For Chinese the number 8 is considered lucky just like the number 7 is considered lucky in the West. Known as the symbol of harmony and balance, eight is also a homonym for prosperity, abundance and power. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in China began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm. It is so revered that people often pay extra to have the number 8 in their phone number or on their license plate.
So, why is the number 8 considered lucky in Chinese culture? Some say it has to do with the pronunciation of the word for the number 8 in China. It is pronounced "ba" and sounds like the word for prosperity which is pronounced "fa". Another reason why the number 8 could be considered lucky is because it is a perfect symmetrical shape. You can cut the number 8 in half vertically or horizontally, and both halves mirror themselves perfectly. Perfect symmetry lends itself to perfect balance. In Chinese astrology, perfect balance is considered the ideal.
With that in mind, I am answering 8 questions submitted on my Instagram!. I hope to make this a somewhat regular occurrence if I can. So..off we go!
• How do you recommend starting a dope art collection like yours?
First off, don’t think of it as “starting a collection,” which is more performative than personal. If you love art and want to surround yourself with it, find ONE piece that speaks to you and that you want to see in your home. Don’t worry about the artist’s pedigree or whether it’s going to grow in financial value. The value it brings to you has nothing to do with money.
Look in galleries, at street fairs, antique and consignment shops – anywhere art is sold. Don’t spend more than you can reasonably afford, but don’t be chintzy either. Good art doesn’t grow on trees, and good artists have bills to pay.
Buy pieces that speak to you and, to quote Marie Kondo, spark joy in some way. Then display them in your home with pride. When it comes time to buy more, look for more joy.
And don’t worry too much about whether your pieces work together. As anybody who’s seen my home can attest, my collection is eclectic and, though tasteful, not exactly coordinated. And I love it all.
• Do you think it’s important for women to attend Graduate school?
I think it’s important for women to be bold and brave, and if that means investing in graduate school so that you can be the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg, do it. But be realistic and pragmatic. Student debt is real, and I don’t recommend burying yourself in too much of it.
All of us need to walk that fine line between living our dreams and paying the bills. Of course, women are, as a general rule, more risk averse than men are. And that means many of us who could run for office, start a business, or go for broke in some other way don’t do it because we are apparently genetically programmed to avoid risk so that we can keep a roof over our and our children’s heads. And that means lots of us aren’t living up to our potential.
So, what to do? First, think big. What’s the big idea you have in the back of your mind? It may be completely unrealistic today, but if you can at least admit that you want that big crazy dream, you can start finding ways to make it happen. Work backward from that crazy goal, and decide on a few steps you can take today, this week, or this year, to make them happen.
I digressed from the original question – whether I think it’s important for women to attend grad school – but I hope I still got to the essence of an answer.
• What do you love most about your job?
I love that my clients come to me for advice and that, by virtue of having been a lawyer for 30+ years, I’m in a good position to see around corners and help them achieve their goals.
In many ways, no two days are the same. But I’ve also seen a lot over three decades, so I’m not worried someone is going to give me a legal challenge that I simply can’t find an answer to.
• What is the best advice you ever received?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. I also created a corollary for myself: if I’m feeling too comfortable, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
Growth happens when we get out of our comfort zone, so I look for as many ways to do that as possible.
• Did you have a mentor when you were younger?
Not really. At least, I didn’t have any mentors who realized they were mentoring me. As a young lawyer, I was a keen observer of other lawyers, and I paid particular attention to those who were in leadership roles or were successful at developing business, and I learned from them what I should and shouldn’t do to become the lawyer I wanted to be.
There was almost nobody who “looked like me” in leadership at the time (late 80s, early 90s), so I never found a senior woman lawyer (let alone a senior Asian-American woman lawyer) who could guide me through the landmines of the professional world. But I did the best I could.
Would I have liked to have had a mentor? Absolutely. But I was able to make it work without one.
I try to make up for it now by mentoring as many young lawyers as I can, both formally and informally.
• Besides fly fishing, how do you unwind?
A few years ago, I discovered golf, and that has become my go-to activity when I’m not working. Besides, It’s a little easier to get to a golf course in Dallas than it is somewhere to fly fish. Here’s my ode to golf.
• What’ the most valuable thing you learned from Grant?
You can do anything you set your mind to. I always gave lip service to that idea, but when I saw my son take on an extremely academically demanding high school and an even harder undergraduate curriculum AND a competitive tennis career demanding loads of travel at the same time, and then a complete transition away from all of that directly into law school, I gained new appreciation for what you can accomplish with sheer determination (and brains and talent, of course).
So if you think something is impossible, the first thing you need to do is let go of the word “impossible.” The rest of work, of course, but it’s most likely completely possible.
• What are you currently reading?
Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” She is the picture of elegance and style, she’s authentic, funny, brilliant, and inspiring. And her book captures all of that and more.