a framework to understand loves and Love

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About “True love”.

My friend Hahns once told me there was no such thing as fake and true love their is just love and it is unconditional. It makes sense. There is no fake love, just love. About the unconditional thing i wonder, if a mother loves his son but he become a serial killer, really? Does she keep loving him? Is there no case of parent who stopped loving their children? Just because they didn’t deserve their love anymore? But then I kept thinking and realize, Hahns was right, love is unconditional, a parent will always keep loving their child, it is their job, what they are made for. But they might stop expressing their love, for one reason or another. For many bad parents, it is just because their are selfish and start giving priority to the love they have to themselves over the love they have to their children. For serial killers’ parents, they will stop talking to them, cut them out of their life, because they need to cope, they also need to teach to their children,not everything is acceptable. But love remain, I am sure of that.

Love = right person + right timing.

My sister Selina also taught me a valuable lesson once. 2 lessons even. 
1) Love is not about what you feel for him but about what this person make you feel about yourself.
2) There is not such thing as “the One”. There is a right person for you at a right time. But as time pass and you evolve, the right person for you can not remain the same. Unless you evolve together in the same direction.

Posted in Being a woman, Values | Leave a comment

I’m Still Here – Joaquin Phoenix Using His Life to make a Study Case

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I watched I’m Still Here this week, it was quite random, just found it at my place, dont remember buying it, maybe a AIrBnB guest left it. I love Joaquin Phoenix since The Village – the most beautiful love story ever.


So watched it and was quite upset at our society, same feeling I got after I watched KONY2012.

I don’t understand why people focus so much about “is it an hoax or not”? It doesn’t matter because the problem they are pointing at are reals.

 

I’m Still Here is a documentary so it is not very entertaining, don’t watch it to have a good time, watch it because you are curious of Human Nature and Societies.

If you want to be entertained and get the point, watch Black mirror episode one and two. It is a satyre of how our society is control by media and the media/entertainment industry. It is brillant, shockingly brilliant.

 

What make I’m Still Here very powerful is that, Joachim used his real life to show use how we – audience, fans…- can be cruel toward this people we raised up as our stars. He sacrificed 2 years of his carreer to transparently show us what it is to work in the “showbiz” all the wrong doing.

And no-one cared. People only talked about “is it an hoax or not”.

I can’t believe we live in a society where people on top, people who entertain us and take responsibility for us -the mass- I am worried that these leaders don’t have a stronger support system. This is why so many stars kill themselves.

 

If you want to break free from your golden cage…People who loved you, look at you with contempt as soon as you try to be different. Misunderstanding, untolerance when I think we can try harder to be supportive of someone who just try to find happiness.

We are scaredof what is different. We are scared of thing we don’t understand, and we don’t understand people who don’t think and do the same we do.

Our current system is building intolerance, I think it is more than time to improve it.

 

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The toughest part of I’m Still Here – Joachim Phoenix at Letterman Saturday Night Live

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My favorite quote from Casey Affleck Interview a few days after the Premiere:

Ebert: I assume you and Joaquin didn’t go through this long period of time for frivolous reasons. What was your larger purpose? Your philosophy, dare I say? Joaquin’s?

Affleck: To tell a story. To make a movie. Isn’t it the job of the director to figure out the best way to tell the story they have to tell? This was the best way I could think of to tell this story, about this character. It’s a movie about a famous actor who has been acting for a long time and who wants to change paths, to change his life, to peruse a career in music. But he makes mistakes and the world is unforgiving. Things go wrong. He can’t recover. He digs himself deeper and deeper.

There are ideas in the film that are interesting to me. I don’t have a point to make, though. If it feels like a cautionary tale, what would be the warning? When you have a dream and others tell you, you are no good, give it up? Don’t become famous? Prepare, practice and use stepping stones? Or maybe don’t be incredibly mean to those around you? Some things seems too obvious, some seem lacking. I don’t know the point. I only know that it is of course in some way about celebrity culture. Its about fame, in some way. I don’t know what it says exactly but I know that it makes me wonder when I watch it. I’m OK with that.

All cultures are different. Some commit genocide. Some are uniquely peaceful. Some frequent bathhouses in groups. Some don’t show each other the soles of their shoes or like pictures taken of them. Some have enormous hunting festivals or annual stretches when nobody speaks. Some don’t use electricity. We obsess about celebrities. We create them, build myths around them, and then hunt them and destroy them. I don’t know where its taking us or what it means but I know we do it. I have seen a lot of it myself.

