Letting Go of Ego While Working in Media
(Minghui.org) Greetings Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!
I began practicing Falun Dafa in July 2003 when I was a graduate student. The Epoch Times newspaper had just been launched. It seemed that I was predestined to work with the Epoch Times and the media and that's the cultivation path Master arranged for me.
I've done various jobs, starting as a reporter, an editor, and then helping secure advertisements. After I graduated, I joined the media full-time. I became a sales manager and business executive and gradually participated in all aspects of the newspaper's operation. Later, the English language Epoch Times was launched. I became the director. From typesetting, copying, and publishing, to financial administration, I wore many hats since I was the only full-time staff. I was busy but happy every day.
Because I was so busy with daily affairs, I neglected to study the Fa or doing the exercises. I soon had a lot of problems in my cultivation. My attachments to doing things and validating myself at work surfaced. I felt I was young, capable, and altogether remarkable. Such strong attachments were taken advantage of by the old forces. In August 2005, I was injured in a serious car accident and I nearly died.
The accident was intended to take my life. My left lung collapsed and my left kidney was shattered. I also suffered a broken pelvis, five broken ribs, my spleen was torn and all my internal organs were injured and hemorrhaging.
My injuries were so serious that the hospital almost gave up on me. However, with the blessings of Master Li, the help of local practitioners, and the care of my wife who is also a practitioner, I recuperated without undergoing any surgery. I recovered at a miraculous rate, which surprised the medical staff. In early 2006, I returned to work at the paper.
After such an intense tribulation, I knew I had to look inward and examine my cultivation state. I had regarded my work as cultivation, and neglected Fa study and cultivating myself. Master said,
“Studying the Fa well definitely won't affect anything of yours in your cultivation, and on the contrary, it will help you get twice the results at your job or with your schoolwork with half the effort.” (Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
After I began prioritizing studying the Fa and doing the exercises, I found that I became more productive at work. I kept reminding myself: no matter how busy I was, I could not ignore personal cultivation. I had to set time aside to read the teachings and to do the exercises.
It's Time to Change
There were few Chinese people in my area so only a few thousand copies of ET were distributed each week. I was the only full-time salesperson and there were two or three part-time staff at our local branch. The monthly advertising revenue in the first few years was only a few thousand dollars. Because I taught part-time at a university, plus compensation from the car accident and my wife's salary, my finances were stable. I felt that the local Chinese media didn’t have much potential to grow, and I had a mentality of “muddling along”. From 2006 to 2009, our annual revenue from advertisements ranged from $30,000 - $50,000. When I think about it now, this figure is humorous. But at the time, I didn't feel anything was wrong.
Since 2004, Master began giving lectures on media operations and encouraged us,
“The media outlet run by Dafa disciples will definitely become mainstream media. (Applause) Not only will it become mainstream media, but in the future, it will be the world's biggest media outlet. (Applause) In fact, the framework for the newspaper you run is already the largest. ” (“Teaching the Fa at the Meeting with Asia-Pacific Students”, Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. VI)
Master also urged us to learn from ordinary people's enterprises, hoping that we would enter a positive cycle and become a mainstream media as soon as possible.
One night, I dreamed that I stood in front of a magnificent, towering building that stretched into the clouds. I had the thought, “This is the future headquarters of Epoch Times!” I was still excited after I woke up. However, in reality, the newspaper's operations hadn't had any breakthroughs. Not only at our local small branch but in all other branches, the newspaper, in general, was in the same state from 2009 to 2010.
In 2009, Master mentioned, “the appearance stems from the mind” in his lecture, Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting. When Master gave this lecture I felt that he also cleaned up a lot of interference in other dimensions. Many things began to change for the better.
In the autumn of 2010, the Epoch Times headquarters was located in San Francisco. Coordinators from all over the world gathered and discussed how to learn successful management so that the media could achieve a breakthrough as soon as possible. During the meeting, the director-general put forward the goal of a “monthly income of $1 million for the daily newspaper and monthly income of $100,000 for weekly newspapers.” Most people thought that the director-general made a mistake and what he intended to say was, “annual goal” not the “monthly goal. After confirming it was indeed the “monthly goal”, people were shocked and thought it was an “Impossible Mission”. It caused them to think, however, and ask, “Why is it impossible?”
I also felt pressured after hearing this. After all, our annual income in 2009 was less than $60,000, which was twenty times less than the target! But the mighty wave of Fa-rectification was driving all of us and Master also strengthened our righteous thoughts. After the conference, we talked and decided we would no longer dwell on “whether the goal is feasible”, but began to discuss “how to achieve the goal”.
The intense pressure made me breathless. It was as if a force was pushing me forward. Our local management team began actively looking for methods such as communicating with local practitioners, establishing a management system, expanding the sales team, organizing business training, and improving people’s skills.
