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Lose Face! Get Famous!

Popularity 10Viewed 7456 times 2013-9-24 07:34 |System category:Life| understand, University, training, required, national

One of China's national heroes is Yu Minhong, the founder of the English training company, New Oriental. He is a role model to what a person can do in China no matter your relationships or whether or not you lose face. Yu Minhong started with nothing except his own ability to teach others how to take the exams required for Chinese students to study abroad and the exams for entrance into graduate study programs in universities.

As I understand his story, while teaching at Beijing University, he was also training students in Toefl and for preparation of taking the Graduate Record Exam as a side business. He got into trouble with the local officials for in essence, having two jobs. His embarrassment came when the university officials decided to expose him via the university's campus wide intercom system. He lost face in the most frightening of ways by being exposed in the very place of his employment and where his potential students of his training were studying.

'Face' isn't an important issue to a Westerner. In fact, we measure success by the number of failures you've experienced in your life. No one is born an expert at anything that requires thought. We often use the phrase that we 'fail our way to success.' The late great inspirational author and speaker, Zig Ziglar said, "The difference between a big shot (successful leader) and a little shot (someone who has never been successful) is that the big shot kept shooting." If we experience something that causes us to 'lose face', we don't quit. In fact, the attempt to cause us to lose face can be the very vehicle that takes us to our success.

'Face', as it is understood here in China, can certainly be a huge obstacle in attaining success. We all want to be accepted by others and to look good in all that we do. However, the relevant importance of 'looking good' or, 'having face', isn't nearly as important as the achievement you can attain when you pursue your goals. We, Westerners, are more likely to take the risk of 'losing face' in order to achieve success. We know that when we achieve the success that we seek, we will have more 'face' and be respected by more people than if we had concerned ourselves with what others thought about us. 

And as the international author and psychologist, Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "What others think of me is none of my business." He is saying that what others think is not only none of my business, but likewise, what others think of me is none of my concern. We view this as a necessary mindset in achieving success in our lives.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)

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Reply Report cheney0211 2013-9-24 12:59
Excellent,it's among the best articles i'v read.Thank you MichaelM,I have already consider you as my teacher both in English and Life,your artices seems to be the vehicle that takes me to success.
Reply Report MichaelM 2013-9-24 14:15
cheney0211: Excellent,it's among the best articles i'v read.Thank you MichaelM,I have already consider you as my teacher both in English and Life,your artices see ...
You're welcome Cheney. Thank you for your kind comments.

Michael
Reply Report maxliujun 2013-9-26 09:03
impressive. It gives me a different understanding about face and success. thanks a lot
Reply Report MichaelM 2013-9-26 09:21
maxliujun: impressive. It gives me a different understanding about face and success. thanks a lot
You're welcome.
Reply Report SKatSUST 2013-9-27 21:06
I'm struck by the tension between having a cultural norm of "saving face" and it's opposition publicly humiliating someone who's broken a rule.
Reply Report MichaelM 2013-9-28 00:49
SKatSUST: I'm struck by the tension between having a cultural norm of "saving face" and it's opposition publicly humiliating someone who's broken a ru ...
Public humiliation isn't as bad as most people think. It can actually be a boost to your life and career as it was in the cases of Yu Minhong. Certainly not in all cases. But with him, it was almost an advertisement for his teaching services. It let people know that he knew how to prepare them for the Toeful or GRE. To be worried about what others think of you is an insecurity that people who achieve at a very high level, don't worry about. If they did, they would never achieve much. That kind of worry holds you back from fulfilling your true potential.
Reply Report MichaelM 2013-9-28 00:49
SKatSUST: I'm struck by the tension between having a cultural norm of "saving face" and it's opposition publicly humiliating someone who's broken a ru ...
Public humiliation isn't as bad as most people think. It can actually be a boost to your life and career as it was in the cases of Yu Minhong. Certainly not in all cases. But with him, it was almost an advertisement for his teaching services. It let people know that he knew how to prepare them for the Toefl or GRE. To be worried about what others think of you is an insecurity that people who achieve at a very high level, don't worry about. If they did, they would never achieve much. That kind of worry holds you back from fulfilling your true potential.
Reply Report scupsy 2014-1-5 09:53
After reading this article,i get strength for my goal.thank you MicaeLM!
Reply Report MichaelM 2014-1-5 14:29
You're welcome!
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-1-5 18:49
Being afraid of losing face has inadvertently underpinned at least partially many social ills ranging from inflated CV claims and exaggerated social connections to outright plagiarism and vaunted philanthropy.

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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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  • The 'Truth' of Chinese Thinking 2015-5-28 06:51

    I think the point about 'face' is the important one as stated by MichaelM. Being right and wrong or being unable or unwilling to open your mouth to give an opinion or speak is, to me, fear of loss of 'face' to the student. I am also not so sure that the history and culture of ancient China can be held accountable for that. For me the Chinese psyche is an enigma and trying to pinpoint any specific reason for their current mindset is still a 'work in progress'.

  • Why I Don't And Won't Engage Internet Trolls 2015-5-27 11:16

    rameshnair: I think there is a clear line between trolling and debating. One is constructive and the other destructive. However, the constructive posts can be mis ...
    "I think there is a clear line between trolling and debating. One is constructive and the other destructive. However, the constructive posts can be misconstrued as trolling by parties disagreeing."

    completely agree with this line.

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