Bring Meaning to Work and Purpose to Spirituality

Yan Song's Blog (110)

Swim Free – A Community Program to Regenerate Work Vitality

Before Diving In


What Is Work Vitality?


Simply put, how alive do we feel on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons? Does our work excite us? If you are like most American workers, the answers are decidedly mixed. There may be better days than others but in general finding joy in one’s work has become as rare in Corporate America as winning a…


Added by Yan Song on April 23, 2017 at 1:47pm — No Comments

Faithful in the Routine

That is the title of Joel Osteen’s preach on ABC this morning. He used an interesting metaphor of God as the potter molding clay (us) into objects of art all the while we (clay) feel as though life is pretty routine and even grow resentful about being spinned around for no good reason!


I have had numerous conversations with busy professionals who are dissatisfied with their experience at work, complaining about…


Added by Yan Song on April 23, 2017 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Growing Forever Young

This is an alchemy of several moments in my life over the past a few days.


An old college friend of mine shared a memo by a well known Chinese philosopher (Deng Xiaomeng) of his mother who received no formal education and began writing and publishing assays of her life stories in her late seventies until her death last year at the age of 93. Some of her assays have been highly praised and published by top…


Added by Yan Song on March 26, 2017 at 8:11pm — No Comments

The Evolution of the West: What's Next?

I just finished reading an excellent book by Nick Spencer, titled “The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values”.

For a naturalized citizen born in a very different culture like myself, this book provided a sweeping overview of the Western history from an important (Christian) perspective that I find very helpful and persuasive. It is contextual, interpretive and open minded versus argumentative or…


Added by Yan Song on December 4, 2016 at 10:57pm — No Comments

Man's Search for Meaning

I just finished rereading Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. I feel that I have gained an even deeper appreciation of the man and his work than when I first read it some 25 years ago. I was jobless, depressed and on verge of a divorce then. I have since had a successful career, happily married and stayed emotionally positive most of the time. So what do I mean by deeper appreciation of a book about the meaning of human suffering? Well, the inspiration I got from reading the…


Added by Yan Song on July 31, 2016 at 1:48am — No Comments

Will We Ever See the Spiral Shape of Our Galaxy?

My wife, son (12 years old) and I visited the Adler Planetarium yesterday and took the above picture (with my iphone) of one of many excellent exhibits there. What captured my imagination is the question, “Will we ever see the spiral shape of our galaxy?” The answer is that it could only be seen…


Added by Yan Song on December 31, 2015 at 6:00pm — No Comments

When Inspiration Meets Reality in Business

There are only two potential outcomes whenever human inspiration meets stagnant reality: either the stagnancy is transformed and new form of reality emerges or the inspiration is crushed and status quo persists. Sadly, the latter has always dominated our daily lives as well as human history. Historically, two approaches have been prescribed and attempted to improve this human condition. One is classical stoicism: we can change our fate through the virtues of hard work and discipline. The…


Added by Yan Song on October 13, 2015 at 1:00am — No Comments

Discover Life between Our Skin and Soul

That is the overall impression left in me after reading David Brooks’ “The Social Animal”.


As usual, David Brooks demonstrated both intimate knowledge and masterful skills of depicting the contemporary American upper-middle class: their upbringing, aspirations, anxieties, strengths and weaknesses. The two main characters, Harold and Erica, grew up from different social backgrounds but ended up on the same economic scale through the familiar route of meritocracy in this…


Added by Yan Song on August 30, 2015 at 4:28pm — No Comments

What Can We Learn from a Chinese Banker?

The Financial Times Beijing Bureau chief recently published a commentary praising the Chinese central banker, Zhou Xiaochuan, for successfully devaluating the Chinese currency without suffering internal political persecution or causing an international currency war. This is a remarkable feat given the intense pressures he is facing both domestically and internationally, from two…


Added by Yan Song on August 23, 2015 at 3:02pm — No Comments

Towards Less Dysfunctional Workplaces – Recognizing Patterns of Growth

One of the greatest challenges for anyone involved in a growth relationship is that there are simply too many and often conflicting choices! The wife wants a 2nd child while the husband has already set his eye on a vintage car; a college student aspires to be an artist but also expects a juicy starting salary upon graduation; an employee wants to be recognized as a top performer while the manager has to deal with complaints about his brash communications style; an important…


Added by Yan Song on July 23, 2015 at 10:06pm — No Comments

Towards Less Dysfunctional Workplaces – Getting Out of the Gate

Many years ago I worked on a customer relationship improvement project for a Fortune 500 company. Participants are the customer relationship managers who had had mediocre customer feedback and/or fell under the expectations of senior management.

At our first meeting, I asked everyone to name some challenges of their job. Most complained that they were kept extremely busy, not enough time for their families and work/life balance was terrible. I asked what challenges they had with…


Added by Yan Song on July 19, 2015 at 8:51pm — No Comments

Towards Less Dysfunctional Workplaces – New Principles and Strategies

Not long ago PBS broadcasted a documentary on the history of US cancer research and development over the course of 20th century. The producer chose the name ‘the emperor of all maladies’ to emphasize cancer’s uncanny ability to elude human attempts of coming up with an effective cure. Having observed so many different mutations of workplace dysfunctions, I begin to see some important similarities between the biological attributes of cancer and the cultural characteristics of…