[…]

Ebert: My review of the film expressed concern that Joaquin might be self-destructing. Not many reviews expressed much concern. Even those who thought the film was or might be true didn’t seem to care much about the human being. Has the celeb culture vulgarized us so much that stars are now regarded simply as objects?

Affleck: It seems so. Your review was unique. I appreciated it.

Source: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/09/casey_affleck_levels_about_im.html

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A few article about the movie:

Joachim move has been compared to Andy Kauffman.

(Sept. 6, 2010) Times article reporting the Premiere

(Sept 18 2010) Casey’s Interview Before the Premiere

(Sept 22, 2010) Casey revealing the full story of the movie

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Did I believe in the documentary?

As for me I believed it was all real until I did all these background such. I was a little disappointed ot see Joachim being such a douchebag and so immature in the documentary, so was quite relieve when saw him at Letterman after the Premiere.

Me naive? No optimistic!

I don’t think I am naive, like some of my friends say. I think I am an optimistic and now I love JoaquinPhoenix even more. But if he was the character he was playing, I would also love and try to be empathic. He gave me so much from The Village^^.

To people who think I am naive, I will just quote this great tumblr blog:

Have you ever noticed that although the formal definition of ‘naive’ is ‘showing a lack of experience or judgment’ it is not how it is really used? The meaning people typically attach to this word is ‘he thinks of people better than they deserve’. You’re naive to think that people don’t lie, you’re naive to think that people are good, you’re naive to think that people care about this… The word that was supposed to be used as a measure of one’s experience has turned into a way to express a core belief that one is not experienced until he understands that the world is inherently ugly. Well, I am naive then. I know how ugly life can be made by people. But I still know that there’s more to this life than ugliness, despair and dull existence with no purpose. In fact, life is anything but these things.

Unmaskd (via unmaskd)

Posted in Movie review, Values | Leave a comment

Seeking partners for a techie coworking space in Wudaokou – URGENT!

After spending a few weeks working in Lush / Bridge Cafe / Sculpting in Time and MAAN coffee, i finally found myself an office…for until April 5.

It is my friend iOS coding school, appleschool.cn
I was meaning to write a blog post titled "Learning iOS with Korean Ted Mosby" but end up never having time for it. Moreover I gave up the course after 3 session, Kai has been more courageous.

Anyway now the school is not used during the day and he decided to close this business to focus on his app Studio. Which is quite a shame because the place is nice, very well located (cross road from Tsinghua Science Park where Sohu, Google and Yahoo are), 5 min from Wudaokou subway…

So I talk with the landlord and I have a few days to find people to cowork with me and help pay the rent..if you know anyone looking for a coworking space in Wudaokou…this is the place!

More info:

Space: 65m2 fully furnished, with screen, projector, long projector cable.

Monthly rent: 12,000 RMB (if we are 6 to rent it, it is 2000RMB a month, pretty acceptable!)

Additional services: Receptionist to be there from 9am to 6pm, she can help receive package, help book plane tickets…

Adress: Huaqing Jiayuan Residence, Shangfu Huiguan, 5th floor, appt 502 (Wudaokou)
Indications: from wudaokou subway walk west 400m, the building at South East corner of Tsinghua Science Park cross road.

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Map | Pictures below.

If interested drop me a comment before Monday April 2! Thanks~

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Posted in Being an entrepreneur, Being an expat, China, Tech | 1 Comment

Entrepreneur Hardship Series: Tough times all entrepreneurs encounter

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 Entrepreneur Hardship 101 – Borrowing money

I quit my job 1 month ago, to finally really start 100% with my start-up. Problem is..it was not completely plan. I left my company after some disagreement with management (see post “What qualified as moral harassment?  – I need to update this post, just didn’t had time yet..) and even if things got better and I am not in good terms with everyone.. I just understood that my entrepreneur spirit would not feat working for someone anymore and my employer and I agree it was time for me to leave. Which I did. With no saving what so ever. I just came back form a trip to my hometown that used up all my last year saving and when I quit my job, I just had enough to sustain myself for 1 month.

Have you seen the movie “In Time” with Justin Timberlake? The movie was pretty lame but the plot and the idea of money is replace by time and most people in the world live a day-to-day life, with the content fear to not have enough time/money to survive… yeah well that is the feeling I got since I quit my job. 

 

So my mission number one, before being able to plan for the future, was to borrow money to FFF (family, Friends and Fools). But even to do that, you have to be pretty convincing that you know what you are doing, you are not some crazy irresponsible nuts who live off other people’s saving.

So I only ask my close family (parents + brothers and sisters). Problems is, in my close family we are not rich. And saving is not really a habits J.

