing contract with less favourable terms than the standard rejected the contract.

At that night I had a very strange dream. I was about to enter into a shop and the owner requested me to pay 50 Mao entry fee. This is really unheard. You never pay entry fee for a shop. But I had to go in for some reasons. So I paid the entry fee and told owner that I will put this story into my blog.

After I finished the shopping, the owner paid me back the 50 Mao and in addition he gave me another 50 Mao and asked me: “Please just do not write any thing about this in your blog.” At that moment I woke up and could remember the dream clearly.

Since the internet, people having power could do less unfair things because they are afraid of bad publicity.

And I have a dream that all unfairness of the world will be cleaned up one day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Way to Mastery

The week before summer vacation, my guitar teacher requested his students to practice playing guitar three hours daily during the vacation. They should do it in three different time of the day with one hour each time to improve the efficiency.

“Three hours a day? That is impossible”, complained one student.

“I already have difficulties to practice one hour per day now”, said the other.

My guitar teacher smiled and asked: “Do you know how long I practice when I started guitar lessons at age of four?”

He paused and waited for the reaction of his students. They were quiet and curious to learn what their teacher has to say.

“Four hours a day, at age of four.” He emphasized his age.

The students who complained felt ashamed, but were still reluctant to commit the three hours.

The teacher continued: “Four hours a day is just for the beginning. After some experiences my practicing time increased to eight hours a day.”

“Waw.” The students opened the mouths and eyes wildly.

“After some more experiences I increased my practicing time to twelve hours a day.”

By that time I realize how my guitar teacher can work 16 hours with a regular job at the government institute and a full time guitar teaching job.

The room was filled with silence. No one was able to make any tone. The teacher went on: “I know you all want to play the instrument well. You want to make a difference in your life. And you want to have fun playing it. However, any remarkable achievement is tightly linked with efforts and persistence, some times with pain and suffering. This is the way of mastery, maybe the only way.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The True Love

Lisa finished her Yoga practise and her mind was completely clear. She was determined to tell Tom today. She had struggled for this decision already too long.

Tom was sitting in the living room with a book in the hand. It was the bestseller about the man-woman relationship “Man are from Mars and woman are from Venus”. As Lisa sat next to Tom, he lifted his head and looked at her with a slight suspicion.

“Tom. I really appreciate all your efforts to make our relationship work. But don’t you see that your efforts during these 5 years were all for nothing?”

“Yes. Lisa, I realise. But I am the person who never gives up. If I set a goal, I will just persistently move forward until its victory.”

Lisa unconsciously raised the voice: “Victory? Who’s victory? You can not win here. Do you know why?”

“I know. Because my heart is not here.”

“Where is your heart?” Lisa asked, although she knew the answer.

“My heart is in my dreams.” He looked down.

“And your heart is with her. All the five years. I am not blind.”

“I can not change it. I can change my behaviours, my attitudes, but not my feeling. I am sorry.”

“Don’t feel sorry. I appreciate you to make all the efforts. Five years ago I asked you to stay because of the children. Now, they are out of the house. And you are free to leave.” She pointed to the door. Her voice was calm and determined, but warm and loving.

Tom looked at her again, surprised to watch her calm expression and realized that she was completely serious. A feeling of sadness emerged in his heart. He could not control that the tears came down from his eyes. He knew that she loved him, so much that she would give him the freedom to approach his happiness. He moved to her and hugged her so closely that she had little difficulties to breath. She cried and kissed him.

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to Raise Children Effectively? Continued

Last Friday we went to an India Restaurant at the Hong Mei Entertainment Street to celebrate for my second daughter Katharine receiving the school certificates. We are all very proud that she ended up with the second best student at her level. We are proud because she was not always liked that as her sister.

After she graded from primary school to high school (Gymnasium), she was pending between the score of 2 to 4 (with 1 the best and 6 the worst). My wife tried to help her to be better and educated her to be more disciplined. We knew that she is intelligent and talented in many ways. But my wife and she struggled for a long time. And one day I decided to try a new method that I learned from leadership training: making the change seems to be easy.

One day in a very casual atmosphere I spoke to Katherine: “Look. Would you try one thing for me? Try to improve only one point in only one subject, what ever subject you would like to chose, while remain the scores for all other subjects the same during the next semester.” It sounded for her to be easy to achieve, so she promised: “I will try.”

By the end of the semester, she improved one point not only in one subject, but in three subjects. We were very happy. We did not make more ambitions goal for her, but told her: “That is great achievement. For the next semester, would you try only to improve one point for only one subject you chose, based on your current performance.” She confidently said: “Yes. I will try.”

During all the semesters she continuously put more efforts. And the result today is really impressive with the average score of 1.3. In addition she has a great interest and talent in music and playing well guitar.

I believe that because of the pressure in the industries the management often set too high goals for people to fail, not to achieve. And while people fail, they develop a habit of failing and lose confidence in achieving. Since they can not meet the goals anyhow, why should they bother even to make any efforts?

What we can learn from Katharine is to make changes or improvements seem to be easy, so we can succeed and we have the ambition to overachieve, not because of the pressure coming from outside, but because of the inner drive to be the best we can be!

Friday, July 3, 2009

House Leasing Termination

After two years leasing of a house within a compound in Hong Qiao, Shanghai, we decided to terminate the contract and started to look for an apartment. There are a couple reasons for it.

The house is little old, built in 2002. The windows are not tight, so it is cold in winter and hot in summer. We had to switch on the air condition all the time to keep the temperature under control, which cost money and was not environment friendly.

There are also other reasons for us to leave. The compound is not particularly well managed. When I use the gym, there is always something missing, water, water cups or towels. I had to call the service personnel to get them.

Then there was a problem with the club house. Some private drivers of the compound tenants slept on the sofa of the club house during the day. And the management decided to create a small, closed room within the club house to let the drivers sleep there. And now the club house looks really awful.

When the service person heard that we are leaving, she came to us and politely asked us to stay and ensured us that her management will consider any conditions we might have on our mind. We could take another house nearby etc. And I got the sense that she really wants us to stay, because there are already several other empty houses they are looking for tenants for.

I could also sense that when the situation continues with the leaving tenants, the management may think to cut number of employees for the compound. And we do really like the service personnel. They are nice, polite and available and do everything we ask for. We also observed that the compound management does not put his heart to manage the compound, but instead taking care of his private business.

I feel sorry for the employees there and think about some large companies where the management made mistakes and employees had to go. The world is not fair and far from perfect. And I would like to call for actions for all managers to take more responsibilities for the people below them, because their fate is dependent on your competence, dedications and decisions. Thank you.