快乐妈妈的十个良好习惯(下)

七,用健康的方式去爱和被爱


这一章是我最想写却一直不敢下笔的一个话题。“爱和被爱”听上去如此温馨,浪漫,简单,自然而且….容易。但是事实上却不是这样的。如何用健康和有意义的方式去爱和被爱是世界上最难的事情。作为母亲,我们就是爱的化身,然而,我们却在一遍一遍拷问自己:“我这样爱对吗?”因为我们怕我们的爱的方式会耽误甚至伤害我们的孩子,我们怕我们是一个失败的母亲。

俗话说:“血浓于水。”父母对孩子的爱是和情人与夫妻之间的爱有所不同的,孩子无法挑选他们的父母,当他们降生到这个世界上,他们什么都不用做,我们就会疯狂地爱上他们;不管我们来自哪里,长什么样,做什么工作,有钱没钱,我们的孩子也将一生一世地爱我们。彼此一无所求就坠入爱河,这难道不是人世间最美妙的爱吗?

然而,这样彼此一无所求到底能够持续多长时间呢?我们渐渐开始感受痛苦,因为我们的爱开始有条件了。当我们的孩子渐渐长大,我们希望孩子学业优秀考上重点大学因为我们自己没有这个机会,我们希望孩子身体健康苗条匀称因为我们自己已经中年发福腿疼脚疼,我们希望孩子只看书不碰电子游戏因为我们自己离不开手机。我们把我们自己的梦想和希望像种子一样地种到我们孩子的身上,我们说这都是为他们好,他们小不懂事我们需要帮他们规划人生,但是事实上,我们是否真正倾听过孩子自己想要什么,想要成为什么,我们把我们对他们的期待一点点地融入到爱当中,爱开始变得不那么纯粹了……

想象一下:到我们老了,腿脚不灵便了,我们对儿女的期待就更高了,如果他们稍微有照顾不周的地方,我们就会心里就会不舒服甚至发怒,我们甚至会像鹰一样在他们身上看到各种缺点和私心,我们自悲自恋,觉得不公平,因为给出去的爱没有像在银行存钱一样得到连本加利的返还。到这个时候,这种期待和爱的混合体已经变成一个心魔来折磨我们,让我们痛苦焦虑和绝望……

对孩子有期待是无可厚非的,但是难就难在怎么把期待和爱当做两件事对待?还是小孩的时候,我曾经最恐惧的事情就是“如果不听话妈妈就不爱你了”,为了让妈妈一直爱我,我一定要乖,懂事,给爸妈争气,在学校听老师的话,成绩名列前茅,不撒谎,不给爸妈惹麻烦,妈妈嘱咐的家务一定不能忘,晚上按时回家,路上见了叔叔阿姨一定要打招呼,等等等等,任何一个疏忽,都可能惹妈妈不高兴,她对我的爱就可能会少一点点…… 直到有一天我长大了,我才彻底明白,从今以后,不管我做什么,我爸妈都会一直爱我,我这种恐惧才渐渐消失。成为母亲之后,在孩子们淘气犯错误的时候,即使我再生气,我也会不止一次地告诉他们:“你刚才的行为让我很失望,但是我还是非常非常爱你。”

从现在直到离开这个世界,我们能否一直用我们自己的方式让我们的孩子明白,“我对你有期待。但是,不管你成为一个什么样的人,做什么,我都会一如既往地爱你。”

八,简单地生活


我们扮演的多重社会角色注定让我们不断地受来自不同方向的声音左右,被各种各样的人所需要,如果我们不能清楚自己的需求,你生活中最重要的东西是什么和自己想走的路,我们只能被动地受形形色色的外力所牵制,被每天涌现的新的问题、新的机会、新的信息、新的选择所控制。简单的生活来自于与自己进行深层的心灵对话:“我为什么存在于这个世界?”这是一个需要花很长时间回答的问题,需要大量的思考,对话,聆听和深层次的反思。

我两个月之前刚刚搬到新加坡的时候一度陷入焦虑当中,原因是事情太多太杂太繁重我感觉完全无法应付。我一睁眼就开始像陀螺一样旋转,晚上十点不到我就眼皮打架小腿灌铅了。我开始和老公赌气嫌他除了上班啥都不管,我开始对孩子们感到失望因为他们到处扔东西,我甚至开始抱怨新加坡怎么这么热每天都要洗两次澡还要洗这么多衣服。从这本书中我学到了一些非常实用的方法,帮助我从这种焦虑中解脱出来:

