Posted on

(For reading in Chinese, please scroll down to the end of the English text.)

(For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River near the Three Gorges Dam.)

(June 2020. From the 18th-floor homestead.)

There is an old platitude that says: Every cloud has a silver lining. This means even the bleakest of outlooks and situations contain a glimmer of hope. One of the silver linings of the current pandemic cloud is extra time for deep thinking. As many of us are forced to stay at home and self-isolate – “shelter in place” in pandemic newspeak – we now have more time for serious reflection than we ever had in our busy, busy previous lives. That reflection time will allow us to review our values and see how well our behaviors align with them. We may use this opportunity to create some new behaviors that come closer to the values which are most important to us. A radical idea: We can consciously choose our own behaviors in the areas of our life which we can control.

Here is an article from the pre-pandemic past (published on my blog on October 15, 2018, to be precise). The central theme is still true, pandemic or no pandemic.

Photo by Sonia

Who Is Stopping You From Achieving Your Dream?

Like an exhausted marathon runner who just crossed the finish line, I sit at my desk this afternoon, weary but very pleased with myself. My dream of publishing my book, China Bound, has become a reality. You can get it at the introductory price of only $0.99 for the first seven days.

But, actually, my thoughts run deeper…

It is with pleasure and a certain amount of pride that I announce my book China Bound has been published on Amazon.com. For those of you who know me personally, you are aware that this is been a goal, a project, and a dream for many years. China Bound is about my first months after I arrived in China. I was starting a new life. It was a time of exploration and new experiences. But, it was also a time of reflection and becoming aware of my expectations of myself – things I had never considered and, if I had stayed in my old life back in Missouri, I probably never would have examined.

To understand what I am talking about, think about going to your family reunion if you happen to live far away from most of your family and meet them only rarely. When you see your family members all gathered together and interacting, you can recognize some patterns of behavior and personality traits that they share – and that you share with them. Only when you see your family members together do you recognize those patterns in them and in yourself. You begin to see how your family is different from other families. You may even begin to realize that much of what you do and think is simply what you learned from your family, absorbed as a young child, without being conscious that you might have learned something entirely different.

They say the fish doesn’t know it lives in water because water is the only environment it has ever known; it can’t visualize any other environment. So it was with me. Only by leaving my old life – my country, my family, and my culture – was I able to see the boundaries of what had been my whole world. I began to see the limitations and filters I previously operated under without being aware of them.

The dramatic changes brought a marvelous opportunity for me to review my own ideas about myself. In my new life, those old expectations, behaviors, and beliefs were all gradually visible. I slowly began to realize what I had been and done and believed – about myself and about the world around me – was not the only way to look at life.

As I said in the book, “Thought for the day: The past determines the person we are today; but our thoughts and actions today determine who we will be tomorrow.” Hence, the subtitle of China Bound became Relocate, Rebuild, Reinvent.

So it is that I am quietly sitting at my desk today, basking in the warm satisfaction of attaining a long-term goal of being a published author. It is also a time for reflecting on the changes in my thinking about what I expect from myself. I am happy that I have achieved this goal. But the greatest treasure is the understanding that we are capable of much, much more than we normally expect of ourselves.

What about you, dear readers? I hope you will join me in celebrating this success – for it is a success that I am proud of. But I urge you to also take a few moments to think about your own goals and beliefs about yourself. Ask if you also are guilty of holding yourself back by keeping your expectations much lower than they need to be. Consider this question: What great things would you begin if you were absolutely certain your efforts would ultimately be successful? Then, ask yourself, why are you not doing those things?

