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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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The What vs The Who!    

By Garreth Humphris
2376 Views | 10 Comments | 6/21/2013 3:47:04 PM

One thing I have noticed on CLM website and in dating a few Chinese women in China in particular, many of us are focusing on the result - that is marriage! But I'm still wrestling with this idea - I’m trying to work out what kind of person would you have to be to be successful in life-long inter-cultural marriage!

For me, the journey is the most important thing. I believe that you must be constantly moving in the right direction, to evolve slowly rather than have some sudden miraculous adaptation that instantly sprouts overnight after the vows are said and the paperwork signed and the baiju drunk!

What is the type of person who succeeds in this? Are they lucky? Are they talented? Are they scientifically or biologically more adept than me? Or do they just break enough entrenched ’habits’ in their life to create enough of a groundswell for fundamental change.

strange as this sounds, this is actually what is happening! - my current situation is a consequence of the habits, feelings and beliefs that I have held onto over my life!

And I do have a choice - continue on the same habits to create my current reality - or try to modify them for 'good'...both in thought and deed!

For me, being a good person is habit. You have to work on it every day! And indeed, our habits shape our lives and give us outcomes - the reason you are the way you are is because your habits force this!

We all have habits that we do each day - we might not be aware of how intrenched they are or how they really shape our life - but they are immutable rivers through our life and we must be aware of them is we want to change their flow!

What do i mean? Everyday, we get out of bed and have the same cycle of going to the bathroom, getting dressed, making breakfast and heading to work. Or, we take the same path around the supermarket, eat the same foods, make the same decisions about how we might spend our leisure time. Most of our daily decisions are just habits!

Some of us might disguise a habit as cultural, traditional or societal obligation - believing that we must behave in a certain way! Maybe, we decide that something is our favorite or has some benefit associated with it (it’s healthier, it makes me look better, it's traditional so it must be good!).

And are also pretty good at finding habitual excuses - not enough time, too old to learn or too tired to do it! After all, that is what a habit is, a regularly repeatable task or situation we do without question! An automatic response to a given situation!

These habits...the ones that shape our lives are what we call ’keystone habits'. They are the habits that keep us from changing!

For example, many people have a habit of eating or drinking something every day! Take coffee - my friend has a 10 cups a day coffee-habit and he believes that he cannot really start his day without a coffee! He believes that it makes him irritable if he doesn't drink one! He cannot think properly and he is slowed down by not consuming copious cups, strong and black each day! But, on a weekend, he doesn't drink coffee - he sends time with his family and he is not irritable! He plays with his daughter all day, goes shopping, cleans the house, never runs out of energy! He doesn't need coffee to have his objectives!

The great thing about keystone habits is that you can change a habit and make it life changing! Say for example, I want to lose some weight - it will be better for my health, make it easier and more comfortable to move around, increase my energy and my libido, reduce my risk of disease and change my body image of myself! All good things! Now I could really focus on going on a strict diet - i have good intentions of halving my calorie intake, of weighing myself each day and plotting my weightloss on a graph, writing a target of being a certain weight by a certain day! And if I reach that target, I will rejoice, reward myself with chocolate and probably go back to the same damaging attitudes and experiences! Because I won, I was successful and I look and feel great!

Worse still, if I don't reach my target...say for example I reduce my weight by a significant amount - but not large enough (compared to my target) then I have achieved many of my goals in terms of health outcomes - but I ’failed’ in my target goal! I am not successful, I will revert to my old habits and return eventually to my current status - with the added burden of not being able to achieve a target!

The goal model is a pretty poor one - A much better 'habit' to develop might be whenever I think I want to put something in my mouth to eat or drink - if I have the conscious decision to see if there is a healthier option...if I reach for a sugar drink, wouldn't just water be better? If there is some delicious cake available, wouldn't a smaller serve be better? Or maybe deciding you wont actually have it now! When I go shopping, would choosing more vegetables be better than lots of carbohydrates? Snack - sugary sweet or fruit?
You can see that this response would have a longer term better overall effect that just hitting a score on a graph or buying certain foods because my diet says I must (but not actually believing the diet will last after the target is reached!). A stronger keystone habit would allow me to create a better lifestyle that would sustain my life objective longer! This result is cumulative, additive and supported long term...without obsessing over small details.