按照书上推荐的方法,我拿出一张纸,洋洋洒洒地写了十几个我认为重要的东西,包括保持健康的身体,控制体重,照顾好家人,稳定的收入,探索新加坡,精进地学习和分享知识,实现事业上的个人梦想,成为更好的即兴表演者,在自家阳台学习种菜,让自己的家干干净净漂漂亮亮…然后我开始给它们进行归类排序,留下四个最重要的:照顾好家人,稳定的收入,精进地学习和分享知识,实现事业上的个人梦想,这四个需求互相关联,就像桌子的四个腿一样支撑着我。我甚至做了一张白板贴在墙上,上面划分了四个区域写上我的四个角色:1,妈妈和妻子;2,创业者;3,有收入的实践者;4,学习和分享者。我把我每一个要完成的任务都分门别类写在上面。家务活和锻炼身体就成了每小时的“下课时间”,而不会成为负担。每过一段时间我就会回顾一下,看看是否需要在所花时间和比重上做一些调整。其他的兴趣和爱好有时间就满足一下,没时间就不强求了。

如果我们诚实地面对自己从而简化自己的生活,我们也同样把这个道理用在我们的孩子身上,每天少花些功夫载着孩子在奥数课钢琴课芭蕾课英语课之间急急忙忙跑接力赛;我们也同样把这个道理用在我们的工作上,问问自己是否真正热爱这份工作,如何更有效地完成工作,如何在该说“不”的时候勇敢地关上手机或离开办公室;我们也同样把这个道理用在家庭的开支上,和身边不需要的物品断舍离,让无目的逛街和网淘从每天的生活中渐渐消失……刚开始会有很多不适应甚至家人会抱怨,但是相信我,”断舍离“的简单生活方式给你带来的愉悦和满足会远远超过“多忙挤”,一旦克服各种不适甩开步子走起来,这就是一条快乐的不归路。

九,与恐惧面对面。


首先我要先老实承认,我曾经是个轻度“担忧狂想症”患者。我一面鼓励孩子一个人走路去上学,一面却在家里东想西想直到打电话到学校证实他安全到达;孩子稍微有个头晕脑胀,我就联想到各种脑瘤脑疾上网乱查资料或赶快带他去看医生。我身边的妈妈们没有一个不对孩子的健康过度担忧的,如果我们把担忧这件事深入解刨,就会发现里面最深的根源来自于我们自己的恐惧:恐惧孩子身上万一发生什么三长两短,我们就会孤独心碎,我们的生命会完全失去意义;恐惧孩子如果人生不顺利甚至走上歪道,我们就会失去他们的爱甚至失去他们。我看到过因为这种恐惧对孩子进行全方位监控的家长,也有因为这种恐惧对孩子百依百顺的母亲,但是这些行为不但不会帮到自己的孩子,反而把孩子越推越远。很多家长的这种极端行为背后是有原因的,要么自己就是在这种高压管制的家庭中长大,要么就是自己根本没有时间陪孩子,要么就是父母离异心中感觉到亏欠孩子,要么就是之前有养育孩子失败的经历不愿再次承受那样的痛苦…… 原因百人百样,但是如果不能分清楚自己恐惧的来源,我们就不能有勇气面对恐惧,因为我们不可能和我们看不见的对手对抗。

恐惧是一种情感,但是绝大多数的人都会把它深深地藏起来,当我们遇到危险是,我们的战术往往是“非战即逃”,我们的恐惧往往会以其他的消极情感呈现出来,比如“愤怒”和“悲伤”。面对恐惧的第一件事就是把恐惧从这些消极情感里面剥离出来。一种简单的方法就是问自己五个甚至更多“为什么”,我就曾经多次问过我自己为什么经历这么多次失败之后我还是乐此不彼的学习和创业,是怕老公养不了我给自己增加点儿收入?还是为了通过一些丰功伟绩证明自己的身份和价值?尤其是第二个问题,这几年我一直在拷问自己,“如果没有那么多的事业、经历、荣誉和知识点缀自己,我是否会因此觉得自己一文不值?”渐渐地,答案自己浮出水面:“不断地学习和创造不光是为了事业的成功,我是一个人,一个母亲,我需要不断努力成熟自己的心智、耕耘自己的德行,提高自己的技能,在此基础我才能更好的照顾和引导我的孩子,只有在修身和立家的基础上,我才可能通过我的创造影响更多的人。”

我家小丹曾经非常怕学习中文,我教给他一个方法:“把这个恐惧想象成一个大妖怪,你唯一能够战胜它的方法就是和它面对面直盯着它的眼睛,你每朝他走一步,他就会变得小一点,当你走得离它很近的时候,它就变得和蚂蚁一样大了。”我还鼓励小丹把这个妖怪画出来贴在墙上。当他通过自己的努力,不太怕中文的时候,他就重新画一张妖怪,直到有一天他开心地告诉我妖怪消失了,不用再画了。

这些认识还只是开始,如果我们忽视了对自己生命的觉察,恐惧会像一个对我们少年派电影中那个虎视眈眈的老虎一样随时扑过来,所以这是一场持久战。

十,永远,永远,都不要放弃希望!


我的外婆年轻的时候因为保护自己的孩子与丈夫一刀两断,独自用每月二十多元的工资抚养四个孩子并赡养着自己的婆婆。她每次讲起这些故事我都会流泪,不是因为她和她的孩子们曾经受了多少苦多少委屈,而是因为她不管经历过多少煎熬,从来没有放弃她对生活的希望,她坚信她的孩子们一定会过上好的生活,一定会比她更幸福,更能干,更能把握自己的命运。她的自信和正能量鼓舞着她的子孙,让我从她身上和我母亲身上学会了自强自立和坚韧不拔。

当我们被黑暗笼罩,我们就变成了盲人,睁大眼睛也不知道往哪里走。无数的母亲垂泪灯下怀疑自己是否还有能力把孩子抚养成人或引入正道,生活是否还有什么可以继续下去的动力。小时候我们知道黑暗过去就是黎明,严冬过去就是春天,但是当我们渐渐长大我们开始历死亡、疾病、衰老、破产、欺骗、妻离子别,所有这些痛苦、艰辛和摧残都让我们离希望越来越远。前几年因为我决定终止一个创业项目,我的合作伙伴带着对我的不满卷款消失。这件事给我造成了很大影响,我曾经一度无法直面其他创业机会,无法再次信任任何创业合伙人。但是渐渐地我从这个阴影中走了出来,因为我意识到虽然躲在阴影里使我感到安全,但是如果我继续待在那里将一事无成。阴影外面的世界虽然充满未知,但是那里也是希望所在。

我喜欢的一句歌词“那些无法摧毁我的,只能让我更坚强”,它让我意识到,爱这个世界还是怀疑或者憎恨这个世界,完全是我们自己的选择,希望往往就是一个决定,它对我们意味着:未来一定会更好。如果我们不放弃希望,我们一定会时时惊喜地发现生活有了起色和转变,精神愉悦、身体痊愈、关系改善等等好的东西就会接踵而来。希望让我们活在当下,放眼未来,而不会死拽着过去的错误和遗憾不放手。如果说用积极的态度看待生活是快乐的根本,那么希望就是快乐的动力。

从现在开始,把过去放下,用新的眼光欣赏和感恩生活给予你的一切,学习信任自己,自己爱的人和这个世界,期待好的事情一定会发生,和自己消极的思想划清界限,因为,生活中充满了艰辛和痛苦,我们可以按下“简单模式”的按钮选择消极逃避、埋怨责备甚至攻击伤害,也可以按下“正常模式”的按钮选择爱、信任、原谅、勇气和希望,这完全取决于我们自己。

(后语:如果想要读这本书“快乐母亲的十个良好习惯”,可以在amazon买到,它的作者为Meg Meeker医生,英文版由纽约Ballantine出版社发行,ISBN978-0-345-51806-4)。

 

 

 

 

 

 

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快乐妈妈的十个良好习惯(中)

(前言:本来想一气呵成,把《快乐妈妈的十个良好习惯》的读后感两三个小时写好发出去,没成想思绪万千,笨嘴拙舌,三个小时写了三个“良好习惯”,因为后面有其他事情,只好买了个关子发了个上篇,这次识相一些,直接就来了个中篇。另外,上篇发出去之后反响不错,有读者直接问下篇啥时候出笼,我首先是心中暗喜:“我也是有读者的人啦!” 其次感觉像是拍连续剧,被追剧的观众催着往下拍,简直欲罢不能…… 这就是传说中的创作动力吧!哈哈)

四,对竞争说:对不起,咱们不约!

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前两天听几个妈妈聊天,一个妈妈说她家孩子课外辅导班的老师不够负责任,对孩子没有耐心,敷衍了事,孩子提起去辅导班就头疼。我就问那你干嘛还要送孩子去那里啊?她说别人都送孩子去参加辅导班呀!不去赶不上其他孩子怎么办。这样的抱怨和无奈估计不在少数。我也曾经目睹过送孩子去参加小小创客马拉松活动的家长们最后为了得到第一,把孩子推到一边,爸爸妈妈一起赤膊上阵,彼此一争高下。我们生活在竞争的环境里,从小就在培养自己的竞争力,生怕自己落在后面,有了孩子之后更怕自己的孩子“输在起跑线”。不管有意识还是无意识,我们都在和别人(包括认识和不认识的人)比较,工作中,生活中,甚至在高速公路上和健身房里,暗暗地使劲一争高下。但是现实是残酷的:不管你怎么使劲,总有比你技高一筹或条件更好的人,这时候有人往往会产生一些负面情绪:嫉妒,恨铁不成钢,自暴自弃,怨天尤人… 而这些负面情绪伤害最深的人不是你嫉妒或者怨恨的人,他往往就是你自己和你的家人与孩子,因为“嫉妒是一瓶毒药,自己喝下去,却希望别人被毒死”。

我们每个人都经历过这些负面情绪,能做到的不是自责或者责备他人或者社会,而是通过正面的言语或行动去消解它。有一次我一个朋友悄悄分享给我她“调教“老公的秘诀:“如果你想让你老公在家里多做家务,就在他做了那些家务后不停地赞美他。”不光每个人喜欢被赞美,而且赞美别人的人也会“口有余香”。下次如果你发现你暗暗地在嫉妒某一个人,就试着从内心深处赞美她,在和别人谈论她的时候赞美她那些让你嫉妒的优点,慢慢地你就可以用仁慈和包容去化解这些嫉妒和怨恨,如果你实在做不到这些,那就找些机会帮助她,用仁慈的行动,而不是言语去抵消自己的负面情绪。关心和爱护自己的家人和孩子是容易的,但是帮助自己的“假想敌”确实是一件非常有挑战的事,但是相信我,通过这样的一些行动,我们真正帮助的是我们自己,才能真正学会爱我们自己,平静地接受自己的负面情绪和弱点,不抵触,不夸大,不评判,与他们划清界限,只是觉察,看它们来了,又去了,因为我们不是我们的情绪,我们是驾驭它们的主人。

五,建立一个健康的金钱观

我认识的大部分父母包括我自己都承认他们给孩子买的东西太多了,我们希望用金钱来传达我们对孩子的爱,在我们财力范围内给孩子最好的条件;另一方面,我们也希望通过用金钱抵消我们对孩子的负疚感,“贿赂”孩子,甚至用金钱满足自己和孩子的虚荣。作为母亲,当我们掏出钱包来给孩子买东西的时候,问问自己:我的动机是什么?孩子真的需要吗?还是我只想用它“购买”或换取孩子对我的爱,依赖和信任?

给予孩子我们的一切是当父母的天性,我们根深蒂固地相信,我们孩子的幸福来自于一座宽敞的房子,一部不错的车子,一所人人羡慕的学校,一双最流行的球鞋,我们需要赚更多的钱去创造这些条件让他们更幸福。可是当你问起孩子小时候他最幸福的时刻是什么,他可能会告诉你他和爸爸在公园的地上打滚,和妈妈一起包饺子,一起和爷爷奶奶散步,而不是收到一款最新的手机当生日礼物,或者有最贵的家教帮他辅导功课,这些让他们幸福的事情往往只是亲人的陪伴,只需要很少的金钱成本或者完全免费。

作为母亲,我们的价值远远大于提供给孩子好的衣食住行,他们需要我们无条件地爱他们,和他们谈心,花时间和他们在一起,需要我们在他们迷惑,孤独,无助和被伤害的时候陪伴他们,任何金钱和物质都不可以替代这些需求。有些人会说:“我们也是没有办法,为了谋生啊!”我不否认这确实是事实,把孩子留给爷爷奶奶外公外婆在外面工作挣钱糊口的人很多,确实没有太多选择;但是我也看到,很多人是可以选择的,甚至有些人家里非常富裕,可是夫妻俩为了挣更多的钱或者花掉这些钱,还是把孩子丢给佣人和司机,这些孩子和那些农村的“留守儿童”有什么两样呢?

金钱确实可以让我们感到未来有保障,我们相信现在花很多时间精力赚钱,可以保证我们以后老有所依;但是我们也可以用把这些时间精力花在我们爱的人身上,作为“我和我的家人朋友关系”的一种“投资”,我相信只有我们用一生去真正地爱,生活也会用爱作为回报反哺给我们。我们需要在金钱和亲情之间建立平衡。

六,创造独处的时间

img_4730好些妈妈听到这个会跳起来了:“独处?开什么玩笑?我连睡觉的时间都没有哪里有时间独处?”每个人,不管有多忙,都可以挤出一小段时间独处。仔细检查我们每天的行为,有多少是不做不行的,还有多少是无聊打发时光的,有些人手机不离身,随时拿起来看朋友圈,这些时间拿出来独处一下不好吗?

每天独处一段时间独处确实是保证身心灵的健康以及提供生活质量的保障。好多“超级妈妈”在外人看来精力旺盛,效率极高,生活安排得满满当当井井有条,孩子工作健身美发一样儿都不误。我承认我曾经就是这样的一个“超级妈妈”,可以这样的生活就像一个不断打钩的记事本,整个人就像表盘上永不停息、随时准备完成下一个任务的秒针,日历上写得满满的,一天下来除了累成狗不说,脑子里空空的不知道今天干了些啥“时间都去哪儿啦?”

每天独处让我们从噪音和刺激中撤出来,细腻地体会和体验生活,让我们麻木的内心恢复敏感。每天独处让我们重新面对自己,了解自己的情感,让自己回到自己的中心,而不是被各种外来的声音和需求所左右。就好比竹子,即使它腰弯得再深,也是有根的,和到处随波逐流的浮萍不一样。

独处不需要大片时间,只是静静坐几分钟,发一会呆,到外面走一圈,不看手机不讲话不停音乐,放松一下,反思一下,或者什么都不想。不要觉得独处是件自私的事情,因为只有让我们的身心灵得到休息和安抚,我们才可能去抚慰别人。更不要觉得独处是浪费时间,反过来想一想,当我们不停地告诉这个时间我们有多忙的时候,我们只是在传达:”看看我有多重要,全世界的人都需要我。” 这种忙碌的假象反过来愚弄了我们自己,让我们失去机会静静反思我们一生中几个最重要的问题。

