Stuart Beaton is back, guest blogging about how to make the most of living in China–without losing your sanity. (And after or even before you read this post, check out his site at http://rastous.podomatic.com.) Without further adieu, here’s Stu:
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a comic book nerd. I like the idea of having a secret identity, and the possibility of having powers beyond that of mortal men.
Since I came to China, I’ve tried – and failed – to be Superman.
However, while I might not be a superhero, I can at least live like one. Here’s five short tips to help you out:
1. Have a solid base to work from.
You can’t imagine The Thing working out of the trunk of his car, or Spiderman roughing it in a web spun in a cardboard box. Every superhero worth his salt has a place to call home, somewhere to operate out of. Ok, so we can’t all have a Fortress Of Solitude, but unless you’ve got a reliable place to sleep at night, you’re hardly living.
Make sure that your apartment has all the things that you need to make your life work properly – fridge, water heater, air conditioner and the like. If it doesn’t, take steps to make sure it will do very soon!
2. Have costume, will work.
If the Green Lantern turned up in a tatty pair of overalls, villains probably wouldn’t take him seriously – even if his super powers were in full operation. It’s the same for us mere mortals. Make an effort with your clothes, dress to fit the situation, and you’ll find that people have more trust and confidence in you.
Employers value their image, and you reflect it – you can’t be a rag bag, and hope to impress!
3. Do your homework.
Batman spends hours (and thousands of dollars) on researching the problems he faces. Sure, you and I can’t run to having Lucius Fox in our basement, cooking up great pieces of kit, but we can spend time using the resources we have. Prior planning really does prevent poor performance, folks.
Take the time to work out what it is that you hope to achieve each day, and in the long term – don’t just lurch from crisis to crisis!
4. Don’t let your alter ego clash with your secret identity.
Clark Kent doesn’t get into pub brawls, and Superman doesn’t hunker down in front of a laptop all day. Try and keep work and play separate – but leave plenty of time for both.
We all need to balance our lives, and you can’t live, sleep and breathe your job. If you don’t take time out for yourself, and your family, you’ll implode!
5. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
The Arc Reactor that powers Iron Man’s armour isn’t an infinite source of energy – sooner or later, it’s going to run out of steam. Superman’s powers fade with a wave of a kryptonite wand, and Batman’s just a really fit guy in body armour. If you’ve got particular strengths and skills, play to them, and try to avoid situations that will highlight your weak points. Everyone has their limits, even The Hulk, so know yours before you do something.
No one can work forever, so make sure you take a break when you need it. If you don’t, you’re not going to be working at your best!
Now, I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, or even stop a speeding bicycle with your bare hands, but I’m fairly sure that if you try these things out, your life might just be that bit more super. Even the smallest of changes will be magnified greatly over time, so they’re well worth trying out.
Right, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to take the lift to my next class – but remember this:
If I wasn’t hiding my secret identity, I’d fly to my classroom, tear the window out of the wall, and telepathically transmit my lesson to my students… then take off to stop a bank robbery somewhere!