When is the Second Best Time to Plant a Tree?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”  –Lao Tzu

Giant Redwood - Cathedral Trees Trail - Orick, CA
Giant Redwood – Cathedral Trees Trail – Orick, CA

Many people spend too much time dwelling on the past or agonizing over the future. This is counterproductive since you can’t change the past nor can you control the future.

The past is useful for learning – if you make a mistake, take note of it and move on. Anything beyond that is self-inflicted punishment. 

As for the future, I tend to like the notion that my actions today dictate where I will be tomorrow and beyond. Good daily habits and moving slowly towards goals will eventually lead you to happiness and fulfillment.

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to pursuing your dreams, no matter how bold. Start today by writing down the thing you’ve always wanted to do, then make a plan to make it happen – it could change your life. Whether your dream is to go back to school, learn how to scuba dive or go backpacking for a year in Asia – it’s never too late to take action.

I’d love to hear stories from readers about how they finally got the courage to chase after a lifelong dream!


Teaching English in China: Equal Parts Indiana Jones & Mister Rogers

I’ll never forget the day I announced to my family my plan to move to China to teach English. The astonished looks on their faces followed by the predictable question, “WHY???”, will stay with me for a long time.

One good friend was particularly supportive: “That’s a third world country, bro. Good luck.”

Little did they know the amount of research and planning I had done before I announced my bold plan. In fact, I had already gone so far as to finish a 100-hour TEFL course at UCLA.

My TEFL course instructor spent several years in China and Taiwan – he urged me to reconsider my original plans to teach in South America. His reason was simple, “Move to China and learn Chinese. That’s a language you’ll be happy to know in a few years.”

So I did.

Four years later I can say with confidence it was the best decision I ever made. I was 29-years old and had only been outside North America two times – it was time to go see the world.

I taught for two years with a great school in Tianjin then was lucky enough to stumble upon a job as a project manager for a growing Japanese company on the outskirts of the city. Two more years later, I established enough of a professional network to start my own recruiting company in China, ESL Suite. My “one year plan” quickly became four; four years will likely become seven or eight.

Now people ask me all the time: “What’s it like teaching English in China?”. I like to tell them, “It’s equal parts Indiana Jones and Mister Rogers.”

Admittedly, I’m probably more like 80% Rogers and 20% Indy (if that), but you get the general idea.

Now when I return to my hometown in Buffalo, my friends and family are thrilled to hear about the interesting experiences I’ve had. Their faces are just as astonished as that fateful day I told them I was heading to the Far East.

I’m not usually the type to say, “I told you so.”, but I never miss the opportunity to tell them directly to their faces, “我已经告诉你们我来中国生活就是个特别好的想法!”. (Roughly Chinese for: “I told you so.”).

Gratuitous self promotion: 

If you’re the adventurous type and a native speaker of English, don’t hesitate to fill out our application form today! Exciting opportunities may be just around the corner!