I still collected enough money to sustain myself for 3 months, which was my timetable anyway to get ready to pitch angel/seed investors.

It is a hardship moment because you are vulnerable and you put the other people in a delicate situation, a situation where they have to say “no” to the help you request. SO you can only ask someone who is close enough to you to be able to do that, say no to you and know that you will not take them account for it.

You reach this level of trust only with family and 10+ years friends.

Still I haven’t ask my 10+ years friends for financials help yet because… I know they also have their family to support. I really want to ask them as last recourse.

Now I am in debt, plan to start paying back in January (9 months from now) and it is good pressure. Pressure that tell you “people who love are trusting you with your project, do not disappoint them, do not do shit, do not easily give up”.

  

Entrepreneur Hardship 102 – Not getting the support you expected

 Also the second step of starting your project, once you have the financial more or less sorted-out, is to refine your idea. Bounced it towards the brightest mind of your network, people you trust and admire.

 Something I has not expected and prepared at all for, is to have these people I trust and admire (yeah, they are some kind of mentors I guess) trying to discourage you from being an entrepreneurs…*(see Updates below)

Different reasons I received was:

  • You are too young.
  • You don’t have enough experience. You can keep learning from others’ mistakes.
  • You have no saving.
  • You could benefit so much from working for me.
  • Doing a startup in China is a very difficult market to crack, particularly for a foreigner. Just setting-up the company properly is troublesome.
  • You don’t have a technical co-founder.
  • You are instable and change job too often, are you sure it is the wiser thing to do?

All these reasons are legitimate, but I heard from entrepreneurs testimony and from organizing iWeekend, seeing people moving from corporate job to entrepreneurship is that:

– The earlier you start and fail, the earlier you get better.

– First hand experience is the best.

 If you are interested you will find at the end of this post my answer to each of the above reason but this is not the main reason of this post.

 

1) “Entrepreneurs need a strong support system” – Eric Setton, tango.me CEO

Last year I was lucky enough to meet with tango CEO, Eric Setton when he was visiting China. He wanted to get in touch with my employer but he is also a classmate from Polytechniques (one of the best French Engineering School) of my mentor Leo. So we had lunch and I remember him replying to my colleague when he asked him how supportive was his wife of all his travel and entrepreneur life: “She is very supportive and I need that. Entrepreneurs can not make it without a strong support system”.

And it made me wonder, what when you are single? Are you condemned to fail? Who will encourage you in your low moment?

I haven’t completely test my current support system but yes, you need close entrepreneur friends who can fully understand what you are going through. You need mentors, people you are looking up to who believe in you and push you when you need to be push, listen when you need ot be listen to. The mentor who is doing that for me is in Boston and we mainly exchange by email, but he is doing a great job. And it is quite surprising considering that it is someone I only met face to face for what…maybe 20 days tops!

That’s the thing with connection, if it is someone you have a lot of common with, it doesn’t take time for you to build trust and understand each other.

My advice #1: Surround you of people who are supportive. Know who they are, who are the people you can REALLY rely on, test them even is needed, don’t just make assumption, this is too important.

 

2) “Do not waste your time trying to convince people..” – BenjaminJoffe, CEO at DayDeed.com, mentor at 500Startups

The main reason for this post is to pass to all entrepreneurs out there the best advices that has been given to me in my entire life, an advices that has been given to me when I was meeting people to prepare for the 1st iWeekend Beijing, an advice given to me by Benjamin Joffe, founder of Mobile Monday Beijing and mentor at 500 Startups:

“Do not waste your time trying to convince people who don’t want to be convinced. Just go do your thing! When they will see you moving forward, not giving up and even maybe succeed.. this is when they will challenge their views and this is how you will convince them you were right”.

Action speaks louder than words. Sure you need to be prepared but action is never a waste of time.

Thank you Benjamin.

 

*Updates:

The mentors above mentioned both accepted my choice after a few email exchange and even supported me by saying: “By sticking to your decision you augment your chance of success” and “You do have the #1 quality for an entrepreneur — stubbornness.

That completely made my day! 🙂

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My answers to “Reasons for not starting your business”:

1) You are too young.

This is the excuse old people tell you when they are afraid that younder people do better than them. You are never too young to start great things. Read “Delivering Happiness”, Tony Hsieh started his ventures since he was 6 years old. You are never too young. But you migh get too old (too many responsibilities).

 

2) You don’t have enough experience. You can keep learning from others’ mistakes.

2 different schools of thoughts, I believe you learn much faster from your own mistake. It is definitely beneficial to learn form others but you don’t need to get a job or go to school for that! Just attend a few good “experience sharing” event and read books. This is largely enough.

