THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN 2.5 years ago, 2 weeks after I relocated to New York from New Haven, originally posted on CUUS (Chinese Undergraduates at United States). I decided to re-post this as I have been bombed by a series of questions on job hunting and life philosophies especially from Chinese students recently; and I realized a lot of examples and thoughts I laid out in this article are still very much applicable to people still at college or just gradated.
I know it’s a long one, and it’s in Chinese, but this is among one of the most precious, profound, informative, yet personal articles I have ever written in my life. So enjoy.
(首发于CUUS & deniseyezi 个人博客, 转载请注明作者出处)
最近我遇到一位长得一表人才，家庭条件非常好的移民，IVY league的PhD +MBA, 据他本人说是开过法拉利，乘过私人飞机，交过super model做女朋友。可是认识没几天他突然抱怨，我觉得生活没有意义了，我不知道我到底想做什么，没有什么事情让我感到excited,我觉得我没有任何朋友。。。等等。我就傻了。当然我尽力安慰他，可是我在心里说：你不知道比多少多少人幸运呢！我想不明白他为什么没有感恩的心情，为什么不能对已有的知足。
Another periodic Chinese blog of mine, in response to a movie based on my very generation, emotionally deep; excuse me if you don’t read Chinese.
Aside from the release of Verizon iPhone 4 and another round of big snow in New York, there is something else that has flooded the internet these days: Ms. Amy Chua’s Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior article on WSJ.
I have to say I like this article. I admire Amy’s honesty and audacity to even talk about things in such controversy that many Chinese are familiar with but may be totally unimaginable to other cultures. I am intrigued and impressed by her witty (at times funny) language and detailed examples, and I mean who would not be?! Especially when you read such a tagline – Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?
However, as much as I have personally lived through many experiences Amy has explicitly described in her article, and as much as I can only nod through her 3 points that by large have differentiated Chinese parents from other parents, I have sadly come to an conclusion that there are at least two fundamental flaws in the very foundation of her arguments:
1) Happiness and success do not necessarily correlate to each other, especially when you define success in such a narrow way.
2) Ending your parenting story when your kids are 15-ish is probably quite pre-mature. What may have worked for a 7-year old does not mean it will work the same for a late teen.
5. The easiest thing in the world is to say good things about other people.
Without even seriously meaning it. But it’s so easy, and you see the results. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it makes everybody happy. It really should be something natural to you, because everyone else is doing it too.
But you must be stupid if you don’t know WHY other people are doing it, especially if you are the “target” of the praise. Some people might seriously mean it, and I have every respect for those being honest and genuine with their compliments, but even if you are 10 times better than the compliments, why should they? Because you are a boss? You are a girlfriend? You are his date in this dance club? You are a customer browsing shoes? You are a competition?
Probably the first rule you should know before going on a blind date is: Do not complain. Even though you’re in pain, you have a lot of things going on, you just got yourself into some new trouble…do not complain. Because nobody wants to be with someone who constantly nag about their own problems and frustration which have (in most cases) absolutely nothing to do with you, and you definitely do not want to leave that impression the first time you meet someone.
What about close friends? I remember this line from my childhood: if you share your happiness with your friends, it doubles; if you share your sadness with your friends, it reduces half. Oh how powerful. But in real life more than often people, especially close friends, and especially girlfriends, complain to each other all the time. Is it really because “if I don’t turn to you about this I have nobody else to talk about it?”
Maybe that’s true in some cases. But if you do that too often it may becomes a burden to your friends. Yes they care about you, but it doesn’t mean you can take advantage of their kindness or time. To think about it in this way, if you were your friends, would you be willing to listen to your own nagging for a few hours, and every other weekend? If your answer is yes, then either you are very enduring and patient, or you are narcissistic. At least I used to think so.
But during my trip to Asia a few weeks ago I realized something new about the nature of complain that I never thought about before. I was grabbing drinks with 2 girlfriends and one of them was telling us about her charming, capable, rich boyfriend for almost the entire evening, especially about how good he is to her. I was amused actually and enjoyed very much their stories. Then toward the end of the night the other girlfriend walked me back to my hotel and said on the way:
I dreamed about my parents last night.
A close girlfriend used to work at Mckinsey Hong Kong, and she told me a while back that she was looking for another job, something more stable, more sustainable. I asked why don’t you just come back to the US?
She said, because it’s close to home. My parents are not young anymore, I want to get to visit them at least a few times every year. It may sound surprising, but we only have about twenty thousand days to live in our lives.
20,000 days, only?