Everyone has been there. In a room full of peers, watching some terrible speaker give a boring speech, where you would rather count the tiles on the wall than listen to one more word of some so-called “expert” telling us why they think they are great. Then there are those moments, when some person grabs hold of you and inspires you to be something more. This was the case when listening to Li Cunxin, aka Mao’s Last Dancer, who during a visit to Australia, gave a speech on his journey and the valuable lessons that we can learn from his challenges.
Lesson 1: Luck is around us – Make the most of opportunities -Li was given a chance to attend the Beijing Dance Academy due to his class teacher suggesting him to a scout. He was given the opportunity and he ran with it. How many of us had some opportunity present itself out of the blue? Did you recognise it? Or did you dismiss it as being too risky or not within the scope of your work? These opportunities do happen. What would you do?
Lesson 2: Luck only goes so far – Hard work makes it work – Li worked 6 days a week from 5:30am in the morning until 9pm at night. He fully dedicated himself to his craft, determined to be the best in his field. Are you putting in 100 percent or just punching the clock? Luck will happen, but you need to make sure you are taking full advantage of the gifts that fall in your lap.
Lesson 3 – It is okay to stand up for what you believe – Within business often you are presented with some ethical dilemmas. You often may feel mistreated by an employer or associate. Did you say anything? Did you stand up for your values? How did you feel? Imagine Li defecting to the United States, leaving his family and the country he loved behind in order to be a free person. What would you sacrifice in order to keep your values? Integrity should not have a price.
Lesson 4 – Change is good – Li now has a senior position at a stockbroking company, a best-selling book under his belt and is in high demand as a motivational speaker. Career change should not be seen as a risk but rather anan opportunity to follow your interests. Li shows us all how we can transform ourselves at any age. At the end of the speech, forty minutes overtime, the crowd was dead silent. Most of the people in awe of how a poor boy from a small village in communist China dealt with adversity through determination, integrity and most of all, a sense of humour. We can all be this type of person. If only we can open our hearts and minds to our potential.