 

3) You have no saving.

This is a good one. It would have been good to have enough saving for 1 year. But nothing can be perfect from the start and this is the first test of entrepreneurship: how do you cope with unplanned situation? There is always a several possible solutions. The trade off of time vs money is usually is always in the advantage of time. You have lot of different way to get money, you can not get more time. Time should be used to do the only thing you can not get elsewhere: start your thing.

 

4) You could benefit so much from working for me.

Also usually true, particularly if you have 0 work experience and no network, in that case yes, I will advice you to take a 2 years job with a boss you respect and admire and who has a great network.

Personally I already did that, building my network since 2012, you can always get a better network, so that is not what should stop you to start.

 

5) Doing a startup in China is a very difficult market to crack, particularly for a foreigner. Just setting=up the company properly is troublesome.

Well I don’t see a solution to that, if I listen to this reason than I will never start anything in China.

On the opposite many entrepreneurs in China advice you to not worry about being “a proper business” when you start. Just start, test your idea, only when you start getting traction, then start worrying about being established, not before.

 

6) You don’t have a technical co-founder.

I did believe it was a problem 1 year ago and use it as the excuse to not start being an entrepreneur (see https://carolewaihai.com/2-months-reflexion-about-my-entrepreneurship). Truth is, the partner thing was not the problem, the problem was I was not ready, timing was not write. I hightly recommend the TED video in this post “LEADERSHIP – TED dancing guy”, a video that has been recommended to me by Stephen Wang, CTO of alive.cn and iWeekend mentor. I got the idea of what it means last year, I am surprised I didn’t wrote it in my post at that time, so I will do it now.

When you are ready, when you truly believe in something, you have to be capable to be this dancing guy, dancing alone in the view of all, most people will think you are crazy but it doesn’t matter, you goal is to proof you believe in it enough to attract your first follower (your partner), than adapt your dance to him/her, together you will attract more “believers” until you reach a tipping point and everyone want to join your movement.

The most difficult step is to get that, the first believer. But if you don’t believe in yourself, your cause enough to make a fool of yourself, alone, you wont’ be able to attract him/her.

Do not wait to have the perfect co-founder to start. I would be living a life without dating anyone but waiting for the one you want to marry. Well you need to test may people for you to know what you really want.

If the co-founder thing is what stop you that just mean you are not ready and it is FINE. Take your time. When you will be ready, not having a co-founder to start will not stop you, because you will have faith that he/she will turn in sooner or later.

 

7) You are instable and change job too often, are you sure it is the wiser thing to do?

This reason came from someone who is not familiar with entrepreneurship and spent his whole life being a public servant. Well guess what dad, times are different now!

People who love you can sometimes not relate to you and because of that, they can not give you good advices. You know better what is the best for you, I will always advices my friends “do not stay in a job you hate is that trade off do not worth it”. If what you will gain by staying is not crystal clear for you, run!

Who cares how long you stayed a Morgan Stanley? Do not conform, be unique, write you won story. As long as you can justify every each of your action, you will be fine^^.

Posted in Being an entrepreneur | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Vulnerability is not weakness: Mastering Shame.

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Just watched this TED speech from Brene Brown and I can not agree more with her.
I wrote before 2 reasons for this blog:??
But since I wrote the HOG tale, I found a 3rd reason for this blog, a more self-serving reason:
3) Exposing my vulnerability under my own condition so it can not hurt me anymore. Being stronger.

And it worked very well. I am surprised there are not more people doing it around me. There several blog from Silicon Valley – entrepreneurs- who does it has well, below is a selection of my favorite/ most vulnerable post I read from entrepreneurs. They all helped me a lot:

So today, for the sake of being stronger I will share with you my most shameful experience, but also tricks I used to overcome shame.

My personal most shameful experience.
You know you sometimes play this game with your close friends asking each other what was the most humiliating /??shameful??moment of your life, I did with several people and to tell the truth it is always a struggle, not to tell the story so much, but to know what is the most shameful moment. Truth is I worked hard from junior high to learn to not be ashamed of anything. Still, let me try to digg out some stories.

