Dwight's adventurous and curious "life experiments" in Kunming

Press the "play" button! The crackling rock music was on. Dwight Goldwinde started an improvised dance and invited the people sitting nearby to dance with him. He swayed the body and turned a circle. That's how Dwight opened the English corner class for the Curious, or E3C in abbreviation; the atmosphere instantly enlivened.

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English corner class for the Curious.

This grey-haired American man lives in Kunming, working as a life coach, a job uncommon to most Chinese people. "I wish everyone could relax and learn something in this joyful class," said Dwight, which was his original aspiration for opening the English corner class.

Dwight has run E3C in Kunming for over 10 years. People from all walks of life came to join the class. Not only could people practice their spoken English, but they also tell Dwight their plights or confusion in life. Every time, people could get solutions to their problems through Dwight's funny and humorous guidance......     

Life is a playground: from software engineer to life coach

Dwight sometimes performed a dance at the English corner class for curiosity,  bursting with enthusiasm. It's hard to tell he is over 70 years old and often dubbed himself a "curious child."

Dating back to 1966, Dwight worked as a computer software engineer starting with IBM in the United States. And then, he started his own company and spent the next 18 years working in the computer software consulting business.

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Dwight

By chance, Dwight came to Scottsdale, Arizona, to attend a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) workshop, and he fell in love with "Valley of the Sun". At 35, he packed his bags without hesitation and moved to Tempe, Arizona.

Dwight was quite satisfied with life in Arizona, except that he could not keep promises to himself, ranging from trivial chores to work tasks. He was frustrated with low self-esteem and was once even in depression.

One day, Dwight recalled a sentence learned at the NLP course "Behind every behavior is a positive intention". Until today, he could repeat this sentence word by word in a firm and clear tone, like a youngster. 

"This saying is very powerful and positive," said Dwight, which encouraged him and changed his perspective on life. Dwight began to see things in an optimistic way and read a lot of psychology and philosophy books. He eventually reconciled with himself and even invented an efficient way to overcome his difficulties.

"At that time, I could achieve about 30 things to myself daily with a completion rate of over 98%." Meanwhile, Dwight discovered that his relatives and friends had a similar problem, so he treated them with the same method invented.

Gradually, more and more clients turned to him for help, and Dwight finally embarked on the career he was truly passionate about. In 1987, he became a professional life coach, providing people with life and career guidance services.

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Dwight was giving a speech.

"Life is a playground." To Dwight, life is filled with endless joy. You will reap unexpected rewards if you face life with positivity. From software engineer to life coach, not only did he play with his life, but he also helped many people to live a better life. 

The year 2022 is the 35th year for Dwight to work as a life coach. He has successfully coached thousands of people of all ages from all walks of life, including an Intel executive, homemakers, lawyers, psychologists, etc., and also trained several excellent life coaches.

Find the station in life journey: from Valley of the Sun to Spring City

At Dwight's apartment in Kunming, a photo wall on the left side of wooden steps leading upstairs is covered with pictures of Dwight from his childhood to the present. Some photos faded away, leaving traces of time, and telling one story after another. You can find Dwight's interesting life by putting these memory pieces together. 

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A photo wall at Dwight’s Kunming apartment.

During 18 years living in Arizona, Dwight went through marriage and divorce. In November 1999, he made the biggest move of his life from the USA to Tokyo, Japan. After one year there, he visited China, was deeply impressed by Chinese culture, and decided to settle in Shanghai.

In his spare time, Dwight pondered on the past few years as a life coach, and wrote a 700-page book Courage: the Choice that Makes the Difference—Your Key to a Thousand Doors, published in 2004. This book is fun and serious, encouraging people to “make a difference through courage”.

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The cover of the book "Courage."

Dwight once came to Kunming for holidays during his stay in Shanghai. He was drawn to Kunming's beautiful environment, rich culture, and long history. In January 2020, Dwight moved again to Kunming, the "Spring City" of China.

"Kunming is the most livable city with pleasant weather, favorable living cost, and hospitable folks."

In Dwight's profile on the Amazon page of his book "Courage", he praised Kunming as "the best city in the world".

In addition to Kunming, he also visited other places of interest, such as Jianshui, Yuxi, Lijiang, Dali, Zhongdian, and Hekou, to enjoy the natural landscape and customs in Yunnan.

Dwight's Kunming friends usually asked him questions: Whether are you accustomed to living in Kunming? Are there any cultural conflicts you encountered? He answered with a smile, "Yunnan people are quite open-minded. I can feel at ease and open my heart here because, in America, people need to be careful about what they say. However, in another country, I can say what I cannot say in the US, which breaks the cultural constraints. I call it 'cross-cultural free effect'."

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Dwight was writing a poem.

Dwight is optimistic and is always able to resolve conflicts in his life. He is also a person full of vigor. He gets up at 2 o'clock in the morning, exercises, reads, and writes poetry. Even today, he keeps working online to provide life coaching services to people in the USA and other parts of the world. "I can finish 35 to 42 tasks on the to-do list," said Dwight.

Pluck up the courage to create miracles: from strangers to friends

Kunming not only brings Dwight a relaxing and comfortable living environment but also offers him a place to practice his concepts about life. In 2009, when he saw lotus flowers in full bloom in Green Lake Park's pond and people taking a leisurely stroll under the shades of trees, he came up with a bold idea that he had been doing since 1995 in Japan.

