Merge's Blog

So what does a crisis really mean?

Several years ago, while at several speaking engagements in China, one of my participants showed me how words in Mandarin Chinese are often combinations of several characters that also have independent meanings.  An example in English would be the word “stopwatch”.  “Stop” is an independent word, as is “watch”, and when combined, they create a third meaning.  I was so taken with some of the examples she shared that shortly after, I blogged about the word “listen” which in Mandarin made up of three radicals (or combinant characters) – ear, sound and heart (What does good listening really mean?).

Well recently, a colleague in Singapore made me aware of the Chinese word for “crisis” which is made up of two radicals – danger and opportunity.  Wow!  Insightful or what?  As leaders, our days are filled with crises, some large, some small, all of which cause us varying degrees of frustration.  The frustration no doubt comes from the danger, but despite the heat of the moment, what if we were able to spot and focus on the opportunity?  Perhaps we could come out of the difficult situation better off than we were before.

What do you think?  Are you able to spot the opportunity in the face of danger?  Or is it easier said than done?

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