The magic of a Chinese character

In a country in full boom, from the late 1980s onwards, there was a thirst for knowledge, for learning and for catching up. From the end of the 1990s, I noticed this desire for progress in companies. Companies specialising in training were taking up the American or Japanese classics and sometimes singling them out. More than one seminar used the ideas of Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 habits of the highly effective people” (very well translated into Chinese). In these sessions, the speakers also like to use the richness of Chinese characters to support their arguments. 

The character 赢 which means win, profit, benefit, victory is one of the favorites.  Indeed, this character of 17 strokes (20 in its traditional version), is composed of five characters, which allow to specify the essential ingredients for success. 

What are these five characters?

In these “success” trainings, ying is often approached at two levels, personal victory and company victory.

亡, fuir,wáng
The top part
1. Meaning: to flee, to perish, to die. 
2. Interpretation: danger and crisis allow for preparation, for taking preventive measures. They force to take opportunities to get out from above. Pressure is a driving force. This speech recalls the well-known interpretation of the word crisis, 危机, composed of two characters: danger and opportunity.

口, mouth, kǒu
2nd character from the top
1. Mouth
2. The ability to communicate, the bridge to success.
Communication is the source of most problems (personal or business).

月, meat, month, yuè
1. in classical Chinese, meat. 
2. strength, fight. By taking the other sense of this character month, moon: length, patience.

贝, bèi, shell, cowrie shell, currency in Chinese Antiquity
2. Wealth, fortune. You have to know how to exploit your starting capital and then manage yourself and the company well.

凡, ordinary, fán
1. ordinary, common
2. the permanent state of mind that one must have. Knowing how to stay calm in the storm, make decisions in serenity and act at the right time.

The teachers summed up the victory around five key ideas:

1. Having a sense of crisis
2. Know how to communicate
3. Be combative and patient
4. Knowing how to use and manage capital
5. A permanent state of mind

China, without the Chinese characters, is not China! 

Order of strokes to write 赢 :

The People’s Republic of China has simplified Chinese characters to combat illiteracy.

The traditional characters are a little more “bushy”, they are still used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. 贏 has three more strokes:

20 May 2020

One thought on “The magic of a Chinese character”

  1. Very interesting explanation. Besides, we have everything we need to remember the writing of the character.

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