You see that if I did the same with body movement - choosing to take the stairs rather than the elevator, walking to work rather than taking a taxi or the nearest bus-stop, modifying leisure-time habits then my complete life would be different!

The important lesson here is that if we want to change an aspect of our life, we must change the ’habits’ that lead to that outcome. Remove the keystones of poor outcomes and replace them with better habits that will sustain a longer change! Instead of embarking on a radical change but not re-establishing new habits, change a keystone habit that will lead to sustained change for ever!

Think about this - is your current ’fate’ an outcome of your habits? Is your current view on your world and your life because of how you start your day, the actions you automatically take without thinking? Do you challenge what you do every day?

So, my question to you is this! Are you in the habit of being a marriage-eligible person in a cross cultural partnership? Are you daily making small changes that expand your horizons and give you insight into the other culture...or are you blindly waiting for ’love’ to happen and then you will deal with it then and there?

Now it's over to you! What is it you are waiting for? Are you setting demobilising goals and dreams or are you becoming the person it takes to make that goal a lifetime reality.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 10 of 10) 1
#2013-06-21 23:46:07 by panda2009 @panda2009

"For me, being a good person is habit. "
This is the best sentence in this artical.

"... if I reach that target, I will rejoice, reward myself with chocolate and probably go back to the same damaging attitudes and experiences! Because I won, I was successful and I look and feel great! "
Good Gareth, chocolate is really a thing which can made children having happiness. But as "a marriage-eligible person", I thought that you would get better reward.

"Now it's over to you! What is it you are waiting for? Are you setting demobilising goals and dreams or are you becoming the person it takes to make that goal a lifetime reality. "
In the river, the chance of catching fish is not so high, but if specifically went to farmed fish ponds, is easy to catch the big fish.

#2013-06-22 10:56:18 by sunrise68 @sunrise68

As to losing weight, I would like to tell you about my success in this, maybe this can be a good advice for you. Around ten years ago I became fat , with bad figure, as a consequence of giving birth, which depressed me. I tried many ways for losing weight. Taking medicine made me dizzy, and I failed to keep using that computer-controled weight losing belt every day. Later on I adopted a method of losing weight by acupunture, and it worked! Back then, I went to a small hospital to receive 45 minute acupunture once every other day, 15 times in all, at the same time I observed the diet the nurse there made for me. This process made me lose 16 jing of weight during 40 days. From then on, I keep that diet more or less; people seeing me always say I am neither fat nor slim, and I can buy clothes fit for me more easily than before, I am happy with this.

#2013-06-22 17:38:47 by aussieghump @aussieghump

@panda2009
The 'chocolate reference' is about going back to bad habits that were not 'removed' because the 'root reason' was not resolved!

Many of us do things because other people decree that it is correct but it doesn't suit us or our deep internal 'habits' are not actually changed by an external force!

#2013-06-22 23:44:12 by kingm @kingm

This blog immediately made me think of a Lao Tzu quote -
"If you do not change direction you may end up where you are heading."

What we do each day both consciously and unconsciously points us in a particular direction. With greater awareness we can choose daily habits that better serve our needs.

Before you can truly know and love another person you must truly know and love yourself.

#2013-06-26 18:48:25 by 99moonriver @99moonriver

I think, nobody should be forced to change himself, n nobody has the right to push other people to follow whatever he (she) isn't willing to follow.

But creating a good relationship n even making it last long n happily, i think both of the couple do needs to adjust themselves now and then. It won't work out well if one of the couple doesnt have the thought of adjust himself (herself). Adjust for the sake of making relationship better, is an art of balance, a sign of respecting n cherishing your partner.

