Chinese Lessons and Life Lessons

Today is being a catch-up post as well (writing this on the 7th).   Lots of overhead activities, such as PO approvals, wires, etc. that chewed up a bunch of my time.  Low value add.   I keep thinking of how to further gain more time, and getting up earlier has been working so far.  Nevertheless, felt a bit of stress today, as had many outstanding small things and no time for strategic stuff.

Nevertheless, much of the time taken today was ‘persona’ in a way.   Had my 2nd Chinese lesson.   Very surprised at how much I have actually enjoyed it and how fun it has been.  My experience prior to this has been with learning German in Germany – and to the point where my teacher pretty much ‘fired’ me from the lessons (and I was paying her) – I was just not doing my homework.    This time it is so much different, and although I dreaded taking the lessons and imagined it a bit of hell, I find myself enjoying it a lot.   Embarrassing as it is, I have now been in China for 6 years and I have yet to master 1-10 numbers – until today that is!  BUT just learning this simple little thing already made such a huge difference.  Just today at the store the clerk was asking me for the amount to pay, and I understood it!   Little micro-stress gone.  So, I can see how getting more vocabulary and language could actually reduce a stress of a living in a country where you don’t speak the language.  And I didn’t really realize that there was stress – but I would call it micro-stress.  Small things that just add up.

Anyways – I can see myself very shortly getting hang of Chinese – not fluent but survival at least.   Very nice.

Had an issue come up with a business partner, and I took a bit of an aggressive stand – probably too aggressive.  I should have known better than to negotiate from a position of power – negotiations where one party is at a disadvantage don’t have good outcomes – and a win/win doesn’t happen.   It becomes a zero sum game – and in general that is a shit way to negotiate for long term.  So, reminder to self, that when in negotiations, win/win will likely not be achieved if there is a power imbalance.   Win/win is best achieved when both parties have solid footing.   Hopefully I have fixed it.  Me bad.

Ended a day with balancing my ‘life’ with a nice long massage at Oriental Taipan.   Although work was still pilled up, I worked on braking the old pattern of focusing on ‘work’ – and allowed myself time to take a break.  Worked out great.  Got up earlier next day, was in a much more positive space, felt like everything was going in my direction and had a very productive next day.

So, personal growth here for me – and that is – balanced life style = higher productivity.   I need to keep reminding myself of that, and reframing my outlook.  Ie. before if there was work to be done, I would be so focused on the task that all other things would be neglected and there would be no permission for myself to take a break.  This would lead to an eventual downward spiral, where the mind, body gets worn out – and eventually productivity declines.    In this way,  understanding that ‘balanced’ things like taking time out for yourself ACTUALLY equal higher productivity is a significant change in my belief system.  

And, as I write above, one my guys at work helped me see that as well.   This fellow worked 7 days weeks for last few months – and during his review – he identified for himself that he was just too worn out and that his productivity slowed down.   Hmm…first, kudos to him for recognizing that and taking steps to address it.  But second, kudos to him for making me see that in myself as well.   Just like yesterday, it is so often easy to see others but so hard to see ourselves.

So, moving forward, the theme of balance, focus on self, taking time out – will become more and more important – especially as the company grows and gets bigger – having that mental agility, energy will become that much more valuable than ‘time’ in the office.