Do you sometimes have the impression that achieving business goals becomes harder every day, more difficult, more arduous, more stretching, or even more painful? Are you looking for a way to ease the pressure? If so, the following business experience will provide you with some answers.
Christian Leysen, Chairman of Ahlers invited me to participate in his company’s International Workshop ‘Trends & Logistic Challenges in the new growth markets’ in Belgium on the 26th of August. Ahlers (www.ahlers.com) is a family owned business providing maritime, agency, forwarding and logistics services in Asia, Russia and the CIS countries. The auditorium consisted of some 20 people from the business and logistics world of Belgium, Japan, Vietnam and Germany as well as representatives of the Chinese Embassy, Belgian government and political organisations as well as the guest speaker, Prof. Jonathan Holslag of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies.
Based on facts, figures and an ear on what business people and government representatives are experiencing today in China and its neighbouring countries, Prof. Holslag concluded:
“All roads in business and politics lead to China.” There is no way around the Chinese. At the same time the People’s Republic of China is facing a transition from planned to market economy that no other nation in human history had to manage in such a magnitude and within such a short period of time. No reference model is available. This transition leads to multiple challenges inside the country and in its interaction with the international business community at large; the speaker pointed this out in a razor sharp black in white scenario. Gaps between urban and rural development, between inland production and consumption as well an unfair growth scenario. Win-win situations are difficult to achieve, for-or-against us mentality, nationalism versus liberalism and international cooperation versus using smaller nations for their own interest. Inside China those who have benefited from the old system still defend their perks. Those who cherish the new opportunities given to them learn by trail and error. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at the Summer World Economic Forum in Dalian on the 14th of September that China’s development is still unbalanced, uncoordinated and not sustainable. In other words, not black or white but full of paradoxes.
Nothing new in the history as to how mankind behaves when the opportunity arises to seize power and influence and an existing system is in decline. The times in which western European countries suppressed other nations under their colonial rule are still known, or at least should be. No international organisations or trade bodies were in place then to file a complaint. China was flooded with opium and in turn was deprived of its treasures for the well being and comfort in Western Europe. If you have forgotten, the Chinese haven’t. It was a very painful and humiliating experience. Now, the pendulum swings back. The opium we receive today is cheep labour products and counterfeit brand products. And we consume them with the same addiction as the Chinese the opium around the middle of the 19th century.
Today, Western European business people active in China feel squeezed, misused, unable to compete in a fair manner or even blackmailed. They have to work harder, travel more and achieve less. So the blame game is on and pointing fingers is far more easy than looking at our own behaviours. The modern silk road, Bart Gruyaert, Ahlers’ General Director Central Asia, pointed out leads its way through Kazakhstan and is financed by the Chinese. Not by depth, but by their currency reserves. The trade links between China, its Asian neighbours, Russia and the CIS countries are lively, increasing by the minute and seem to exclude Europe to a large extent, if we are not willing to increase and redirect our efforts.
The Japanese businessman participating at the workshop put his countries’ position into simple words that say it all: “China means customer, friend and conflict. Japan depends on China. We need to help each other.” Werner Bogaerts, responsible Manager at Ahlers for the Business Development of Agencies Worldwide opened our eyes pointing out that products that have been produced in Western Europe and shipped break bulk into the world have moved eastwards, be it steel, chemicals or forest products. And these developments are irreversible. Western Europe has to reinvent itself in the way we work, do business and perceive ourselves.
What does that mean for your work? How to handle the daily stretch and the situation before you will fall victim to it, physically, mentally and emotionally? How to find joy and meaning in what you do?
Six universal laws influence the way we experience ‘the world out there’, whether we know them or not. As long as you do not understand how they work, you fall prey to them. In quantum science and consciousness research these six universal laws are called:
Cyclical change and
Let me utilize the above mentioned business situation to explain part of them to you. As a human being we create consciousness and thereby our reality through the way we think, speak, feel and act every minute, every hour every day. Your reality depends upon your choices of what and how you choose to observe, think and feel about it, speak about it and act on it. Constructing your reality is a mental act. Your brain holds dear of your personal convictions, opinions, your truth, so to speak. Every brain is different, unique, as is a human being’s fingerprint. But your brain is by no means reflecting upon reality. So, is your working life a fight? Then it let’s you experience this because it is the way you look at it. Start looking at it in a different way. Include more points of views, the other person’s perspective. Any polarity, back or white, right or wrong, is just a fraction of the total picture. And only if you are willing to see the total picture with all its paradoxes you can get in tune with reality.
If you like it or not, all developments occur in cycles. All that exists in the universe starts at one point, grows, matures, declines and ends. Be it human beings, relationships, business positions, market developments, companies, or the power a person, a country or a region possesses. Don’t fight it; go with the flow. Accept that the world is changing every minute and adapt to it. Focus your energy on what really goes on. If you want to hold on to something that felt good in the past, provided you with power, income, recognition or whatsoever, be willing to let go and open up for the new that is right in front of your nose and staring at you. That is the only way to enjoy your work and experience the meaning behind the obvious. This process of adaptation can be quite demanding. If you ignore or even fight it, it will destroy you. The only question is when.
Europe has gradually moved from being a key player in the world economy to becoming an observer. Don’t blame others for the cyclical development and the efforts they have made. Accept, that we even contributed to it’s pace by becoming complacent and ignorant to what is going on in our world in total.
You have significant influence on your work and your well being. Take up this responsibility! Act in accordance with the universal laws I described above. Think, speak, feel and act according to how you wish your working life should be. If it puts a twist or a redirection right in front of you, engage with it. I look forward to explaining the other universal laws to you in the next blogs to come.
For those of you who are in need of more individual answers, take a look at my new e-book “Ich kann so nicht mehr arbeiten! Freude und Sinn statt Seeleninfarkt.” It will be available by the middle of October. Details to be announced soon.
Martina Violetta Jung