A Late Afternoon In Changsha

I asked the young fellow, sitting in front of me, watching me eating my late lunch noodle, ‘Do you know what is the man greatest fear?’

My low cost airline flight to Changsha arrived in the late afternoon. No lunch was served and I was starving. Luckily I was welcomed at the airport by two young volunteers who would assist me through this international conference, of which I will be a speaker. Good old Asian tradition of hospitality.

One of them is a good looking woman, young and speaking a fair English. The other is a young men of design profession. He did not speak much but kind enough to drive us all from the airport to the city.

‘It is a good day in Changsha. It has been wet all week. Today you are lucky’, the young woman greet me with a smile.

She graduated marketing programmer in London for few years, from what we had as a socialized conversation. She said the young man also understood English to a certain level but has no confidence in speaking, as he drove us to a local noodle shop to fill me up before arriving at the hotel.

The noodle is a local Chinese one. She told me to be careful of this ‘very’ Changsha style; hot and spicy. I told her I came from Bangkok. Nothing is more hot and spicy that I could not take.

But my attention is with this young man all the time I was having my noodle, which is very tasty. I wanted to push him to the edge of his possibility in a courage to speak the language he already knew. So I asked him that paradoxical question.

Man do not fear of anything that is larger than himself or something that he or she not of knowing. That is not the man’s greatest fear. Man are fear most of about to know of how great he is or how great he could be. Man’s greatest fear is to fear of seeing himself as a ‘shining star’. It is more comfortable for him to live with a fear and stay away from his success; a life he wants to really live in.

We confused ‘being’ self with our brain. Our brain is biological unit that was meant to survive. So taking any ‘risk’ is not a part of a brain’s game. Brain will keep you safe and send in signal as fear to make you safe, don’t take risks, so ‘it’ will live on. That should limit you to your possibilities, including not speaking English.

I told the young man that he is not ‘just’ your brain. The brain do not care of your life you wanted to live in. And your life is not just to survive and live on. You have dreams to realize, a life to live. And that life might be able to begin sooner than you thought if you could concur that fear.

‘Yes, ok’.

Few word finally slipped through. And the young woman seemed to be even more excited to hear her friend voice in the language.

We laugh on that noodle shop for a while longer in the late afternoon sun that kissed the old wooden table, implying the time it passed through in every line of the wood grain, and might have heard thousands of stories before our time.

And there will be a thousand more.

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