Nunchi The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success

Understand your influence When you enter a room, you will inevitably change it.

Euny explains that every room has its own ‘temperature’, ‘barometric pressure’ or mood, and that these are in constant flux. Everyone contributes to the mood of the room – just by being there. So when you enter a room you will change it. To be a nunchi ninja, you must be aware of your influence and adapt to the mood of the room. In other words, don’t barge into a room and make a joke right away; take in your surroundings first; you never know what’s just been said.

Observe the people

When someone is skilled in nunchi, Koreans don’t say they have good nunchi, rather that they have quick nunchi. This means you’re able to assess what’s happening in a room once you enter, then readjust your assessment as things change. Make sure you read the social situation carefully, because it can be very fluid. There can be humorous moments, even at a funeral, so be aware of when the wind changes and make sure you change with it to maintain the buicyuuumugcmniumuLumc harmony of the room as a whole.

Never pass up a good opportunity to shut up

In Korea it’s considered rude to

In Korea it’s considered rude to interrupt a teacher with a question in school — you’re robbing someone else of a learning opportunity just to gain clarity for yourself. This might sound strange to most Westerners; it’s been drilled into us since preschool that asking questions shows critical thinking and curiosity. Euny says she quickly realised all her questions were answered if she kept quiet long enough, and that you learn more from listening than from speaking. Keeping quiet places you in a position of power because people tend to give more information when you don’t say a word. Give it a try!

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Remember your manners

Manners serve a purpose. They turn a room into a safe space, almost like the rules of the game keep sports fair. Even if you think it’s alright to quickly lick your knife in a restaurant, it’s really not, because it might make other people uncomfortable. In remembering your manners, you consider the comfort of others and contribute to the feeling of calm and stability in a room.

Read between the lines

More often than not, people don’t say exactly what they’re thinking — they imply it. As a result, you should never take someone’s words as an exact reflection of their thoughts. Study the context and all non-verbal clues they might give you. For example, if somebody says to you, ‘I would love for you to stay for dinner but I’m not sure we have enough meat to go around,’ alarm bells should be going off. Excuse yourself from dinner, or risk never being invited again.

Dont unintentionally cause harm

In nunchi practice, causing unintentional harm is considered worse than causing harm intentionally. That sounds counterintuitive, but from a nunchi perspective it means you caused harm because you weren’t paying attention to a situation or a person; essentially, you broke rule

Be aware of others and your own words. According to nunchi masters, not knowing the consequences of your words means you’re on the losing end of life.

Be quick

It’s important to gather information quickly, process it quickly, then adapt quickly — this is quick nunchi. The faster you can assess a room or a person, the better. Adapting to a situation means you’re minimising the chance of embarrassment or a social faux pas. Reading a room doesn’t have to be stressful. Just use your eyes and your ears and you are sure to always be one step ahead of everyone else.

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