What is your dad's name?
I was in primary school, my parent just splited but I was not that upset about it. I visit my dad only on weekend every 2 weeks and never felt really close to him as he is very… introvert? He never say what he feel, what he think, it is very difficult to feel close to him. So I for a long time consider him like a stranger. A stranger that I love and who love me, but a stranger. Event today I have no idea what is his??favorite??movie, color… Don't know too much personal things about him.??
Anyway, I was 8 in my English class and we were learning to say : " My dad is called ___." So one of my classmate dad was called Bernard, she said "My dad is called Bernard", then another one said "My dad is called Jackie." And then it was my turn and I was very self conscious to say my dad's name (Ah Kam) because it is Chinese and doesn't mean anything in French, is very uncommon and I don't know, I was new in this school and I didn't wanted to be weird!??There was this very popular French kid show at that time called Club Dorothee and whose 3 main male hosts where called Bernard, Jackie and Corbier (this is a very uncommon name!).??So when my turn came I say:" My dad name is…heu… Corbier!" and the all class laugh and the teacher loked angry but didn't say anything. I felt like I escaped the humiliation but when the class was over and I went out, I hear someone saying behind me "She doesn't even know her dad's name!" and I felt really hurt.
It is a very stupid story and it can only make sense in my twisted subconscious but it is by far, the most shameful memory I have.

All other shameful moment I can recall are very anecdotic: my boyfriend surprising me picking my nose, all the time I have blood stains on my pants, being super smelly around people…
How do I deal with it? I don't. I feel super ashamed when I realize it and I brainwash my memory, pretend nothing happened.

You may wonder, what about my nervous breakdown of last year? Well to tell the truth I am more proud of it than ashamed so, not the place to talk about it here. But will write a longer post about this experience soon!

How do you learn to be less shameful?
Well you just have to learn to not care what other people think.??

1) You can modify your physical appearance against any social norms.
In primary school I started by cutting my hair very short for the first time (do it very often now, I am more of a short hair person).
The first month I arrived in China I actually shaved my head, for several months. I was inspired by V for Vendetta and I wanted to live in a spiritual world, really not worried about my appearance. Worked very well.

2) Have some role model, people you admire for being shameless.
I watch 30 rock and take Liz Lemon as a Role Model of shamelessness. Also heard that Dave McClure has been proudly named "the worst-dressed angel of Silicon Valley". Never talked to him but follow a bit what he does and he seems like a very cool guy.

3) Get away from people who care too much about their appearance and what other people think.
Best way is to stay away from these people, because they are always the one who wants you to conform. I don't say don't be friend with them, just don't put them in your inner circle of people you take advices from.

4) Listen to Brene Brown speech

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame.html

What about you? What are your most shameful moments, how do you deal with shame? I'd love to hear your tricks~

Later I will write about my experience of how I use the fact that being a women I am allowed to be vulnerable according to society standards and how I can get unfair advantages^^.
If the system is unperfect/stupid… use it until you change it!
Posted in Being a woman, Being an entrepreneur, Values | Tagged | Leave a comment

You build your life upon people you meet~

I was so busy last week, no time to write a new blog post but thought I post this text I wrote in 2010, just before I started organizing iWeekend and after I volunteered for Shanghai Expo representing my hometown. I spent one week doing this mission and met amazing people, including one of my most important mentor Leo. This article was the closing one of a serie describing the volunteering experience. Some day I will translate it^^.

La route se forge au gr?? des rencontres.



Une semaine apr??s mon retour de Shanghai, je r??alise avec surprise que ??a y est, la quinzaine r??unionnaise est d??j?? termin??e! Je me mets alors finalement ?? mon article de cloture de mon exp??rience de m??diatrice ?? l???Expo 2010. La conclusion en est simple: la route se forge au gr?? des rencontres.

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De retour ?? P??kin j???ai contact?? un des ami dont je n???avais pas eu de nouvelles depuis 2 semaines pour apprendre qu???il a quitt?? son job ???apr??s avoir ??t?? inspir?? par moi???. J???ai moi m??me quitt?? mon boulot apr??s 2 ans et demi dans la m??me bo??te, sans avoir trouv?? de nouveau job. Je me demandais si c?????tait raisonnable??? et je ne pensais surtout pas que ??a inspirerait qui que ce soit!!

J???ai juste senti que c?????tait le moment pour moi d???essayer quelque chose de nouveau, ayant quelques sous de c??t?? je ne me suis pas trop inqui??t??e et me suis dite que j???allais profiter de l?????t?? et penser au boulot en Septembre. Et c???est ce que j???ai fait: j???ai profit?? ?? fond de mes amis et parents qui ??taient en visite en Chine, j???ai voyag?? dans des villes chinoises qui m?????taient encore inconnues et j???ai particip?? ?? la quinzaine r??unionnaise de l???Expo.

