Postcards from China

(Editor’s note: Doug Dickerson, author of Management Moment, a regular Daniel Island News column, has spent the last five weeks in China leading a team of teachers and students teaching ESL to Chinese students. Below, he provides two blog posts as part of his “Postcards from China” series documenting his travels.)


“Keep the circus going on inside you, keep it going, don’t take anything too seriously, it’ll all work out in the end.” – David Niven

It’s week three of my adventures in China and it’s been an incredible experience so far.

After overcoming many unexpected challenges and obstacles last week, it was only fitting over the weekend for our team to drive down to Guangzhou to attend the famous Chimelong International Circus.

If you ever make your way over to this part of the world, put the Chimelong International Circus on your list of things to do. It’s simply amazing and there are leadership/life lessons to be applied.

Your life in leadership can resemble a circus at times. Think about it – there are many moving parts – a ton of distractions, near disasters, a ton of thrills- all while entertaining the masses.

Sound familiar?

Regardless of what life or leadership throws at you, here are a few things worth remembering- a few lessons from the circus…

• Laughter is good medicine because life is too short.

• Along the way, don’t forget to have some fun.

• Even clowns serve a purpose.

• When the show is spectacular no one will remember your mistakes.

• And yes, the show must go on!


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

As I write this postcard, I am in my fifth and final week here in the Guangdong province of southern China. It’s been an incredible journey – one that I will never forget.

As I reflect on my time here, I must make a confession. I came here with a lot of wrong assumptions. Of course, if we are honest, we can all look to times in our lives when we’ve made wrong assumptions about people or things. That can be good, or bad, depending upon your individual circumstances.

In my case, I am glad to say I was wrong. My preconceived views of this beautiful country and its people were not tied to the realities of everyday life I see here. It had been skewered by the lens of political and religious differences, which, while real, made me unnecessarily cautious.

The Chinese people are warm, hospitable, beautiful, and most willing to help a stranger. So, enjoy the picture above from this remarkable country, and as you do, think about old assumptions that you’re holding onto. Perhaps it’s time to let them go.

Follow Doug’s blog at

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