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Lighthouse

Happy New Year!

I guess a lot of people are very happy to see the year 2008 passed by, just like myself. What a dramatic year! First we witnessed the house value dropping and foreclosures in the neighborhood, then the crisis of the subprime mortgage. Soon, the bad news crawled all over the financial sector. Investment banks, insurance companies, commercial banks, even big names like Bear Stearns and Leman Brothers burned down into ashes overnight. The darkness, like cancer, continued to spread into other industries, such as automobile and even high-tech. The stock market crashed. The unemployment rate soared. The words we heard most in the past several months are “great depression” and “bail-out”, not what we usually heard even in a bear market.

And the worst part, it’s not over yet. Although debating among each other, the economists agreed the economy won’t recover until the later half of 2009. And that’s from the most optimistic point of view.

With all the negative news, it’s very easy to feel depressed or stressed out in this unpleasant time.

Kind of like feeling depressed in the winter in the northeastern United States (where I am living), chilly, heavy wind blow, cloudy sky, crooked tree branches and yellow grass, no sign of life.

But, wait! We still got Christmas in winter time! Even the darkest nights were lightened up by the holiday lights!

Where can we find hopes and opportunities in the depressing days like now? Here are four directions to look:

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After working 7 years in one organization, I finally made the move and joined another team. I am still working for the same company, but different location, totally different project and different colleagues. It’s like a new company to me.

It’s always hard to move into a new environment and start to work with new team mates. I need to learn the new project, new technologies and new ways of doing things. The worst part may be that I have to rebuild my reputation. I need to earn my credit again as well as make new friends in the new organization. In the first several days, I really missed my old work place and my old friends.

However, after I thought it over, I considered the current situation a new challenge for me. As we all know, only challenges make one grow. If one always stays at the familiar spot and never goes out to the adventure land, he/she will never grow. It’s the response to the challenges that brings the best out us!

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image I started to work for a new manager last year. The first thing my new boss asked me to do is to buy this book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0“, and take the test online. He assured me I would like that. Obviously, he took the test himself before and it has been tremendously helpful to his own career growth.

I bought the book, certainly. The introduction section explained why they think people should focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses.

Their reasons are simple:

  • No one is perfect. We are all naturally good at something and fall short on other things.
  • It’s our talents and strength that makes out standout, in a good way. Not the shortcomings.
  • We are more engaged and happy when working with our strengths than working with our shortcomings.
  • It’s more efficient to develop our strengths than to remedy our shortcomings.

By the way, they are a group of psychologists working for Gallup, holding Ph.D and Master degrees in Psychology.

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I recommend a good book about dealing with the change. You may already read this little interesting book. Only takes 1 hour to finish, “Who Moved My Cheese“.

Here are some of the concepts it talks about:

Three stages of change:

  1. Prepare for change
  2. Gain change skills
  3. Achieve a change

Change Skills:

  1. Anticipate change
  2. Take new actions now
  3. Move beyond fear
  4. Imagine real success

Hope it can help us to survive the constant changes and achieve greater success in our life!

My life is fundamentally changed after I read Dr. Stephen Covey’s awesome book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. A lot of positive things happened. I feel happy in life and more important, I feel I am in charge of my own life. Nothing feels better than that!

One of the concept I learned from the book is if one really wants to learn the materials and would like to apply them to achieve good results in life, the best way is to teach the materials to other people. From my past experience, I know that’s absolutely true.

“Knowing, but not doing, is not knowing”. Another concept learned. So, here is my action. I prepared a series presentations to help me teaching other people, “7 Habits”. I will post them here in a series of posts.

Here is the first one in the serie: 7 Habits Session 1: Problem and Solutions

It starts from talking about the problems we are facing and how to solve them by changing the way we see the problems.

I will love to share the experiences of applying 7 habits with any one who is interested in fundamental life changes.

Now, Enjoy!

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