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Dwight at Fuxian Lake.

On a sunny afternoon in Green Lake Park, dappled shadows were cast on the winding paths, and crisp birds' chirping mingled with the sound of Er’hu fiddle. Dwight stood in the park, holding an outstanding sign, "Speaking English for Fun", and waited silently for everyone passing by......

People walked closely to read the sign and talk with him. At this time, a medium-sized girl with long hair in distance approached the sign. After carefully studying the sign, she said "Hello" to Dwight, and then they struck up a pleasant conversation. Dwight learned her English name is Heidi. 

Over the half day, a total of more than 30 strangers came to chat with him, and they became friends, exchanging names and contact information with each other.

"It was an amazing and unforgettable experience!" Dwight wishes to help people overcome their timidity and apprehension of interacting with strangers through these experiments and encourage them to meet new friends. He often told his friends and clients around him, "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet".

After this audacious and exciting experiment, Dwight made up his mind to move from Shanghai to Kunming. Meanwhile, he was seeking an assistant to take care of his consulting work. However, he could not find a suitable person through online recruitment and recommendation from his friends. Suddenly, he recalled the friends he had made in Green Lake Park. 

Dwight contacted around 30 people of them, respectively. Finally, Heidi became his assistant and has remained so ever since. "Heidi is understanding, smart and capable. Her words often inspire me to think." Dwight is very pleased with Heidi's work. Heidi went from a stranger to Dwight's good friend and right-hand assistant.

If you have courage, a stranger can become not only your friend but even a lover. As the name of the book "Courage" by Dwight, courage could help you obtain more opportunities. Dwight has always practiced this concept and experienced a romantic relationship in Kunming. It was in the year 2020 that Dwight just came to Kunming. He frequented a Thai restaurant and talked to a young part-time manager once in a while. She left him a good impression of being "smart, talkative and pretty". One day, he dined at this restaurant again as usual, and when he was about to leave, he held hands with the manager, and surprisingly she said, "Dwight, your cologne smells good today." 

At this moment, Dwight felt it was the perfect timing, and he plucked his courage to pursue the young manager passionately; and she eventually became Dwight's girlfriend. Life is full of miraculous adventures, and everything is worth trying and taking risks.

Use wisdom in your life: from English corner to life-coaching class

In Dwight's bright and spacious living room, there were 8 to 9 people sitting around and listening carefully to him.

"What is one thing you constantly procrastinate to do?" asked Dwight, with the interpreter, who translated his words into Chinese.

"I procrastinated to see a dentist," a middle-aged woman in khaki clothes said, with giggles then erupting from all around.

"What about you?" Dwight referred to the next man.

"I often procrastinate in doing housework," the man answered, and everyone smiled and whispered.

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English Corner Class for the Curious.

After everyone finished speaking, Dwight announced a great solution to procrastination. He gently stroked the gray and white cat lying next to him and raised his voice, "Have you ever considered the benefits of procrastinating doing this thing?" All of them were confused by his words, which they had never heard of. "What? There are some benefits of procrastination?"

Dwight noticed the confusion on people's faces. He explained patiently, "According to the NLP principle: 'Behind every behavior is a positive intention', for example, the benefit of putting off your chores is that you can use that time to watch TV, study, or relax. So, procrastination seems not to be a bad thing at all."

"That's the reason behind the procrastination. If you realize it, then please don't blame yourself, and instead weigh on the pros and cons of this thing you postpone to do and help yourself overcome the inner conflicts." After hearing this, each one in the room was inspired and considered this way "simple and practical". Dwight continued to lead them to analyze the reason one by one......

There are many more similar stories in Dwight's English corner every Sunday afternoon. "E3C" class provides people an opportunity to practice English and meet new friends. Dwight also uses his life wisdom and psychological knowledge to help people solve problems and encourage them to step out of comfort zones, challenge existing concepts, and experiment with new ideas with courage. 

Dwight also proposed new ethics, believing, "In old ethics, people live for the future, and live for others; However, new ethics teaches people to live for the future and for now both at the same time. It teaches people ways to help others and to take care of themselves at the same time." For instance, a middle-school student might think studying aims to secure a good job when they graduate, and their parents have placed massive expectations on them. Therefore, they slack off with no passion for studying.

But from another perspective of new ethics, if the study goal is to enjoy the process of  of study that is likely to also get some good results for the future. Things could be tackled by thinking in the new ethics. 

In class, Dwight sometimes told his life experiments to inspire people. Once a single lady asked him how to find a boyfriend. He incited the example of how he met new friends in Green Lake Park and encouraged her to "get to know a man in the same way."

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Dwight and his friends at the English corner in Kunming.

The life of Dwight is made up of a series of interesting experiments. He always stays true to his heart and makes these bold ideas come true, though they may sound crazy and adventurous. Kunming, this modern and eclectic city, offers him an excellent space to practice his new and wild ideas. Gradually, he has integrated into the local culture. 

At the English corner, Dwight is a kind and friendly life coach with confidence and determination beaming in his eyes. He is an older man with many life experiences and a young guy with curiosity and a spirit of exploration.

People are grateful for the English corner class for curiosity created by Dwight. They experienced the brainstorming one after another and felt both excited and thrilled. Many benefited from his class and started to look at life from a brand new perspective and dare to pursue their dreams with courage......

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(Editors: Ines, Christine)

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