Growing up in a small country town, we were very limited as to what exciting takeaway dinner we were able to choose for our Birthdays. Despite the lack of choice, however, my favourite was always to go to Oriental Inn Chinese, the only international restaurant in town at the time - and no, I'm sorry Pizza Hut and KFC do not count as international restaurants in Australia...
I don't remember what it was I loved most, the mirrored walls & red lanterns, the Lazy Suzanne that we could spin in the centre of the table, or the Karaoke that ran continuously on the dance floor that was never used. But what I do remember is that my sisters and I pretty much only ever ate the delicious Fried Rice.
Creature of habit? Add more chilli sauce.
A creature of habit, on a recent trip to China I desperately wanted to try the fried rice on most menu's, but fortunately, as we were hosted by Shenzhen business associates who ordered every meal for us, our taste buds were stretched, and our eyes opened to some amazing ways of life in mainland China.
Not only was the food we ate absolutely amazing, but the places we were taken, and the things we learnt about China, has left me with a new taste for Eastern Culture, and craving more of the 4 Best Takeaways from China - no chilli sauce required!
1. Focused effort reaps big reward.
Shenzhen was nominated as a the first 'special economic zone' by the Chinese Government in 1980. Since then, the population has increased 75 times, and is now greater than the population of Australia - all in the period of 33 years!
It is absolutely amazing how the focused effort of implementing one idea has seen a city grow and dramatically change, all achieved in only half a life time. Now I know you're not the Government of a global powerhouse, but it does work for an individual too -
"Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it it that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!" Tony Robbins.
ACTION POINT: Discover your dream, write a basic plan, give yourself a strong reason why, start working - keep on working even when you've living it!
2. Everyone has 'Gawk Factor'.
My husband and I were the only Westerners in many parts of Shenzhen, and therefore attracted some attention. But you know what - they weren't staring because they they were thinking bad things about us - curiosity is not threatening!
This made me think - anywhere you go in the world there will be others that stand out or are different - and being different isn't something to shrink from, it's something we should embrace.
I couldn't change who I was to try to fit in while in Shenzhen - it would have been impossible to try - yet still for some reason when in our own countries we try to change who we are so we don't stand out - but hell to that!
ACTION POINT: Embrace your eccentric side - wear what you want to, act how you want to - stand out from the crowd - and ignite other people's curiosity!
3. A nanna nap after lunch isn't lazy.
Walking out of our first day of meetings in China, we were surprised to see the 15 staff in the Tech office asleep at their desks! Now I'd always known that many Asians have an incredible talent to be able to sleep anywhere at any time, but I was delighted to hear that in Southern China it is common practise to sleep after lunch until 1.30pm.
I know myself I'm seriously unproductive after lunch as my full belly lulls me into a stupor. I believe listening to your body in such a way is almost revelatory in my world, as Western culture forces us to stick to 'business hours' despite many of us knowing those hours are our least effective. I know it would be impossible for me to convince my boss of letting this happen in the office - but still we can take-away another lesson from this practise -
ACTION POINT: We are able to train ourselves to adopt any mindset or way of being, anywhere, at anytime. What state of being in your life would you like to be able to switch on or off? Fear, happiness, confidence? If it is possible to train your brain to switch into sleep - it is possible to train yourself to do anything positive for your well-being exactly when you need to.
4. Create an oasis within the chaos.
A good side dish to the above take-away, one of the most amazing places we went in Hong Kong was the Chi Lin Nunnery. A relatively new attraction in HK, it was an oasis of beautifully kept gardens, and a Buddhist Temple in the middle of skyrises, and noisy traffic.
So perfectly inconsistent with the world around it, yet essential to their way of living, the Nunnery for me represented the importance of having somewhere that you can escape from the 'real-world' and relax, connect with nature, and centre yourself.
ACTION POINT: Where in your world do you escape to to recharge your batteries? Make it part of your daily routine to go there and connect with your inner self, develop space for creativity, and let your inspiration flow.
Ordering from the Global Menu.
Living in a multi-cultural country, we're extremely lucky. Although we may have been limited in our early lives, now as adults we have a huge amount of choice. The freedoms we currently have enable us to select from an endless menu of life-styles, habits, and learnings that we can adopt from other cultures, many of them extremely valuable, and tested over thousands of years.
We have widely accepted the uniqueness of other cultures, and we can just as easily accept that we now have the infinite freedom to chose for ourselves the lives we want to live - with the confidence that we can be accepted when we live authentically as who we are.
Please join us over on Facebook to tell us what cultural 'Take-aways' you have discovered when travelling and exploring other cultures. What unique ways of life from other countries do you want to embrace in your life?