One of my girlfriends is visiting NY for meetings and she asked me to help her to pick up her wedding gown from Vera Wang the day before. I am so happy for her. You know there are times when you say “good for you” you actually feel “gosh it’s so unfair I cannot believe she is getting this while I didn’t!” But that kind of feeling is not in my dictionary anymore. I am lucky to be surrounded by both guys and girls who are as ambitious, capable, observant, insightful and FUN as myself (sorry I’m complimenting myself again), if not more, and they complement me as a human being, and they inspire me every day to give back more with passion and love.
Ultimately it’s not about a competition after all. It’s about inviting someone to join the life journey with you, to learn, to share, to enjoy; or sometimes, just to sit quietly together while looking out of the window, and maybe laugh, and sing.
Treat people right, any people
When I was in Hong Kong I went to this Portuguese restaurant once and ordered some baked pork and rice dish. I asked the waiter some standard question on what kind of sauce he recommends, how long it will take, and how big the portion is etc. Apparently he was relatively new and he couldn’t answer half of the questions. I got very impatient. I unintentionally raised my voice and I was at the edge of asking to be served by another waiter. He was embarrassed obviously, and my friend who went with me gave me a very disturbed stare, which I couldn’t quite figure out why at the moment. Read more…
I know I have been away for a while. I have been traveling for business (and leisure) in Asia for the past 4 months. I was in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Macau, and multiple places in Mainland China. I met many interesting people, faced many challenging situations, and there are things that I like and not like about this whole experience, which I will gradually share with you later on. I am also in the process of building a brand new website that will EXPAND the topics of my writing, the bandwidth of knowledge that I am sharing, the broader audience I can reach out to, and the ways how I can communicate to each one of you. I look to launch my new website in the near future by which time my wordpress articles will be migrated. So please stay tuned and I would love to celebrate together with you when that becomes official.
But one thing that has been on my mind for the longest time is: Why am I not relocating back to Asia? I had multiple conversations with senior managers from different teams in our Asian offices, and one of the really senior guys gave me this look when I told him I was born and raised up in China, went to college in the US and have been working in NY ever since, and he almost started yelling at me:
What the hell are you still doing in New York?!
I watched a few episodes of the TV drama “Never say goodbye 说好不分手” these days in Hong Kong. It’s astonishingly touching. I remember one comparison pretty clearly when one of the lead guys commented on his relationship with two distinctive girls in a very interesting way:
- The relationship I had with A is like playing video games. There’s always another challenge waiting for me. It’s fun and engaging, it keeps me going. The best part is, you have multiple chances with one challenge, and you can even restart if it’s “game over”.
- The relationship I had with B is like doing a surgery. I have to be extra careful every second. The more I care about the patient the more nervous and intense it becomes. It gets tiring to be honest, because as a surgeon you have but one shot. If you screw this up you don’t have another chance.
This simple but very insightful comparison and analogy made me reflect deeply on how human beings interact and leave impressions on each other. Then I started thinking about relationships in general, and all the wonderful girlfriends of mine who are still single, and all the charming guy friends of mine who are still confused about what the hell all the girls are thinking. But the fact is: the girls are not less confused, and probably only more.
I am in no position to categorize myself as a relationship expert because I am simply not, but I know one thing that I am actually good at: to state the obvious but in a unique way that would make sense to all of you no matter where you are coming from. I used to tell myself: the first step to achieve anything in life is to decide what you want. So what I am trying to do here is really just to share some observations and understandings on how to make a smarter decision on what you should be looking for in a long term relationship.
It was a little bit sad looking out of the window from my seat on the 24th floor in the Park Avenue Plaza building. It was raining badly in the morning when I came in; it was almost freezing when I went to lunch with my lovely Chinese colleagues; yet 5 seconds ago, it suddenly cleared up and it was all sunny. The windows almost felt like non-existent.