*******************************************************************************************************************

(June 2020 again.) Maybe I need to work on a new book about the opposite side of that coin, The Person Making Me Crazy… Is Me.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

(2020年6月,从18楼的家园出发)

有句老话说: 每片云都有一线希望。这意味着,即使是最黯淡的前景和局势也包含着一丝希望。当前大流行的乌云中的一线希望是有额外的时间进行深思。由于我们中的许多人被迫呆在家里,自我隔离–用流行病新闻的说法是 “原地避难”–我们现在有更多的时间进行认真的反思,而这是我们以前忙碌的生活中从未有过的。这种反思时间将使我们能够检讨自己的价值观,看看我们的行为与价值观的一致性如何。我们可以利用这个机会创造一些新的行为,更接近对我们最重要的价值观。一个激进的想法。我们可以有意识地选择自己的行为 在我们生活中可以控制的领域。

这是一篇流行前的文章(准确的说是2018年10月15日发表在我的博客上)。不管有没有大流行,中心主题仍然是正确的。

*******************************************************************************************************************

谁在阻止你实现梦想?

就像一个筋疲力尽的马拉松选手刚刚冲过终点线一样,今天下午我坐在办公桌前,虽然很疲惫,但对自己很满意。我的出书梦想–《中国缘》已经成为现实。前七天只需0.99美元的入门价就能买到。

但其实,我的想法更深……

我很高兴也很自豪地宣布,我的《China Bound》一书已经在亚马逊网站上出版。对于那些了解我个人的人来说,你们知道这是多年来的一个目标、一个计划和一个梦想。China Bound》讲述的是我来到中国后的头几个月。我开始了新的生活。那是一段探索和新体验的时期。但是,这也是一段反思和意识到我对自己的期望的时间–我从来没有考虑过的事情,如果我留在密苏里州的旧生活中,我可能永远也不会检查。

要理解我说的是什么,想想看,如果你恰好住在离大多数家人很远的地方,很少见到他们,就去参加你的家庭团聚吧。当你看到你的家庭成员都聚集在一起互动的时候,你就能认识到一些行为模式和个性特征,这些模式是他们共有的–你也和他们一样。只有当你看到你的家庭成员在一起时,你才能认识到他们和你自己身上的这些模式。你开始看到你的家庭与其他家庭有什么不同。你甚至可能开始意识到,你所做的和所想的很多事情只是你从家庭中学到的,在小时候就吸收了,而没有意识到你可能已经学到了完全不同的东西。

他们说鱼不知道自己生活在水里,因为水是它唯一知道的环境,它无法想象其他环境。我的情况也是如此。只有离开我原来的生活–我的国家、我的家庭和我的文化–我才能够看到曾经是我整个世界的边界。我开始看到我以前在不知不觉中操作的限制和过滤器。

戏剧性的变化给我带来了一个奇妙的机会,让我重新审视自己对自己的观念。在我的新生活中,那些旧的期望、行为和信念都逐渐显现出来。我慢慢地开始意识到,我曾经的、所做的、所相信的–关于自己和周围世界的–并不是看待生活的唯一方式。

正如我在书中所说:”今天的想法。过去决定了我们今天的人;但我们今天的思想和行动决定了我们明天的人。” 因此,《中国束缚》的副标题变成了《搬迁、重建、重塑》。

所以,我今天才会静静地坐在书桌前,沉浸在实现出版作家这一长远目标的温暖满足中。这也是我反思自己对自己期望的思维变化的时候。我很高兴,我已经实现了这个目标。但最大的财富是了解到我们的能力远远超过我们通常对自己的期望。

亲爱的读者们,你们呢?我希望你能和我一起庆祝这一成功–因为这是我引以为豪的成功。但我敦促你也花点时间想想你自己的目标和对自己的信念。问一问你是否也会因为把自己的期望值压得比需要的低得多而阻碍自己的发展。考虑一下这个问题。如果你绝对确定你的努力最终会成功,你会开始什么伟大的事情?然后,问问自己,为什么你没有做这些事情?

*******************************************************************************************************************

(又是2020年6月。)也许我需要写一本新书,讲述这个硬币的反面,《让我疯狂的人……就是我》。

One Reply to “Who Is Stopping You From Achieving Your Dream?”

  1. CONGRATULATIONS, Randy!!! What a sweet dream it is to be a writer, and more importantly, I believe that you have already taken a big step forward when you began to examine and explore your life courageously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *