Do you work long hours because you think long hours equals hard work? Do you try and do too much in too little a time? Do you always want more? Does your mind wander when you should be concentrating on a task at hand? Do you conform because you are worried about losing your job? Are you outrageous enough?
If you are not asking these questions, it is time you did, says Ching-Ning Chu, author of “Thick Face, Black Heart”. If you have asked yourself these questions, it is time you did something about it. And in her speech to PATA delegates earlier this month in Hong Kong, Chu shared several laws by which you could can do less, yet achieve more.
• Law of ease – strike a balance between effort and ease. Look at ice skaters, gymnasts and yoga practitioners. Ask yourself, am I pushing too hard? Less is more. Be contented with what you have.
• Law of barter – life is a series of trade-offs. You want more of everything, yet you can’t have more. To have more, you have to make space. You have to give up something for something else. We have to trade friends. “As you go up in your mind and business, best friends will leave you and they’ll make sure you know it’s their fault. But we find other friends.”
Nobody likes change, but we are all capable of it. She tells the story of a river which wanted to go across the desert. A visitor Mr Wind comes along and asks, ‘why don’t I carry you across? You disappear into my bosom and I’ll fly you across and drop you down as rainfall and you’ll reappear.’ The river is afraid. ‘I don’t want to give up my existence,’ it says. But it knows it cannot cross without change to nothingness. Out of desperation, it agrees. The wind carries the moisture across the desert and while the river is in the bosom of the wind, it remembers, ‘I’ve done this before. This is familiar.’
• Law of time – If I have to manage you, I have to know you. What do we know about time? Time is an unmanageable master. Humans have big egos to say we manage time. Manage you. “Don’t bother time. Mr Time is doing good,” said Chu.
Focus on the job, not time. Make peace with time. “Everything you want will come at its own time.”
“In tourism, you make people happy. You make dreams come true. How precious is that? If people are happier, companies are happier. You are the key to human happiness.”
• Law of Directed Dreaming – when you have a bad dream, go back to bed and redo that dream. Give it a happy ending. “Play with your life, it’s only a life.”
Say ‘I am’ and you will be. Don’t say ‘I want to be’.
• Law of Detachment – give up the notion of survival and you will thrive. “An intelligent man at home gets dumber and dumber as he drives
to work. Our corporations make us feel we shouldn’t be too outrageous. Yet corporations say, ‘I want you to be outrageous, think outside the box’. But there is no corporate culture to do that. You are attached to your pay cheque. Everybody is afraid to change the culture.” Detach yourself from fear.
• Law of staying in the present – “We must learn to rest inside, to stay in the now. Be still and calm.”
Chu said there was no better industry than tourism to embrace her laws of doing less and achieving more. She urged tourism practitioners to “be more outrageous” to create a harmonious and effective working environment for staff. “Good employees are very difficult to find. They leave if the environment is no good. If you are in a position to change things, do it.”
Next week: For the Record with Ching-Ning Chu