A Life of Independence
“Independence” was the theme of our club meeting on 3rd July. We celebrate national independence. But what about individual independence? As individuals, are you truly independent? Do you have the freedom to pursue a life on your own terms? Are you free to do what matters to you the most? Or are your actions being dictated by some external pressure? The pressure of appearing successful. The pressure of money. The pressure of keeping the status quo.
Jason Xu shared his story about his life, and how its evolved over the years. What’s a good analogy of your life? The cup is your life, or your time. Inside the cup, there are things that fill up your life. The disc is yourself. The balls are your family and friends. The stones, which are small but many, are your jobs. This is a good analogy, because if you’ve used up all your space for your jobs, you won’t have space for family and friends, or even yourself. You will always have space for a job, and jobs are easily replaced. It’s difficult to replace yourself and those you love.
The Catalyst for Change
It was 3 years ago, in Beijing, when Jason realised that he needed to change his life.
“I was not happy with my life. I was fully occupied with my work, which left no space or time for my family.”
“In the past 30 years, China’s economy grew so quickly that everyone, including me, worked hard to chase success. I was a senior leader in a hi-tech company, with a work schedule that went 9am to 9pm, 6 days per week.”
“Every evening, when I returned home, I was so tired… I couldn’t even speak one word with my wife… and my kids were already asleep.”
“Sunday was the only day I was with my family. But even though physically I was with my family, mentally I was absorbed with my work and couldn’t enjoy family time. I just kept working. I was not happy with my life. I didn’t know why, or what I really wanted.”
“Finally, on a Sunday morning in July 2015, I had enough. We had to change. We made one of the biggest decisions in our life. My wife, my children and I flew from Beijing to Melbourne and started our new life.”
Starting a New Life
The new environment wasn’t without challenges.
“As a result of our decision, I lost my job. It was the first time we were without income. We met crisis in our marriage as well. I remember sending out my resumes without a single response. I remember walking back and forth between ALDI and Coles just so we could buy cheaper items. I still remember those sleepness nights, when we kept arguing whether it was the right decision to give up everything and start from scratch again.”
If you remember the anology in the beginning, when one door closes, another opens. That is exactly the time to change yourself.
“I began to take a rest and seek the answer. I kept knocking on doors, and eventually the right door opened. I got a new job, and became busier with my work. But this time, I was happy. I understood that the most important thing in life was the people around me.”
Sharing our Life Journey
Jason’s life journey resembles the journey that we all experience. There are many things that you can do with your life. And we realise that we can’t do everything we want. We’ve all had to make difficult decisions and big sacrifices.
One day we’re happy, and the next day we wake up, depressed, thinking, “The future isn’t as bright as it used to be. What should I be doing with my life that will make me happy?” Then when we make a big decision that changes our life, we question whether we made the right decision.
Life is complex, and no one except you can tell you what you should do with your life.
Jason had an inspiring story and a well-crafted presentation that capitivated the audience. If you’d like more life-changing stories, or want to share your own story with a live audience and change your own life, you’re welcome to attend our Toastmasters meetings as a visitor.
p.s. here’s a photo of Jason demonstrating the analogy with his cup and container of stones and balls. You can also see how we’ve set up the stage at Beecroft Uniting Church, which was a special venue we hired for two meetings.