Lost in interpretation

Am American first time travelled to the Netherlands. He went to a restaurant for dinner and ordered a beer.

Waitress gave a bottle of beer.

“Can you open the bottle for me?” He to her when she turned around to leave.

“Can’t you open your own beer?” She shouted it back.

He thinks Dutch are too direct and somewhat not polite.

She thinks people should be independent and do things they can on their own.

A Chinese learns the story, she thinks Dutch is somewhat rude and has bad service in the restaurant.

No one is wrong in their opinions. Without understanding the context, the culture, things got lost in the interpretation.

You heard that culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Know the culture is the key to understand a situation.

To be heard

My husband and I are going for a market plaza in Jeju island.

When we are getting closer, we can hear loud music and recorded shouting selling voices. Many small stalls owners are competing for consumers attention to get business.

After passing through a few noisy stalls stretches, we see along a few other stretches the stalls are much quieter and pleasant. These small vendors have displayed their goods nicely and attractively.

You see, to be heard does not mean to the loudest one.

To be heard is to find the right audience and serve them whole heartily.

To be heard is to show your strength and display it in a right way – the way your customers like and accept.

The key to be heard is to know your audience and your customers.

Go with the wind

We face many things a day.

We have to make over 60,000decisions daily.

If only we are clear what the top a few decisions for us, we can live a more peaceful and joyful life.

Among the top decisions, those flow with the wind require less energy and give us relative competitive advantages.

Pick those decisions, flow with the wind.

You have better chance to be able to accomplish those goals, better chance to be successful.

The tricky part is to know the direction of the wind – know your environment, know your context, know the culture may affect your decision.

Then, go with the wind.

Car parking

I live in a big city in China. There are cars everywhere.

Sometimes cars park behind or in the front of a parking lot in my community. They make the cars in the parking lot impossible to get out. If your car is among the parked cars, you have three options in the situation:

  1. Call the driver to move his car if he leaves a phone number on his dashboard.
  2. Call the office to report the car parking “illegally”.
  3. Wait for unknowing time for the driver coming back to move his car.

If you are going to work, meeting others, or shopping by car, you can see that only the first option can possibly solve your problem quickly.

It is the driver’s consideration makes the difference. Leaving a contact phone number is a kind consideration for inconvenience. And it is not difficult to do. It shows your humility.

We need more kind, considerate people to live a more civilized community.

Immersion program becomes popular

I know a number of Chinese friends who spoke Chinglish when they first arrived the North American countries in 1990s.

Because they learned English from their Chinese English teachers. They did not have experience to practice the English and did not know how to use it properly.

English immersion programs become very popular in China now. Students going to the programs have to use what they learn, because they have native speakers to talk to.

Learning if good, but enough. You have to use it.

Having insights are good. You have to test them and apply them to your action and life.

Learning by doing is a better way to master, develop what you.

Comfortable vs uncomfortable

We are told by key opinion leaders that we need go out of our comfort zone. Only then we can grow and feel alive.

Many executives say that they are always in an uncomfortable status. That’s how they make changes and grow their business. Their motto is to be uncomfortable to be alert.

The learning is to get used to uncomfortable.

Uncomfortableness is a new norm.


I am grateful today for encountering many people today,

I invited myself and a colleague for a national conference. I am grateful that the organizers allowed me crashed the conference and gave me the opportunity to meet so many industry leaders.

I am grateful for meeting so many interesting people with diverse backgrounds and personalities.

I am grateful for knowing the colleague much better during this brief trip.

I am grateful for learning this new meeting place better.

Some times, you need to create a “potential risk” to do something different, out of ordinary to find the beauty and make new connections among our society and community.

We are in nature wanting to know others and get connected.

I am grateful that we can make a difference if we want to. People are kind in nature.