What matters most to you, and why?
My open mindedness matters to me most. My experiences as a cross-cultural teen instilled this value in me. I was born in Hong Kong and moved alone to Taiwan to live with my grandmother when I was 12. I struggled to learn the language, Mandarin, and to live and learn alongside children from a very different culture. I was like some alien from outer space in Taiwan – generating stares but not acceptance. However, by being open minded about both my potential and the potential of this little island, I succeeded in adapting. I spoke back to the television set to practice Mandarin; I read books and watched videos to learn Taiwan's culture, history, and literature; and I helped my fellow classmates in our math and English studies, building friendships that I now know will last our lifetimes. I learned to hug every obstacle, to appreciate and to honour differences among people and cultures. Maintaining that commitment to open mindedness has not been easy. For instance, since I was good with numbers I decided to study accounting, but I found the subject dry. I longed to tap my creative side in the business world and I read multiple biographies to find out how other like-minded historical and contemporary figures – from Napoleon to Jack Welch – had managed to bridge these cultures of effectiveness and creativity. I found my answer in George Lois's What's the Big Idea? How to Win with Outrageous Ideas (That Sell!). Lois had found a way to grow businesses through ingenuity, and I recognized that this was the open-mindedness in business that I was seeking. I enrolled in several advertising classes and learned how to capture others' attention, communicate my ideas, and inspire others' desire. I applied these ideas in class – creating a China penetration strategy for Nokia and developing a new line of credit card for a Taiwanese bank. Amazingly, our ideas for Nokia to target the high-end market matches what Nokia itself is now executing...
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