Added by Yan Song on July 15, 2015 at 7:51pm — No Comments

A Wakeup Call from the BoBo Paradise

The New York Times columnist, David Brooks, wrote a new book called “The Road to Character”. It’s a guaranteed best seller thanks to his masterful blend of a conservative outlook and astute observations of contemporary American life. I first heard about his new book on a PBS interview and pre-ordered it before it became available. In the meantime, I read one of his previous books, called “BoBos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There”. I couldn’t stop laughing from beginning…


Added by Yan Song on May 25, 2015 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

Towards Less Dysfunctional Workplaces - Target the Diseases

For most part of my professional career, I have worked in the pharmaceutical industry, still do today. For those who are unfamiliar with the drug discovery process, you might be surprised to know that the most critical and expensive step of making a new drug is NOT to find the cure which is indeed plenty challenging. Even more difficult is to be able to describe, understand and isolate the disease in the first place. It requires the invention and skillful applications of a set of specialized…


Added by Yan Song on April 29, 2015 at 9:54pm — No Comments

Towards Less Dysfunctional Workplaces

All organizations are dysfunctional. That might sound like the ultimate career limiting thing to tell your boss and peers, except at the water cooler and directed towards some common enemies. But it could also be the most liberating and enlightening idea in the history of organized work!

It certainly happened to me about 15-20 years ago. After a short stint in academics and several years in Corporate America, the utopia of my youth were confronted with the harsh reality that most if…


Added by Yan Song on April 26, 2015 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Suffering and Transformational Growth

My good friend, Gerry Bouey, teaches an undergraduate course on work, love and leadership at the Lewis University. One of the key concept and phenomenon that he helps students to grasp and experience is that suffering and transformational growth are two sides of the same coin. One could earn a pay check at a dead end job without ever experiencing any meaningful growth. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there has been plenty of research on the phenomena of post traumatic growth (PTG) as…


Added by Yan Song on December 2, 2014 at 11:48pm — No Comments

The Transformation of Inequality Starts with Us

The ‘Economist’ magazine this week featured several very thoughtful articles on the dysfunctions of contemporary macroeconomics: ‘wealth without workers, workers without wealth’, ‘the disappearance of middle class in developed economies’ and ‘arrested development’ in the developing countries. The ‘Economist’ attributes such macroeconomic challenges to the fundamental characteristics of the 3rd wave of industrialization and governments’ failure of responding to it. Unlike the first…


Added by Yan Song on October 6, 2014 at 12:59am — No Comments

Dead Bodies and Live Spirits

It’s an ironic fact of life that most of us chose to ignore the truth that soon or later our bodies will wilt away when we die. In our efforts of preserving our bodies for as long as possible, we unwittingly neglect to nurture our spirits that outlive our bodies. Is it really such a good bargain? Most people would answer no logically but go on living as though it was the only truth known to man.

In the business world, we label someone as ‘leaving dead bodies on the side’ if she or he…


Added by Yan Song on September 27, 2014 at 12:43am — No Comments

Intimacy, Vulnerability and Trust

In the management classic, The Trusted Advisor, a group of consultants from the top of their profession laid out a roadmap for building trust in their clients. Credibility, reliability, intimacy and non-self-orientation have been prescribed as the path to increasing level of trust for the client-advisor relationship.

In my own experience, credibility and reliability are indeed the necessary foundation of trust in any type of human relationship. Trust, unlike good will, is NOT free and…


Added by Yan Song on September 27, 2014 at 12:30am — No Comments

What We Do

Our Intention
Our Process
Our Method
Feedback (First Timers)
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Discover Our Community
Paul's Frustrations and Hopes
Wake-Up Call (Members Only)
There's Got To Be a Better Way!

The Initial Clue
A Better Way: Improving Real Productivity
A Better Way: Improving Quality of Life
Challenges and Solutions for the Technocrats
Kelly's Five Most Significant Life Stones

Gerry's Five Most Significant Life Stones
Tina's Five Most Significant Life Stones
Yan's Five Most Significant Life Stones
Paul's Five Most Significant Life Stones
Aha Moments
The Experience of Opening Up
Bridging The Intellectual and Emotional Divide
Open Mind - Overcoming the Voice of Judgment
Open Heart - Overcoming the Voice of Cynicism
Open Will - Overcoming the Voice of Fear
Let Go and Let Come
Love, Family and Relationships Part I
Love, Family and Relationships Part II
Love, Family and Relationships Part III
Earth Quakes, Civilization and Progress
The Two Sides of Corporate Responsibility
The Limits of Democracy
On the Right Side of History and Happy Side of Marriage
Learning to Move with the Universe Part I
Learning to Move with the Universe Part II

Transform Your Competance
Play Alone Play Smart
Overcoming the Loneliness of Being
Love, Peace and Intention Part I

Love, Peace and Intension Part II

The Arrow of Heart
Transformation In Context

Masterful Act, New Complexity and Transformation
Small what, small how and Big What, Big How
The Process of Transformation
Go with the Artist
Freedom, Connections and The Creative Tension
How and Why to Write a Case

The Art of Writing a Case
Creating Your Own Master Piece
Master Pieces Are Not Created Overnight
Feedback, Flow and the Quality of Life
Is Nature Becoming More Complex?
Motivation Is the Question
Why Is Nature Inspiring?
Creative Destruction
Creativity and The Architecture of Reality
Growing the Seeds of Intention
Harnessing the Power of Intention

Master Your Practice or Impact Skills
What Do We Mean by Mastery?

Cog on a Wheel
Mining Deeper Energy at Work
Optimizing Organizational Energy
Improving R&D Productivity

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