At the same time, many external factors were also changing. The headquarters provided strong support. The local real estate market was booming. More people joined the media, including my wife. I quit my faculty position at two universities and devoted myself to the media. At that time, three factors came together: the timing was right, geographical and social conditions were favorable, and the entire sales team was in an upward cultivation state. Our performance achieved rapid growth, and our revenue increased five-fold from 2009 to 2011. The changes over the past few years manifested the power of mindset and Master's teaching, “...the appearance stems from the mind.” (“Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,” Collected Fa Teachings, Vol. X).
In early 2012, my wife and I moved to New York to participate in another project. In 2015 we returned and witnessed once again the annual income of the newspaper increasing from $300,000 to $610,000 in three years. Such a figure was unimaginable before. With the blessings of Master and the efforts of fellow practitioners, we achieved it. The monthly income of $100,000 is no longer an "impossible mission".
All Our Wisdom and Capabilities Come from Dafa
After I joined the media, I gradually began to feel that Dafa had given me wisdom. I played many roles over the years. It seemed that I could handle any role. My achievements were recognized by others, including customers, the paper's directors and colleagues. With my ears filled with praise, my attachment to how capable I was grew.
In fact, I realized very early that I always had a strong sense of "elitism". Just like Master said, “In the workplace, a person may feel that others are not as capable as he is. Whatever he does, he does it well. He finds himself indeed remarkable.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun). Although I don't feel others are inferior to me and I'm not jealous, I really feel that I'm quite remarkable.
I kept suppressing this. But I hadn't eliminated this deep attachment so it kept surfacing. I recently participated in a large-scale project. I always remind myself to be humble and low-key. However, another coordinator bluntly said, “Your tail is sky-high!" I was both surprised and amused. His words made me think. There must be something I hadn’t done well to make him say that.
What alarms me even more is the following. Some practitioners are outstanding but, they're attached to their capabilities. They flaunted themselves and looked down on others. Gradually, they encountered problems in their cultivation. Many left their projects and some even stopped practicing. I reminded myself that all our wisdom and abilities come from Dafa. We should not take credit for what Master has given us. Master said,
“And in my eyes nobody is better than anyone else, since I scooped all of you up at the same time. (Applause) Some are more capable when it comes to one thing, others with another--you definitely shouldn't let your thoughts run wild based on that. You say that you have such great abilities and so on and so forth, but that was all bestowed upon you by the Fa! Actually, it wouldn't work if you failed to attain that level of abilities. Fa-rectification required your wisdom to reach that point, so you definitely shouldn't think that you're so capable. Some practitioners want me to check out their abilities and skills. But actually, what I think is, all of that was given by me, so there's no need to look. ” ( Teaching the Fa at the 2003 Lantern Festival)
Eliminating Ego and Cooperating with the Coordinator
I often have different opinions from the supervisor or the coordinator in some business operations. It's reasonable to have different understandings about media operation management because of different life experiences, different personality characteristics, different levels of cultivation, different responsibilities, and different perspectives.
If I think that the supervisor or coordinator has handled something or someone incorrectly, I express my opinion. As to whether they accept or take into consideration my opinion, I don't insist on it or argue about it. If the supervisor asks me to do it, I do it, although I may not agree with him in my mind. I may still secretly insist on my own opinion. This caused me to develop a mentality of complaining.
I follow my understanding unless there are direct instructions from the coordinator. My understanding sometimes doesn't match the coordinator’s ideas. One time the coordinator asked me bluntly: “Am I coordinating with you or will you coordinate with me?” I realized that although I was insisting on my principles, I shouldn’t agree on the surface but oppose him in secret.
I often thought, “I'm right and he's wrong. My method can help the project develop better.” These kinds of complaints can form a negative factor in another dimension and may hinder the project. I also aired my views with other practitioners who shared my opinions. We complained about the coordinator. This later became a habit. It negatively impacted the coordinator and also strengthened my attachment.
A few months ago, I began talking with a practitioner and automatically started complaining about the coordinator. She interrupted me and said, “You talk about your boss behind his back. It doesn't look good.” My face became hot and an alarm went off in my mind! I thought, “How can I do this? Talking behind someone's back!? Would a practitioner behave like this?” I thanked her for warning me. I suddenly realized that I had this deeply-rooted attachment!
I would like to sincerely apologize to that coordinator! I've really said a lot of bad things about him. After that day I stopped criticizing him. Master also saw my willingness to eliminate this attachment. Now I can understand and agree with the coordinator's decisions. It seems that I don't have much to complain about.
Although I still have different opinions about some things, my attachment to ego and my mentality of complaining has become weaker. I now cooperate with the coordinator more smoothly. I think this is what Master wants to see, and it can also have a more positive effect on our media projects.
Above is my shallow understanding. Please point out anything improper.
Thank you Master! Thank you fellow practitioners!(Presented at the 2019 NTD and Epoch Times Fa Conference)