Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Mr. Charles Yeung speech at the Hall of Fame of Peking University

Translated by Soula Lo 

How can we innovate? First, we have to find the “door.” If we can find the door and the right person, then every goal will be easy to reach.

 But what is the door of innovation?

  1. Innovation needs to develop toward the blank (empty) spot.

We need to find the blank spot of the market, this is the priority. Secondly, we need to develop our strength toward high technology. Compared to the United States and Europe, our nation’s strength in technology still is some distance behind theirs. Therefore, we have a lot of work to do to make this distance closer, and this can provide a vast market. When you find the items in which you have advantages, you should then spend more time to dig deeper, and this way you will find the door for your innovation.

 2. Innovation needs inspiration.

From my personal experience, we can find the inspiration in markets; find the inspiration from products; find the inspiration from work; find the inspiration from life. And another way is to find inspiration from books. Just keep searching, keep looking, keep listening and keep feeling for it. The human mind is like that of a horse or an ape. We need to pull our mind back and train that mind to focus, and the mind will sink into the books gradually. If one day your mind gets the feeling, that says you have experienced something, and have communicated with your mind, then you will have the opportunity to innovate. 

 3. Continue to innovate.

I value the following lines as my mantra, “When others don’t have, I will have; when others do have, I should be excellent; when others are excellent, I will change.” And change to where? Turn the focus to the blank spot in the market. 

 4. The best skill is to be like water.

And just as is the water’s quality, it can permeate into every gap. It can go anywhere in the downstream, it can leak into any crevice. This is the best water-like method; its precious ability to permeate into any crevice. 

5. Believe, understanding, practice and verify.

Believe: believe other people’s experience once researched.

Understand: understand in theory.

Practice: put it into practice in daily life and work.

Verify: practice is the only standard to verify truth. 

6. Spend 10 years to steel one sword.

The lucky ones may be able to succeed in 1 or 3 years, but sometimes you may not be very lucky, and you probably need to spend 5, 7, or 10 years to steel one sword. You need to prepare to spend 10 years to steel one sword. If you can steel one sword in 10 years, it’s not too bad. If you cannot succeed to steel one sword in 10 years, then you need to keep practicing for 20 or 30 years, and eventually you will succeed. If you spend enough time and effort to work on something, even an iron pestle can be ground down to a needle. If you want to achieve high ambitions, you need to put a lot of effort in it. 

As for entrepreneurship, I have the following experience to share:

1. One heart and three willings.

The condition of entrepreneurship needs to have one heart and three willings. First, you need to ask yourself if you have the heart willing to carry responsibilities. You need to have great aspirations, the ability to adjust yourself, give out your heart; allow that heart to become a heart that is willing to carry responsibilities: a heart willing to bear burdens. Three willings are: willing to let others to take advantage of you, willing to work hard, willing to learn. Ask yourself: why do you want to go to college? Is that because your parents ask you to? Or your teachers ask you to? Or you ask yourself to do so? Take a good look at your own heart.

One needs to do introspection of oneself, for the family and for society. One needs to improve oneself continually, needs to examine oneself continually, and one needs to do self-examination every year, every month, every week, and even every day. 

2. Need to learn. The priority of learning is modesty.

Confucius would ask others if he didn’t understand something. He would humbly ask others; even ask people who were far below his status. Second, find a teacher. The ancients said, “A great teacher produces a brilliant student.” With good opportunity and good karma, you will find a good teacher who will give to you great benefits for your career. Third, learn to work in the workplace, and learn to live in life. 

3. The content of learning is to learn the skills of dealing with matters and

    getting along with others.

When we do our job, we need to take it very seriously, and when we conduct our behavior, we need to be tolerant. Second, we need to be a decent person before we learn to deal with matters. How to be a decent person? When we learn how to get along with others, we need to learn to allow others to take advantage of us. If we know how to let others take advantage of us, it will be easier to deal with matters in the future, and gradually step onto a successful road. 

4. Connect theory with actual practice.

After we learn the theories, we need to put them into practice in work and in life. Walking a thousand miles is better than reading a thousand books; meaning, we need to cultivate a spirit of experimentation with a spirit of practice. 

5. The main focus is to put it into practice.

Action is very important, as a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. If someone asks, “Where is the road? How can we become successful?” The road is under one’s feet. One minute of performance on stage comes from 10 years of practice. 

6. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

We need to have three hearts: the heart of career, the heart of resolution, and the heart of perseverance. We need to have the heart for a career that seeks success, plus resolution and perseverance, and then we will have the opportunity to succeed.

Entrepreneurship also needs to learn these three goods: good at observation, good at deep thinking, and good at making conclusions. If you can continually observe everything, do deep thinking, and make good conclusions, you will achieve your goal one day. In tradition, there is another way, “The boxer’s fist must stick to its task, and the singer’s mouth no rest must ask.” Continue to practice for 12 or 16 hours a day, then you can become a boxer, or become a successful singer. Furthermore, “Combining knowledge with action; put best effort into your work.” Combining knowledge with action means, the theory needs to connect with practical usage. Put best effort into your work means, be mindful about everything you are doing, give all your effort into everything you are doing. Be a bit more attentive in work and in daily life. If you persist in this way for one year, two years, or three years, you will definitely gain some achievements.

When young people enter society, they need to avoid three things:

1. Avoid laziness. Examine yourself. If you have this demon in your heart, steel your mind every day; try to control the feeling of laziness.

2. Avoid distractions. Too many goals and thinking too much are big distractions.

3. Avoid pride. Try not to be arrogant with only a small amount of achievement.

Young people need to achieve these “Three Musts.”

1. Must be diligent. Be diligent at work.

2. Must be focused. Focus on less than

3 goals. Must be modest. Find some good teachers. Find good friends and practice for one year, two years, or three years. Do this and then you will definitely have some achievements.


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