I have just attended a two-day conference, the Norway-Asia Business Summit 2014. It is a high-level meeting place for Norwegian business interests in Asia, focusing on the opportunities as well as the challenges facing Norwegian business in the region.
I had a great time and met many fantastic people. I just wanted to share one thing I came away with from these days.
Although I learned a lot during these two days, and the expert speakers were truly great, I think what impressed me the most was the level of sincerity and passion from everyone there, organizers, attendees, and speakers. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Whether they were business people working in Asia, or visiting Norwegian government agencies, the common thread was a combined sincere desire to do whatever is needed to overcome the challenges that come with working in foreign countries, with cultures that are very different from our own, to make it work and to succeed.
Someone shared a joke about what happened to a Norwegian going to a bar in the US. The bouncer, trying to impress this Norwegian foreigner, greeted him with “Guten Abend” in German. When the visitor tried to explain that he was Norwegian and not German, the American said, “Who fu**ing cares.”
What I saw during these days were people who sincerely care. I saw people with a passion to help each other make it. Norway is a very small country, but these two days helped me understand why Norway, with only 1/1000 of the world’s population is responsible for 1/100 of the world’s trade.
One of the speakers shared this quote:
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
The challenges may be big, and even seem insurmountable at times. But what I experienced at this conference was meeting people with a sincere desire to learn, to share experiences and know-how, to overcome, and to win. I am grateful that I was there, because these two days I witnessed people from so many different backgrounds, business, government, and education, busy working together with the common goal of creating a brighter future. I am now convinced that the future for Norwegian business in the region, created by people like the ones I met at this conference, is indeed very bright.