A couple of summers ago our family had the opportunity to visit China. On the first day of our trip I found myself in trouble.

We sat down to have our first meal in the country and the waiter handed me a pack of chopsticks. Uh-oh!

I was horrible. The first week I lost about five pounds. Not because the food was bad. It was because I was a disaster with the sticks.

There was no turning back, though. No forks in sight. It was sink (starve) or swim time.

After a week, I began to get the hang of them. After two weeks, I was showing signs. By the end of the trip, they were suggesting that I take on an Asian name.

Using chopsticks three times a day for three weeks reminded me that proficiency is available in almost any discipline … but discipline is required.

Any time you try something new, there definitely is a learning curve. Unfortunately, the curve is when most people give up. For some reason we all like straight roads more than the crooked ones. May I remind you, the best places are at the end of crooked roads … places where the view is worth the effort to get there.

On the last night of our trip I attended a cookout with our team members and a group of Chinese high school students. The meal was grilled chicken and baked beans. It was the first western meal I had eaten in a couple of weeks.

I found myself sitting by a young boy from China, both of our plates loaded down, but with one noticeable difference. In his hand was a shiny American fork, and in mine was a set of old wooden chopsticks.

In that moment I was proud of us both. For we both had mastered the challenging “lesson of the learning curve.”

I hope you have too.

Leadership Begins at Home,


When was the last time you tried something new?

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Author: Randy

Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.