 

 

 

 

 

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快乐妈妈的十个良好习惯(一)

上个月底从图书馆书架上随便抽了一本书《快乐妈妈的十个良好习惯》,没想到读起来之后欲罢不能,读完意犹未尽,不把这本书总结出来给大家感觉亏欠了这位矜矜业业养了四个孩儿又是儿童心理学家作者的人情。

作为研究教育的母亲,我明白“当医生医不了自己的儿,当老师教不了自己的女”的常识,所以才无比敬佩这位作者的分享,虽然是以美国母亲作为蓝本,但分享的东西确实融汇东西,四海皆准的道理。好了,废话少说,以下是重点:

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快乐妈妈的良好习惯一:

1,真正理解你的价值:你比你想象的更重要!

我儿子小丹不只一次的在作文中写到:“我妈妈是全世界最漂亮最漂亮的妈妈!” 每次看完之后,我只是笑笑,把它当做“孩童之言”,并没有进心里去。现在我意识到:对于孩子来说,有三个雷打不动的现实:一,你就是爱;二,孩子需要你;三,成为母亲是一件神圣的事情。

当我们的生命走到尽头,我们希望留下些什么?作为母亲,我用什么让世界稍微好了一点点,我最能力并且终身乐此不疲的一件事就是给予我的孩子更多的爱,让他们学习正直,仁慈,自律和包容,教他们学会如何爱自己,在此基础上学会如何爱他人。怎么教?以身作则!我自己如果不会爱自己和爱他人,我永远教不会我的孩子;我自己不懂得正直,仁慈,自律和包容,所有的一切要求孩子的品质都是纸上谈兵。有几点谨记:

  • 每个妈妈都是独特的,她带给她的孩子和她身边的人的影响都是不一样的。找到你身上的最引以为豪的优点,聚焦在那些优点上,花时间和精力让这些优点得到更大的发展和呈现,就像用一个放大镜把他们拿出来分享给世界。
  • “和别人比较”是毒药,比别人好得时候自己洋洋得意虚荣心过剩,不如别人的时候产生嫉妒和自卑,真得是没有一点点好处。要时刻觉察自己是否有“攀比心”?如果发现了,就试着把它放下,用爱和仁慈去代替。
  • 不需要证明自己。如果我们感觉我们已经拥有了一切是全世界最幸福的母亲,我们就不会祈求外来的赞美和夸耀。当我们工作了一天身心疲惫还要煮饭给孩子们吃的时候,当我们被我们青春期的孩子拒之门外的时候,当我们母亲节没有收到任何礼物的时候,我们不介意,因为我们明白自己的价值:孩子需要我,世界需要我,我就是爱。

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2, 闺蜜不能缺。

刚刚到新加坡前几周家里没有wifi,我只好每天和儿子一起上学在学校蹭网。学校设施齐全,给家长们也专门开设一个家长活动室供家长联谊和聚会使用。我平时每天就带着电脑坐在这里,由此认识了好多妈妈,其中有一群相当数量的中国陪读妈妈们。和这群妈妈们相处特别开心,大家除了彼此交流学校动态,孩子的近况,生活中的一些必需品哪里可以找到,一起给学习当义工,一起学习英语等等,相当一部分时间在一起讨论孩子们的成长和学习,谈得深了,就会谈到自己和家庭,包括自己的梦想,生活中的挑战,家庭内部沟通的困难。其中有一位妈妈因为国内有事要回去几天,好几个妈妈都主动提出帮助她照顾她的儿子。这样的圈子对于这些孑然一身独自在海外的妈妈们无疑是冬天取暖的炉火,在你心灵疲惫和无助的时候给予你慰藉。所以,不管到哪里,闺蜜和朋友是不能缺的。我从前在工作特备忙的时候把友谊放在记事本”重要事件名单”的最底部,过去几年里我慢慢意识到,生活中好多事情还是闺蜜姐妹之间解决比较容易,和那位来自“火星”的另一半不是什么都能沟通的。

3, 学着信任。

有一句话说得好:养好一个孩子要“举全村之力”。作为母亲,我们不光要相信我们自己爱和保护孩子的能力,更重要的是相信我们自己孩子的能力,以及这个世界能够给予孩子的爱与呵护。只有这样,我们能可以从恐惧,自责和无助中解脱出来,更好的爱自己和爱孩子。有一次我发现我家儿子忘了带钥匙钱包和手机,而我要临时出门很晚才回来,我就多走路了两步路把这些东西送到了学校,到学校之后,孩子们已经下课了,下来是课外活动时间,我就直接走到儿子每周二参加的围棋俱乐部教室,到那里发现他还没有来,我因为赶时间就代请围棋俱乐部的老师把东西转交给孩子。一路上,我就开始胡思乱想:“要是儿子今天要是不去围棋俱乐部怎么办?要是老师忘了怎么办?那孩子就回不了家,吃不上饭,也联系不上我了。”忽然我意识到,我多虑了,我必须学着信任孩子身边的人会尽职尽责,孩子也完全有能力自己解决这些问题。果然,晚上回到家,儿子已经吃好饭,写好作业,洗完澡,在家里等我了。这些小事虽然不起眼,但是它们确实是“学习信任”的基本训练。当一些大的事情发生时,我们也有能力相信,人的力量和这个宇宙相比太渺小了,我们只能默默地坚信,世界自然有它的规律和安排,只要我们不放弃,万事一定会有完美的收尾。

 

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Preparing for the future of work

Recently I had a conversation with a girlfriend, who is a very successful entrepreneur who have created the most beautiful bio-degradable eco friendly. She told she is frustrated because she no longer knows who she is. She used to a well-estabalished sculturor and artist, now she is called a business woman and entrepreur. Although becoming very successful in this business, she is feeling unrestful. She has lost her identity.

This reminds me another story: a famous architect was asked what type of architect he is, he answered: “ I am an artist.”

On my 40th birthday a few months ago ago, I asked myself the same question: “what am I?” “What do I want people to call me on my tombstone when I rest in peace?”

The world is changing rapidly and this has transformed the way the global workforce is sourced, organised and managed. Knowledge, trade, technology, capital and goods are more globally connected than ever before. As The Institute of the Future identifies: as the medical advances allow us to live longer, the nature of work and learning will change as well; we will work longer, change jobs more often, requiring lifelong learning, unlearning and relearning. For us, as the changes become the norm of our life and will continue to be accelerated in the future, how do we operate in this new environment? What asset do we need to build to be competitive in the global market? And how do we align our mobility, passion and purpose with the creativity and skills we acquire along the way?

What does the work mean in the future?

According to Aaron Hurst, we are moving from the Information Economy to the Purpose Economy. He states that this is a natural evolution, which is taking us from the first levels of human organization, the hoe-and-plow Agricultural Economy, through the smokestacks of the Industrial Economy, to the data farms of the Information Economy, and now to the human-centric Purpose Economy. Each of these economies have been built on top of the proceeding and represent evolutions more than revolutions.

With the old industrial age, our happiness is assumed to be tightly bound with the growth of our GDP, which means, we could simply focus on the work of money making, and happiness would follow naturally. However, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer brought a surprising research through intenstive analysis of nearly 12,000 diary entries provided by 238 employees in 7 companies through their book “The Progress Principle”, they explained “of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important – by far – is simply making progress at meaningful work.” It is no longer the money, the incentives, the status or the title which makes us happiest, “our desire to have more is replaced by the desire to be more.” (Metaskills)

The founding father of Permaculture – Masanobu Fukuoka once said in his book The One-Straw Revolution: “ I do not particularly like the word ‘work.’ Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time… a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

So, if in the purpose economy, the work is based on our desire to be more rather than to have more, and doing what needs to be done. How do we prepare ourselves for this?

In order to answer these questions, I have done quite a lot of research, deep reflections and even began to do daily meditation. I was hoping some of the old and new wisdom could guide me. For the sake of simplicity, I have summarized my research findings into 4R. And it turns out understanding yourself is the start of everything.

1, Recognize: “ Identify the meaningfulness that is related to you and connect with the source of your own happiness. “

We are all familiar with the pyramid called the “Hierarchy of Needs” by psychologist Abraham Maslow. (yet someone might argue we might have even basic’er need than food and shelf). The term self-actualization is related to what the joyful fulfillment of one’s potential, or the pursuit of higher-order goals. In the industrial age, our human creativity has been put into the drawer in order to pursue efficiency and productivity. The Industrial age has managed to “take most of the joy out of work, the humanity out of business, and the beauty out of everyday life”. Yet it also “built the self-esteem layer of the pyramid, to which we can now add the soul-enriching pinnacle of self-actualization.”

So ask yourself: what makes you alive? Not “what does the world need?” Because what makes you alive is what the world needs!

2, Reflect: Are you a creative? What is your unique value to the world?

In the MetaSkills by Maty Neumeier “We have an unfounded fear that machines will someday start thinking like humans. What we should really fear is that humans have already started thinking like machines.”

I have been asked many time during my talk “what happens if the robot steals of our job?” I usually ask back, “What happens the Chinese steal our jobs?” This was a question being raised up often years ago in the western world, look what happens now? Western world has given up their massive manufacturing work and moved up to a higher level of work which involves knowledge, skills and creativity, and believe or not? Chinese is going to do the same. (I am also aware of the fact that the manufacturing is now coming back to the west with a different kind of notion and format).

“Employers in the future don’t want employee to be robots. They have robots. What they want are people who think for themselves, use their imagination, communicate well and can work in teams, and who can adapt to continuous change.”

Creative work are way beyond the narrow definition of “creative industry”, it appears in all kind of sectors and all kind of business, such us scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, new business ideas, product invention, even organizational leadership.

Creative workers by definition is problem solvers, they solve significant problems or satisfy significant needs in a Imaginative, non-routine, experimental and autonomous way. It can be imitated and followed but the core can never be copied. Since this work is fairly original, maybe even unique, the cost is high and so is the value.

There is a good book to help you to start with this reflection, called “Business Model U” by Tim Clark.

Basically it applies the Business Model Canvas on individuals to define their personal business model. In fact, it provides more tools than just Business Model Canvas to help you reflect on who you are, your key personality and creativity. Such as What problem am I trying to solve for this world? Who are people I would like to help? What kind of value do I provide to solve the problem for the people I help?

In fact, dream jobs are more often created than found, so they are rarely attainable through conventional searches. Creating one requires strong self-knowledge.

3, Reframe: Turn every crisis into an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn toward your goal.

Richard Brandson once said “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” I think the most important thinking pattern for the future of work is “design thinking”.

For me, the essence of design thinking comparing to business thinking is that “we embrace every problem and challenge with the gift of not knowing.” Not knowing used to be something to be ashamed of or even a taboo, but it has turned to become the most normal thing in our workplace in the future while the knowledge is being updated with the speed of light. While the problems we are facing are becoming super complex, not knowing allows us to sense the world with different mindsets and deep empathy, it enables us to work through a problem without being limited to an assumed answer. We don’t take a “no” for “no”, we ask “Why not?” and “What if?” to envision the new possibility and a better future. Once we grasp something, we make it happen in baby steps, learn from the mistakes along the way.

This is the process of business innovation, it is also a process of going from “who we are” to “who we could be”.

4, Respond: Replace the expectation with plan and actions with a choice consistent with your goals and your personal values.

In my case, I know that I am a tireless learner who are also aspired to help others to learn and make changes to their life and the world. I am doing a lot of ad-hoc in-company innovation training as my horizon one, all my work as a curator of CAMP and mentor of all kinds of startup incubators are my horizon two work, both are preparing me to learn the skills and build my network and personal eco-system toward my vision – being a good educator, which is my horizon three. That is how I am calling myself now and in the future.

I guess all what I am trying to say is, “if we assume the change is the norm of our life, the best thing we could do is to be grounded like a tree, build our inner clarity and confidence, open up to anything unknown, tune in, and learn to dance in the rain … “

I would like to end this with a quote of Bruce Lee the Kungfu master:

“Not being tense but ready.

Not thinking but dreaming.

Not being set but flexible.

Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.

It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

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What the heck is Coworking?

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Yesterday I had an interesting debate with Dutch Design Workspace(@ddwschina) on twitter about the definition of Coworking in respond to my speech at 3rdspaceconference about “Coworking in China”. In this speech, I referred to the term of Coworking as the narrow sense of “Coworking Space”, which was used firstly in 2005 by Brad Neuberg to describe a physical space which he firstly called ‘9 to 5 group’, and soon became the growing worldwide movement of independent café-like community spaces for freelance professionals and early stage startups. A Coworking Space is normally built organically upon an existing coworking communities and operated under the values of “Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability” and share information and knowledge freely among one another and numerous web or event based platforms have been created to serve that purpose. At Xindanwei, we have been actively contributing our knowledge and experience about coworking through online platforms, conferences, events, and lately introduced Coworking Manual apps.

Yet by means the term “coworking” stands for something much broader, it means a new way of working, which is co-operative, open, collaboration & network based rather than singular, isolated and individual based.  It was firstly coined by American game designer and fun theorist Bernie DeKoven in 1999 as “computer-supported collaborative work”, however, for people who works in the creative disciplines, collaborative way of working is an essential way to tackle complex problems emerged in our rapid-changing world and generate novel ideas and effective solutions, because creative ideas and solutions are often the result of combined efforts of a team or group of creative minds, and often arise in collaboration when people share their ideas and for example build links and find analogies.

One of my favorite Dutch Architects Ben van Berkel has been researching extensively on the network practice of architect and collaborative process which he named as”liquid architect“. He pointed out:

“Network practice allows architects to be involved with design, technique, detail and execution by building close working relationships with other experts…The empowering quality of the new co-operative process derives from the increased transferability of knowledge. Strategic forms of co-operation may include structural engineers, industrial, new media and graphic designers, cost calculators, management, consultants, process specialists, stylists and photographers. Made possible by the use of new technology, relevant knowledge stored inside all of these disciplines becomes available due to connectedness. As an expert on everyday public information, the policy of the architect is not to improve society by providing the best understanding of it, but simply to collect information that is potentially structuring, to co-ordinate it, transform it, and to offer a centralising vision on the basis of that information.”(The new concept of the architect, UN studio)

Another example would be the in-house projects established by one of the largest advertising agencies Wieden+Kennedy in their different locations worldwide to attract and engage with multidisciplinary creatives “at the forefront of technology, arts and commerce” and to adapt themselves “in a dynamic world”.

In fact, in a world of widely distributed knowledge, most of the companies and organizations cannot afford to rely entirely on their own internal talents and resources to stay innovative and competitive, more and more open innovation models such as user innovation, participatory design, crowdsourcing and know-how trading. Coworking will continue to act as the stimuli and catalyst of knowledge sharing, serendipity and accumulation, as well as the vehicle of co-creation and co-development. Our next challenge would be: how do we integrate these random creativity and novel idea’s generated by group dynamic and interactivity with the existing business model and come up with  abundance innovation outcomes? I am here to learn.

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From Self Reflection to Self Mastery (my THNK experience – 2)

From the moment our THNK mentor announced that we needed to pair up three in a group to conduct peer-coaching through out the program, I knew I would have a hard time to find someone to coach me. And it happened exactly as I expected. For a moment I was surrounded by shame, fear and disappointment and couldn’t help to express them instantly. A few minutes later I was surprisingly relieved about this sudden emotional downturn as I realized I was no longer controlling these vulnerabilities as described in the TEDtalk by Brene Brown, I accepted their existence, and I felt safe to expose them to my THNK peers, and enjoyed being imperfect as the way it was.

This is a painful but extremely inspiring personal journey I have been going through THNK – from self reflection to self mastery. Self reflection is built upon the awareness through examining our body gesture and movement by practicing standing, walking and waving together; it is built upon the ability to recognize your inner voices, a practice we have done with Eric Fox through the Passion and Purpose Dialogue; it is also built upon the open, honest and whole-hearted learning environment where everyone has opened up their true selves and is ready to build connection with one another and celebrate mistakes.

Living in a chaotic city like shanghai, it is hard to keep standing still while everyone around is moving like craze. Yet, very often, being still is an extremely powerful status and approach to cope with chaos: being still  means we treat ourselves fairly and with compassion, accept our own weakness, conflicts among our own different personalities and the challenges we are facing to stay calm and burden-free; being still means receiving, listening, absorbing rather than giving, creating noise and pushing, it charges us before we take any movement and avoid being over stretched or even get hurt by exhaustion; being still will help us to sense where the direction of different forces flow and borrow these energy to optimize the outcomes; most importantly, being still will help to have a clearer view about the environment around us and empower people around us with trust, courage and honesty.

(to be continued)ImageImage

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“Sometimes you have to travel far to find home” (My Thnk Experience – 1)

When I stood with a group of 30 “creative leaders” in circle to practice Qi Gong  in the westerpark of Amsterdam with my boots half soaked in the morning dew, I was both entertained and amazed: Am I just traveling half around the globe to learn Chinese Qi Gong  which seems comprising no more than standing and waving like a tree, holding an invisible balloon or water melon, and walking backward like all the old couples in my neighborhood parks?

This is the daily “body and mind” early morning exercises of THNK – the Amsterdam school of Creative Leaderships, a program I was invited to attend as the founding participant and help to re-shape: “We build our airplane as we fly it” as the faculty staff repeated several times modestly during the entire week. And I love every bit of it!

Let’s start with the most scary part of it: “Everyone walk around in the room naked or half naked holding a mirror reflecting one another.” Of course I don’t mean the real nudity as you see in the nude beach ( that would be good, actually), this is the self reflection and peer reflection process everyone must go through to establish the real mind connection, trust and honesty. We started with the wadlopen in the wetsuit feel like hi jacket, a hiking tour of 4.5 hours in the mud of north sea. I mentally and physically rejected this exercise as I have asthma and I have done it 10 years ago, so I decided to skip it within 200 meters and went with water-taxi and reached the destination Ameland in 15 minutes.

Followed by the story-telling session where you must tell three life-changing personal stories to your peers, life story line drawing(with X line as time and Y line as your self-definition), 30/30 exposing yourself to the world(30 seconds staring at everyone in the eyes plus 30 seconds making speech about the spontaneous feeling on the spot), we started to build a 3D picture about everyone in the room and enormous curiosity among one another. I found myself extremely fascinated by the story telling session, it is such an interesting and effective way of opening up yourself to be emotionally tied. I don’t even remember what I have told my peers, the only thing stroke me was that when people told stories to me, I had no difficulties at all to come up with more similar experience stories to build upon others to be engaged and integrate everyone’s stories as part of my own ones. I decided to do this on regular basis with people in my work and my life.

The 30/30 part was a tricky one. Imagine yourself stand in a center of 30 something half strangers staring at you, and making notes about your appearance and quick impression, some people reacted in a very radical way, some almost ended into sweat and tears. I was told by others my appearance was indeed the unforgettable as I left the center stage and walked to everyone and confronted them with a smiling gaze and closed fist: powerful, daring, different but threatening, unintentionally, this was the first image I have created for myself among others and I have spent at least 60 hours of that week trying to play the opposite to see how it went.. (To be continued)ImageImage

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