Il parait que ce que l???on appelle la chance n???est que la rencontre entre la pr??paration et l???opportunit??. Et si ta vie actuelle ne te plait pas, il n???y a pas de meilleure pr??paration au changement que de se rendre disponible et ouverte aux nouvelles opportunit??s. Celles-ci arrivent avec les gens que tu rencontres, en ??tant curieuse de leur vie et de se qui les passionne.

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J???ai eu la chance de partager une semaine ?? Shanghai avec des r??unionnais au profil et aux aspirations diff??rentes: faire plaisir ?? ses enfants, trouver un d???emploi, une vocation, monter sa start-up, faire fleurir son commerce, commencer une nouvelle vie dans un nouveau pays. Mais ils avaient tous en commun cette passion qui les poussent ?? avancer, ?? exp??rimenter de nouvelles choses. Et rien n???est plus communicatif que la passion.

Je suis ressortie de cette semaine ?? Shanghai motiv??e ?? bloc et pr??te ?? comqu??rir le monde. Aujourd???hui je partage mon temps entre 3 projets: un travail ?? temps partiel dans mon ancienne bo??te, l???apprentissage du chinois et l???organisation ?? P??kin d???un ??v??nement qui me passionne: le iWeekend (incubateur de start-ups internet).

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Des fois il faut faire confiance ?? la vie, faire ce que tes trippes te disent et au moment voulu toutes tes actions pass??es prendront sens. Les inconnus que tu rencontreras sur ta route deviendront des amis et apporteront des r??ponses aux questions que tu ne savais m??me pas te poser.

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Pour cela j???aimerai d??di?? ce message ?? toute l?????quipe de la premi??re semaine ?? Shanghai: Mickael, Charlotte, Mathieu, Julien, Aline, Laurence, Bruno, Ga??lle, Nicolas et surtout L??onide. Merci pour cette semaine inoubliable et l???inspiration que vous m???avez apport??. Je vous souhaite de r??aliser vos r??ves et de toujours en faire de nouveaux !

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Posted in Being an expat, Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why do you like helping others? The Superman syndrome

Why do YOU do it?

– You reached a stage in life where you know how to be happy and understand that happiness is the only thing that when shared, it multiplied (I read that somewhere^^). In order to sustain your own happiness in society you better invest in making more people around you happy. You create a virtuous cycle in order to protect your own happiness.

– You are unhappy with yourself, unable to save yourself. Probably you don???t want to face your own problem. Helping others give you a sense of mission and a quick fix to the emptiness of your life. It is a good way to boost your self-esteem and it can help you reach the next step.

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I did both scenario in life. To tell the truth I have always had wave of sadness since I was very little and never understand why or how to fight it. It grew bigger as I grew up, wave of sadness and melancholy turned into month of chronic depression I had (have?) every year.

So ever since I was a child I had this will to save the world. It is hard to explain but I will try. >From that early age I called it the Superman syndrome (you basically want to be superman!).

??

I remember once I was about 14 y old taking the public bus and one guy was drunk and/or high and verbally harassing a teenager. I was terrified but wanted to do something. Then an older big black woman seating in the back of the bus started yelling at him, stuff like ???leave him alone or I am going to kick your ass???. The drunk guy first turned his aggressiveness towards her and started threating her, but it didn???t stop her or scared her at all. She kept yelling to leave people alone and to get out. Which he eventually did, swearing at her. The bus was half full but no-one else did or say anything. I thought she was awesome and that some day I will be like her.

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When in college I tried to save someone once but also learn, you cannot save people who are not ready to save themselves.

I was living in an international student residence in Paris when one day my neighbour friend called me to tell me a Chinese girl needed my help. I didn't know her but because I was organizing these Chinese French language exchange meeting my friend thought I might be the best person to talk to her. She was about my age, 22 or something, came to France to study, failed her exams, her visa expired but she stayed illegally in France because it was too much losing face for her parents who spent so much money to send her to France. She couldn???t enrol to any university as she was here illegally and had recently been going from Student residence to other student residence to ask help from student who would be willing to host her. So I offered to host her for 3 days. She told me her story that she tried working in restaurant but it didn't feat her, then she met this man who offered to help her and let her live with him. Then he abused her sexually but when she went to the police they didn't took her seriously so she left and here she was. It was a very disturbing story for a na??ve student like me at the time so I tried hard to help her, contacting female shelter, the embassy to see if they would pay for her flight back, went to the post office to check how much it would cost to send her stuff back to China ??? and offered to pay!!- until we find a solution for her own flight. But quickly I realize, she had no intention to go back to China, and also didn't wanted to do any work of any kind. She claimed she wanted to be a radio host and be taken care of by??? I don't know..people. So after she refused to go to the female shelter or to contact the embassy I kicked her out and she looked at me crying and saying ???if I leave your place I will have to stay at this other boy???s place and I will have to have sex with him???. I just told her ???Good luck???. She actually tricked at least 2 other of my friends into helping her for about 1 month until they realized she was more using them then anything else. Today I have no idea where she ended up but watched the Chinese movie Pingguo.??She probably either died either met a nice guy who really did take care of her. For me it was a good lesson.