If a person always stick in the hobbies or insist on the way he or she used to be, there will not a space nor a hope to creat a happy relationship.

This is not something about right or wrong, this is something about how willing u could be adjusting yourself for the one u love.

No pains no gains, no adjustment no relationship.

I think people could make a choose, relationship+ adjust, or single+bullhead, :))))))


#2013-06-26 23:29:02 by sandy339 @sandy339

I think I might understand your blog to some degree.

Ok first I think the journey is very inportant, but if I don’t expect any good result, I could not involve or devote to any relationship, I don’t know why. But I try to be in this way, maybe that is one of the reasons why westerners want to try more, rather than staying in one to one relationship, cos they want to experience and enjoy the jorney and they could bear and enjoy being single? My question is how could they enjoy being single? Ok I can understand someones like great philosophers , poets,etc they do enjoy that, or have to, but I cann’t see the reasons for average guys…

“The important lesson here is that if we want to change an aspect of our life, we must change the ’habits’ that lead to that outcome.”Good point! I think I need to start to change my entrenched bad habits from tomorrow:-)

Some answers to your questins:
is your current ’fate’ an outcome of your habits? Yes
Is your current view on your world and your life because of how you start your day, the actions you automatically take without thinking? No
Do you challenge what you do every day? Yes
Are you in the habit of being a marriage-eligible person in a cross cultural partnership? Yes
Are you daily making small changes that expand your horizons and give you insight into the other culture? Yes
are you blindly waiting for ’love’ to happen and then you will deal with it then and there? No
What is it you are waiting for? Try to get a better life? (once I was crazy, I let my students say what they will write on their epitaph, mine is this is an experimental life, no much regrets. One of my students’ is this is a happy life. I like it so much, if anyone said he/she lived a happy life, whatever it might or could be, the life must be worthwhile.)
Are you setting demobilising goals and dreams? No I am still fighting for it.
are you becoming the person it takes to make that goal a lifetime reality? yes I am trying now.

#2013-06-27 13:07:56 by anonymous6711 @anonymous6711

非常赞同. 中国人讲话, 成事必须天时,地利,人和, 缺一不可.

#2013-07-01 00:56:18 by arthurxiong @arthurxiong

Waiting? With a waiting habit I could not loose weight, I could not have a good job, I could not have a good education, I could not have a happy relationship. The waiting strategy is not a habit. It is the art to wait for something that moves in your direction and to catch it. Waiting gives you time to move into a better position. It is the art of managing, using and handling time. When someone is waiting, then for a purpose. To wait for an international marriage not makes sense. If you have choices at home at hand, then you can wait for the chinese girl that crossed you life. If you have no choices, then you have nothing to wait for, then waiting just becomes wasting time, not choosing. In the dimension of marriage, the cultural backgrounds fly away. Naked as we are we face each other. Now, in China there are millions of women with good character, down to earth, not spoiled, hard working, living in the hard reality of a tough and very competitive society, some young, some divorced, some with kids. It makes sense to look in in this 15%-of-world-population for ones love. But leave your lovely habits in the realm of dreams, and face reality as most 2nd- or 3rd-world women do it. Having habits is a luxury which people in tough parts of this world can hardly afford and for sure will not understand your cute but needless habits either. Chinese women are very down to earth and therefore focus on family. Family needs children, health and money. So, if you have a health "habit", a money making "habit" and a sex "habit" - then you are probably Mr. Right for the family "habit". Finally, we are what we are and do for others. That does not leave room for habits or dreams or becoming somebody we imagine somehow. We not exist and not change out of ourself, just by others.
We have to be for someone, every new moment, now.

#2014-07-01 15:31:51 by zqy2014 @zqy2014

yes, one action build one habit, one habit build one personality, one personality build one destiny...

#2014-07-01 15:40:57 by zqy2014 @zqy2014

@99moonriver

great comments, i totally agree! thanks for sharing!

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