What you can learn from a five year old girl and her Kit-Kat
By Lynette Lim
Picture this. A precocious five year old girl stares greedily at the Kit-Kat in her hand, waiting to devour it. An adult family friend walks by and asks if she is willing to share the Kit-Kat with him. Thinking fast, she pouts: “Well, if I have to share with you, then I would have none of it.” “Ok” says the man, as he takes the Kit-Kat and pops it in his mouth before she can even blink.
The little girl got what she wanted, but not really.
While we can laugh at this true story of how the adult outmaneuvered the little girl’s wit, there is a more serious undertone to it. The story reminds me of the polarized times we live in. Affected by the current political climate and fueled by social media, I observe there is a mass compulsion and pressure to always take a position; and then justify our position by rejecting the other party’s as “wrong” or “evil”. Instead of playing win-win, we play lose-lose. We’d rather be right than compromise or give in. And just like the little girl, we think that somehow, by drawing a hard line, the other party will give way.
But this sort of kindergarten politics didn’t work for the little girl; similarly, it doesn’t work for the adult playground we live in. At best, a bit of name-calling is hurled at each other and we stand at gridlock, unable to move anything along towards a solution. But at its worst, violence ensues and innocent lives are lost. I write this with a heavy heart as America, in the last 40 days, experienced two of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. I neither claim to know the complexities and nuances of gun control laws in America, nor the second amendment, nor the state of mental health in America . But I do notice the all-too-familiar gridlock where little is changed in terms of laws/policies to prevent another shooting.
Perhaps it is time to pause, and before we start pointing fingers at others and judging, try another plan.
In the last Trading Asia Symposium which PhillipCapital hosted, I shared my thoughts about the yin and yang symbol that is often the icon for Kung Fu and Asian cultures. (After the symposium, the CEO of KRX pointed out to me that the symbol is even on Korea’s flag!) Please watch the video of the speech!
In the speech, I explained the characteristics of the symbol:
- There are two seemingly opposite forces: the Yin and the Yang.
- Neither Yin nor Yang are absolutes. Nothing is completely Yin or completely Yang. Each aspect contains the beginning point for the other aspect. For example: day becomes night and then night becomes day.
- Together they form a whole circle. One effect of this: as one aspect increases, the other decreases to maintain overall balance of the whole. Yin and Yang are interdependent upon each other--the definition of one requires the definition of the other to be complete.
- There is a seed of the opposite in each other. In simple terms, there is a black dot in the white and a white dot in the black.
This last point is worth noting, as I think it holds the key to availing ourselves of the ability to compromise and understand the other party’s point of view. I believe it starts with recognizing that our existence is not meant to be lived out alone but in a community, and we must take responsibility for our own actions. Also, maybe we should not look at life like ‘he is wrong and I am right’. Instead, perhaps we could try ‘while we are right, we are also wrong’ and ‘while we are wrong, we are also right’. Wholeness can only be achieved when we are able to balance and work with the two opposing forces
There really is no other way. Ironically, the yin and yang symbol is also known as “The way”.
I am trying to practice this way of thinking. Whenever I face a conflict at work or home, or when I hear some adverse news about the world, I take a deliberate pause to silence all the voices in my head; no judging, no criticism, and no retaliation. Instead, just be still, and listen, and try to understand. And realize that although I do not have to agree, I do have to try to understand.
Just imagine if all the leaders of this world can just do that, we might even have world peace!
Will you join me in this journey of “The way”?