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With time I realized I am not the only one to have the Superman Syndrome. Guys do it when they date super needy girls (it works also the other way around). One friend once told me about his ex-girlfriend that she was like ???a lost soul that life had been unfair to and this led to a sense of responsibility for protecting her and making her happier than before she had met me???.

And he is not the only I know who ever felt this way.

The truth is you can only save yourself and it is everyone responsibility to save themselves. At best you can only be a guiding light or a motivation for them to initiative their own rescue.

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If there is one thing I learn form watching Baywatch (yes I did watch Baywatch when I was young and I did learn something). There was this episode where David Hasselhoff, dive into the water to save a drowning woman and ends up under a bridge in the water, surrounded with pillars. The water is pretty wild and he remember in his lifeguard training that in that case you are suppose to use the rescue as a shield to protect you when you are projected by the waves towards the pillar. But he thinks it is an horrible manner so when he get projected he took the shock and fall unconscious for a few seconds. Long enough for him to drop the woman and lost her forever. Then he has to deal with the guilt of letting her down by not being able to protect himself. You have to be strong, alive and conscious before being able to save others. If helping others make you weak, well you are probably not saving anyone.

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So how to save yourself?

I listen to a few NLP classes??(neuro-linguistic programming, practice close to hypnosis you can use on yourself to build a positive environment in your life. Also inspire the book The Secret ??? that I haven???t read but heard more bad than good feedbacks about it).Anyway, in this class, the trainer explains how amazingly efficient the human mind can be in self destruction. For example you are stressed for one reason, so you start smoking more and more, so your health get worse, so you get more tired and more sensitive to stress ect??? But the good news is that it works also the other way, you receive a good news, are in a good mood, so be nice to people who are kind back at you, it creates new opportunities and more occasion to be happy.

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So I did it. Helping others to help me. I did it to boost my self esteem when I just arrived in China and enrolled in a 9-weeks program to teach English to migrant Children. I had to wake up at 7 am and take the bus for 1 hour every Saturday morning but it totally worth it. These migrant kids live in terrible conditions (terrible to me, it seems fine to them) and are so unaware of it and they are all excited when they see you arriving, welcome you with a smile, super happy to go to class on a Saturday morning (as their parents usually work they would otherwise stay alone at home I guess). I had a wonderful time and kept being unrolled in another program that required less commitment. It is called Open Saturday when you can come any Saturday you like to keep an eye on the kids teach them whatever you want: sport, music, drawing, English??? if you are interested in doing similar thing I would recommend you Compassion for Migrant Children, active NGO in Beijing and other cities. Their training program for volunteer is really well made and they make sure you have all the support you need, meet with other great volunteers…

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And today I help others because I feel strong enough and wish to create a virtuous cycle around me. I am enrolled in iWeekend,??a non-profit that help entrepreneurs realize their dream. The audience is not underprivileged kids but it is as important because it is helping people who are or were unhappy in their job to find a way out. Helping them be their own boss. And create job for themselves and others.

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We all need an ego boost from time to time, but don???t trick yourself into trying to save other. Just give them support and focus on helping yourself. Only this way are you really helping building a better a world. People who really want to get out of their situation will pro-actively come to learn from you. Others might not be ready yet but it is their life and you have to respect that.??

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If you are the smarter one, you are the one who have to make the effort.

I use to say that to my friends more and more when they enter in conflict with someone and suffer from it. “If you are the smarter one, you are the one who have to make the effort”. It is unfair but it is the way it is.

 

Ex: My friend Shelly and her mother in law. Her mother in law is very cheap towards her and her newborn child. But at the same time, she want my friend to love her. Shelly has a very strong character so she is very tough toward her mother in law (who live with her and her husband) and things go very wrong. She knows she is the one who should do the effort and take on her.

 

Ex 2: Me and my boss. We had a big fight and I have been very passive aggressive – not saying hi for instance, silence treatment… But I know I will be the first one to say “I am sorry and I forgive you. Hope you can forgive me“. Even if he is the one who fire first.

 

I employ the word smart loosely here. I don’t think anyone is smarter than anyone. I think society wrongly make us believe that having strong technical skill (in math,, physics..) is what smart is. I don’t agree. 

