I was watching this Chinese stand-up comedian the other night and he mentioned how the Chinese are always linked with prosperity. The joke was that our go-to greeting for Chinese New Year is “hope you get rich” - which, of course, is an interesting take on how Chinese culture operates.
However, I do believe that underneath our penchant for prosperity lies a more meaningful outlook. So after watching the show, I realized that Chinese New Year is coming and what better time to share a less cynical outlook about the other half of my heritage.
1. Be brave. Fortune favors the bold.
It starts with a dream of a brighter life. Chinese immigrant stories are well known for its adventurous nature of finding fortune and migrating to a different country.
These stories are great references on how being outside of your comfort zone can help you push your limits and boundaries. It’s also a good way to understand that having no preconceived notions can help you find new ways to bring in value.
2. Make a lot of friends.
Chinese immigrants were well aware that social acceptance would be their main problem. But this also helped them grow their entrepreneurial spirit by befriending everyone.
The Chinese had to make friends with a lot of people to learn about social norms and what they needed to adapt. This gave them the vital information about their new community, allowing them to provide a wide range of services. Observe how adept we were in being merchants!
3. Be open. Let possibilities flow and the goals will follow.
The value of being open-minded can vary depending on who you’re talking to, but for now we will focus on its positive effect. The thing about open-mindedness is that can it can be easily misinterpreted as opportunism. However there is another side to this belief.
One of the earliest lessons my parents taught me is the virtue of enduring hard times. They told me that any ordeal can be easily handled by hard work, therefore anything can be achieved by working hard. This lesson taught me that there is no such thing as a glass ceiling and that anything is within grasp as long as I try hard enough. Sure it sounds very hopeful; but I’ll take optimism over a negative outlook any day.
This simple virtue has become the core value of any aspiring and successful businessman.
4. Embrace simplicity. Understand what matters most.
The world can be a bit scary sometimes. Temptation is everywhere and one wrong investment can cause your downfall. So what virtue did my ancestors taught me to sway away from bad investments? How can they help me see what’s important and stray away from the excess?
Well, I can thank my Grandfather for this. My grandfather is my textbook definition of a family guy. He told his kids that dinner time is family time. He would tell them that he feels recharged seeing his kids happy and together. Family gave him the will to move carefully and understand what’s at stake. By clearing his mind from what is unneeded, he was able to focus in making his family a happy one.
5. Be patient. Give people time to grow.
I always wonder, if I’m the richest man in this world what would be the most valuable thing to me right now? Then it hit me, nothing is more valuable than time. Knowing that I can’t buy time, I now understand my dad’s idea of mentorship.
My dad is a man of few words. He never really pressured me to follow my goals in life, but he always made me feel he has my back. He made me feel that my endeavors were not scary as I thought, and in due time, I can overcome anything.This gave me the time to fully find myself and seek my own way of doing things. If he forced me to follow his steps, I might not be able to find my own way.
With the wealth of wisdom culled from centuries-old practices, these virtues take on a deeper and more transcendental power. As we navigate an ever-changing world, may these serve as anchors to keep us afloat and committed in fulfilling our destiny. Kung hei fat choi – today and for every day that has been given to us.