But it was sad because I am leaving NY, though only for 3 months. Yes I am going to Hong Kong for a short-term assignment which is a great opportunity and I look forward to the new adventures, discoveries, and I am excited about what else about people, culture, business and life I may be able to share with you. The past few weeks have been hectic with all the logistics and responsibility transfers, and of course, a lot of late night calls with Asia. But at this point, I felt calm. A little bit sad, yet calm.
I am not sure how frequent I will be able to write while I am working out of Hong Kong. I am under the impression that I will be working crazy hours given that’s the only reason they want me there. But before I embark on my new journey I want to leave with you a few stories which I have experienced recently. I thought about naming these under “self-improvement” or “peace of mind” or even “pursuit of happiness in life”, but when I started writing I realized it all comes down to — knowing yourself better, and especially your attitude when you respond to unexpected things in life.
It’s challenging, but it’s not that hard.
Do one thing that scares you every day
It was a Wednesday and I just came back from Delaware with our clients for a day trip to our data center. I have 2 hours to kill before Mary Poppins, so I marched into Borders trying to finish Liar’s Poker, and then another book caught my eyes: The 4-hour Work Week. I heard a lot about this book from my friends and I used the next hour flipping through the pages and I’m pretty happy with what I am reading, and I think Tim Ferriss does offer people a sweet DEAL (Definition, Elimination, Automation & Liberation).
You can easily identify a narcissistic person by the following 2 qualities:
- When a narcissistic person tells you how good he is, like he’s a number 9 out of 10, he really believes he’s a number 9; he will never secretly feel he’s only a number 7 but will behave as if he’s a number 9. He truly firmly profoundly fundamentally believes that he’s a number 9.
- When you give compliment to a narcissistic person, no matter how exaggerating and ridiculous your compliments are, he will always happily accept it – he would probably not use language like “I’m flattered”; instead he is likely to respond something like, “I totally agree with you”, or “I think you’re totally right about me”.
Okay, hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I had a great dinner at Koi with M the birthday girl and one of the guys was gentleman enough to bring a rose to each of the girls, very nice gesture I have to say! And then we went out to drinks at Stone Rose at the Time Warner Building. Again another cool spot in NY, you have to check it out next time you want a romantic yet low-key spot, with a lot of space, unique drinks and a great view!
Anyway, I have to admit that originally I plan to write on “What has Yale taught me about sex”! But I realized I am yet to be that aggressive and I don’t want to scare away some of my younger readers and I am pretty sure I’m not an expert on that subject anyway! But if that’s something you’re interested in reading please give me a shout in the comment or something.
So let me get back to what I actually want to talk about today: What I learned about relationships at Yale and in the US?
1. Be an independent person first
It took me a long time to realize how much truth lies in this simple idea: If you are not a happy person single, you will not be a happy person in a relationship. I’m not sure about you but I was raised up in an environment with this whole idea of “we are born to be incomplete and we spend our whole life trying to find someone to complete and to heal us”. After I came to Yale and the US, I realized it was a lie. Why? Because this idea leads us to the trap of being too demanding.
- I would love to go to your event, but I already made dinner plans.
- You did a great job with your interview, but we extended the offer to someone who did better.
- I think you are a great person, but I am not attracted to you in that way
- I really enjoyed the time being with you, but I made the decision to leave you.
These are the common situations we have to deal with day-to-day, and it can be awkward, difficult, nerve-racking, embarrassing, and you might feel guilty, uncomfortable, or even ashamed to have to put someone else in that situation. And you are also afraid of BEING PUT in such situations, and many times you wonder, “Is there a but, again?” even though the other person talks all positives.
But you have to deal with it, and the first thing you need to do is to be CERTAIN that this is something you want to do (rejecting). And then it’s about the techniques on how to be articulate about it, and here goes the formula:
Multiple “and” phrases
+ Addresses feelings
+ Suggest alternatives
= EASIER NO
Now let me give you a few examples: