Lessons in Humility and Harmony: Six Years of Insights from Living in China

Living and residing in China for the past six years has truly been an eye-opener and a profound personal journey that has changed my perspective on everything from everyday occurrences to deeper life philosophies. Each day has offered new insights and lessons that have gradually shaped a new understanding of how I view myself and the world.

One of the most fundamental lessons has been the importance of humility. In Chinese society, it is often those who do not boast about their successes who are considered truly strong. This culture of discretion has taught me that it is actions, not words, that count. Keeping a low profile and letting my achievements speak for me has become part of how I approach both personal and professional challenges.

Respect is another central aspect of my life in China. Treating people well is not just a matter of good manners; it is a reflection of one’s own self-respect. This has reminded me that every encounter with another person is a chance to show who I am, through how I act and treat others.

Generosity and reciprocity have also been central themes. ‘Paying it forward’ has become a natural part of my daily routine. I have realized that even small acts of kindness can have significant effects, both for the recipient and for myself. Paying off my debts, both literally and figuratively, has been a way to maintain and strengthen relationships, and to show that I value and respect the bonds I have formed.

In China, ‘guanxi,’ or relationships, are crucial. These relationships are what open doors and create opportunities. Understanding and participating in local customs and practices is critical to building strong guanxi, as they act as a bridge between different cultures and deepen the understanding between people.

I have also noticed that it is better to watch what people do rather than what they say. Actions seldom lie, unlike words.

My philosophical approach to life has also changed through my experiences here. Constantly trying and never giving up has become a motto. Life requires a continual struggle against the current, and any moment of stillness is a risk of losing what one has worked for. At the same time, I have learned the importance of ‘hasting slowly,’ where well-considered decisions and plans are the key to success. Once decisions are made, however, it is important to act quickly and efficiently.

In business, I have learned to navigate a world where ‘yes’ sometimes can mean ‘no.’ Interpreting and understanding these nuances are crucial for successful business relationships. Welcoming competition and finding synergies have also become an important part of how I approach business opportunities, always aiming for situations where everyone can win.

The challenges I have encountered have often been the best teachers. Early difficulties have acted as catalysts for personal growth and maturity. I have also learned that if a problem can be solved with money, then it is not really a problem, but rather an expense. Avoiding unnecessary stress and worry by being well-prepared is a strategy that consistently pays off.

The balance in life and openness to new experiences have also become central themes. Finding time for breaks and enjoyment amidst chaos, and being open to trying new things, like tasting ‘stinky tofu,’ have enriched my life and broadened my perspectives.

In summary, my time in China has not just been a series of events or experiences, but a profound transformation of how I understand and interact with the world around me. These insights and lessons are universal truths that have become an integrated part of my daily life and continue to shape me, here in China, back home in Sweden, and everywhere else.

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