People who can not read and write can be super smart. You can be smart at dancing, smart at theatre, smart at drawing, smart at reading people, smart at understanding yourself. It has nothing to do with sciences. There is this theory about multiple intelligences. I think this is what is closer to the truth.

 

So when I say here “If you are smarter” I really mean “if you can see things the other person can not see”. We all have a unique vision of thing. Hard to expect others to see the same. If you have time you can seat down and try to teach them. But all ideas are like a seed, like Inception. You can plant it in someone’s mind but it will take time for them to totally get it. But they will. 

 

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Ender’s Game teaching

 

Sometimes you meet the right person at the righ timing but they are not ready.

They are stuck in their own world (like in Inception), protecting themselves from others. Maybe they got hurt too bad.

That is when the choice come to you:

       Do you wanna get stuck with them and spend your all life on their side, being a quick fix at a too big pain for you to fix. If you take this choice you cannot quit because that would be the coup de grâce that will put them down for good.

       Are you gonna be courageous enough to leave them behind, build a better world and let them benefit from it with the mass. They will never know you did it all for them. You will live a life of great accomplishments and great rewards but in your personal life you might never find the person who understand you 100%. Like in Ender’s Game, you sacrifice yourself for the one you love (his sister).Only second did he do it for the world.

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Lin, Zuck, Obama : 3 hot guys, 3 game changers

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I wrote this post after reading today’s article from Douglas Rushkoff for CNN (see below link).

 

Their common point? Part of minority, maybe even disregard by others. That teach you tolerance. Also being multi-cultural, you already get exposed to opposite view and values, you learn realize that they are not one right, one wrong, just one that you prefer.

You learn to be curious about other people? Do they also feel out of place? Because you are curious, you take more risk, to talk to people, reveal yourself and you learn faster.

For Zuck there is maybe no ethnical factor, jew in an Ivy league school, maybe nothing too special. But he is a hacker. Like Hacker and Painter from Paul Graham he must have feel different form the “cool kids”. But Hackers, like Honey badgers, don’t give a sh*t. What is important for them is to understand the world, not that the world love them.

With time Zuck softer his character and probably learn that if he is faster than other in understanding things, he can not expect from them to go as fast as him. He is the one who should adapt. See my post “If you are the smarter one,you are the one who have to make the effort”. 

My favorite part of the articles: 

[…]Yet it also evokes the spirit of our current era — one in which networks and connections are coming to matter more than individual skill or personal gain.

>> One of my colleague at nciku, Dan Ciez, taugh me a lot when I work there. We didn’t always get along but the most important thing he taugh me was “You shouldn’t waste time trying to be good at something you suck. Just find people who are good at it and work with them. Focus on YOUR strength”.

And I understand it even more when I read Michael Porter article “What is Strategy?”. What maybe you number one, is not being the best at your field. It is being the best at your field and work the other best at their fields.

We all have limited time, we can not be good at everything. So just let it go. Individual skill is not competitive enough today, today is about individual skill + quality of your network.

 

These are not the kind of people we traditionally think of as heroes in sports, technology, and politics. Compare Jeremy Lin, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama to, say, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, and Bill Clinton. Jordan, Jobs, and Clinton were stars in their own right. Their campaigns and their victories were about themselves. It was Jordan who made the dunks, Jobs who showed us the iPhone, and Clinton who made his presidency about himself. Lin, Zuckerberg, and Obama, on the other hand, are rather underwhelming as tribal leaders. They are leaders of the Net generation, who owe their power to the networks they can catalyze.

 

 I also hope to be this kind of person. That is why I want to start my company. More on that later.


Zuckerberg’s greatest liability is the possibility that the people actually energizing Facebook — those of us who use it to connect — begin to suspect that his company and shareholders matter more than us. Once it feels like we’re creating more value for him than he is for us, we’re out.

 

 >> That is the danger. Always put your user first and I think Zuck Open letter replied to this critics. But you are so far from your users, they will keep being suspicious. My best friend (who is anti-facebook) send me this comic below. Funny but this is what anti-facebook people think. They are not sure how, but they think they are being used.

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For me I have never been a big fan of the plot theory. If someone throw  free party but use my name to make people come. In exchange I get free booze… I am happy 🙂

 

Reference articles:

Lin, Zuckerberg, Obama: New kind of heroes?, Douglas Rushkoff, CNN, 2012/02/17

Zuckerberg’sletter to investors, REUTERS, (2012/02/01)

 

 Also to read:

Obama “The audacity to hope” – that is when I really start loving Obama.

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