I really need to tell this story because I think it’s important… I don’t really know for what reason, but I think it’s important. Just read it and tell me what you think in the comment section below.
How it all started
So, whenever I want to write a blog post, I often pray and think about what topic to write on. Then I do my little research in and outside the Bible depending on the topic. If you’ve been around my blog long enough you’d notice that I’m focused on unearthing the hidden treasures buried in the Bible. Yes, I read several other materials too but my principles are mostly from the teachings of Christ and the Bible in general.
So, men, women and children, I found a topic to write on after several hours of thinking. And the topic was on the quote below. This quote has actually been with me for about 6 years and I think I’ve used it a few times during my talks.
By the way, if your organisation or company or group needs a coach, speaker, writer or teacher, please let them know that I’m available for booking. I’m still learning the ropes but you can be sure that you’ll be satisfied at the end of the day. If you’re in doubt, book me.
Ok, back to the story my esteemed readers. So, I decided to eviscerate the quote below and use it to inspire you all for the week. But something unexpected happened. Hmmm.. how do I even start? Ok, first things first. Here is the quote:
The Chinese word for Crisis
“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity”.
The above quote is attributed to John F. Kennedy, who used it in his speeches during his presidential campaign. It has since then become a mainstay among entrepreneurs, coaches, therapists, just name it.
So, your brother (if you regard me as one, else you can call me your blogger, heart mender, doctor, teacher, coach, thinker, speaker, writer, counsellor, moviemaker, actor, interior designer, events planner, food and juice taster… insomma sono quello che vuoi che io sia per te, ecco) had all his motivational lines ready to unleash. But I decided to check up the Chinese word in question to know if it truly corresponds to what late JFK said. And that was when I saw something.
It turns out that there have been debates as to whether the Chinese word 危机 (pronounced wēijī) actually stands for both danger (Wei) and opportunity (Ji). Here my blog post was already beginning to develop a K-leg.
So, I called my younger brother to understand more. He studies in China, so, hopefully, he’ll help me resolve the puzzle because I seriously wanted to motivate you all to go out there and conquer all your crises, and turn them into opportunities. DD Nnam, I’m sorry for revealing where you study… you know it’s for the blog. But DD didn’t respond to my message on time; it was around 2 am in his city when I sent the message. So, your brother (again) decided to search for other Chinese professors who have dealt with this subject because this blog post has to go up immediately. And luckily I found one.
According to Victor H. Mair, a professor of Chinese language and literature at the University of Pennsylvania, the above quote stems from a misperception. In his essay, he wrote that while the word Wei means “dangerous or precarious”, Ji on the other hand means “incipient moment or crucial point”. However, when Jī is added to huì (“occasion”) we have the Mandarin word for “opportunity” (jīhuì). But by itself, jī does not mean “opportunity.”
The Igbo Proverb
Because I wouldn’t want to stretch the Chinese language so much just to motivate you, and because I don’t want to be “run out of town on a rail”, I decided to fall back to my own language, Igbo – the most beautiful of all existing tongues known to man.
In the Igbo language, we often say, though with a negative connotation “ala adighi mma bu uru ndi nze”, which means “the bad state of the land is the gain of the chieftains”. But seeing it’s my language, I’ll stretch it a bit to include this: in the face of prevalent ugly circumstances, some people see opportunities instead of obstacles.
So, when things get bad, think of restructuring instead of closing up. Think of research instead of retrenchment. Think of innovating yourself instead of involution. Focus on the solutions instead of the problems. Doors open when we think of opportunities instead of obstacles.
There you go; you have your motivation and I have my article of the day.
I think you’ve gotten the point now. What’s your opinion? Let’s chat in the comment section below.
P.S: My brother replied 5 hours later and his answer was the same as that of Professor Victor H. Mair. I would have given you his contact details so you could congratulate him, but I doubt he’ll appreciate it. So, just send the congratulatory messages through me or in the comment section. He’ll read them when he opens this article… because I’ll send the link to him 🙂
From chinese to Igbo…. A wonderful journey of languages.
Thanks for sharing
With a touch of Italian in the middle 🙂
Thanks for reading dear.