05 May 2016

Chinese and Western Mindsets - How the date format tell us

The Date Formats:
What's the difference between the Chinese and the Western Mindsets?

You can easily tell from the way they write their dates...

The West: Day - Month - Year.

The Chinese: Year - Month - Day.

Western Mindset
West mindset works from the details, from data to hypothesis to laws, from symptoms to root causes. It is method of induction. From specific to generalization. From ground level to helicopter view. 

The danger is to be trapped at the surface level, seeing the trees without the forest and going around in circle.

Chinese Mindset

The Chinese mindset is from top to bottom, the eagle view to the ground. From principles to particular behavior. From root causes to observable behaviors. 

The danger is not coming down to the details and stay at the good and high sounding ideals without real practical usefulness.

The Solution
The solution is not taking the mid point as a fixed concept, like the US date format of Month-Day-Year.

But rather, the ability to think and go both ways, from top to bottom and from bottom top according to where we find ourselves. For a start, take the high level view of mission, visions and values. For implementation, work out the details and specifics, with clear measures to monitor progress, to validate the plans. At the same time, always have an eye for the wider and bigger view that we may not trapped by the details and miss the changing trends of the our environment.

So back to the US date format. If we think of it as a iterative thinking process, rather than a fixed format, then we get the right idea. The year is obvious, so we mention the month first, and then the specific day, but at the same time, remember that we must look at the context, so we go up the levels to be back at the year.

That's a key teaching of Sun Zi's Art of War. After listing the 5 key factors, he goes into the details of asking, so where are we? How do we measured up?

True Chinese mindset not just one-way of top to bottom but rather like taught by Sun Zi, is principles centered flexibility---- converting threats into opportunities and avoiding the risks in the opportunities.

So, are you Western thinker or a Chinese thinker?

The right answer is both, depending on the situation.

Principles and values are fixed but the methods and implementation must be adaptable to the situations of time, plae and people.

Lim Liat (c) 5-5-2016

Some friend in Facebook also pointed out the similar pattern in the name. In the West, the order is given-name, middle-name and then family name. For the Chinese, the family name comes first and then the given name and a generation-name (generation-name comes from a family poem or a family history book. The generation name can be the middle name or sometimes the 3rd name). From broad to narrow is the Chinese mindset.

16 April 2016

The Simple Key to Mastering Your World & Increase Your Power According to GuiGuZi

Finding the door way or the switch of anything, and of anyone, and then mastering the key to open or close the door is the simple principle to master yourself and get things done through others.
According to Ancient Sage GuiGuZi, who was the teacher of prime ministers and generals during the China Warring Period, there is only one simple universal way (dao) in mastering life. That is the way of open and close. In whatever, you must first find this door-way and then obtain the key to open and close this door. Once you hold this key, or in modern term, the switch, then you can turn anything or anyone on or off according to you wish. The world, or at least your world, is under your control.

At first, I thought he was exaggerating a bit. However, consider the devil, who surely knows the people weaknesses and tendencies, and hence is able to easily tempt people to sin .... getting them to sin by their own will!

Now, back to us, how do we apply such wisdom in our life?

Firstly, let's find out our own switches
What things will get our nerves and cause us to do impulsive things? What are our greed that are easy for people to lure us? Know how we can be manipulated? How much do you know about the switches in others? Can you help them manage such switches instead of passing control to others and even to the devil?
Back to your business, what are the critical choke points ?
What keep you awake at night?
How can you manage those switches and door-ways so that you are not the mercy of anyone or even the external factors such as weather, bird flu, SARS etc.

Open-Close is more than Yin-Yang
Most people confuse GuiGuZi open-close as Yin-Yang. Yes, open-close is a subset of the yin-yang concept. But it has much deeper meaning, as pointed out above. Firstly, it is about finding the switches or door-ways of any systems... the root causes, the key resources, etc. Secondly, it is about how to control the door-ways, to open or to close it.

One more thing,
you must know how to open or close it properly. Three key words are introduced by GuiGuZi. 周 complete 密 tight 微 fine details/precision. If we open it, to start a business, to show ourselves or our services, it must be complete ... ie no defects nor blemishes. If we want to close it, it must be tight, i.e. no leakages (e.g. security of information). How can we know? It is all in the fine details. In fact, it is in the small things that we expose ourselves. It is in the little things about others that we can detect the true intentions. Such are the powerful teachings of Gui Gu Zi. Do you want to know more?
See http://mind-value.blogspot.sg/p/v-sun-zi-and-other-strategists-gui-gu.html

Lim Liat (c) 16 April 2015