Thick Face black Heart, as a philosophy, was first introduced by Li Zongwu, a Chinese politician cum philosopher, in the early part of the twentieth century, and this philosophy is the basic ideology behind the book written by Chin-Ning Chu. Thick face denotes the ability of a person to hide his intentions from others, and black heart denotes the ability of a person to force his resolve on others. Chu has captured the essence of this theory in her book “Thick Face, Black Heart: The Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life”. First published in the year 1992, this book is a guide to modern ways of implications of an age old philosophy. Chu asks her readers to have a thick face when faced with adversity, and exhibit a black heart in way of ruthless pursuit of their goals. The book is particularly useful in elucidating ways to achieve success in any chosen career path. The concepts discussed in the book such as eleven principles of unlearning and power of endurance, are very useful when one embarks on a career path which has a lot of hurdles and challenges. The role of a social worker, for example, involves dealing with the impoverished and taking decisions for the collective good, which requires a lot of persistence, unwavering focus and a never say die attitude. The essay is aimed at discussing how the principles delineated in the book will help a person to succeed in the role of a social worker.
Before embarking on a discussion on the way this theory help in achieving what you desire, it is imperative to have a good understanding about the basic concepts of the principles of black heart theory. A thick face is used as an epitome of immunity a person has to show when faced with negative criticisms from others, and also the ability to mask his own self doubts and fears from others. There is an increasing stereotype image in today’s society, supported by the media, that social workers largely are unprofessional and negligent. (Robinson, 2013) As Robinson, an inter-country social worker, remarks in her article, very few professional groups draw as much negative criticism in press, as the social workers do. Many of the positive works done by a social worker cannot be publicized because of the sensitive nature of the job involved. For example, if a social worker protects a woman from human trafficking, it cannot be publicized because the name of the victim cannot be revealed. But criticisms on a social worker are newsworthy and will attract a lot of attention. So what does one do when they get themselves embroiled in such a situation? Chu has the answer in her book.
"Success also requires the courage to risk disapproval. Most independent thought, new ideas, or endeavors beyond the common measure are greeted with disapproval, ranging from skepticism and ridicule to violent outrage. To persevere in anything exceptional requires inner strength and the unshakable conviction that you are right”. — (Chu, 1992, Pg.42)
In chapter two, the author says how one could prepare for having thick face and a black heart. She has titled this chapter as ‘eleven principles of unlearning’. Here she says, from our young age the belief that whatever we do should have the society’s approval, is unconsciously drilled into our minds. This perception is unknowingly fed into our belief system by well meaning peer group. It often leads to our failure, as we constantly look around after each task whether the society approves our actions or not. Chu says we should quit searching for other’s approval and start weighing our actions against our inner convictions. So, for a social worker it is quintessential to be guided by his own judgment about what is good for the people he is serving, rather than to be pondering how the other people react to his actions.
Walcott Fay Hunkins, a social worker for 18 years, has shared her experience by giving tips to aspiring professionals, on how to cope up with this very demanding profession. The word she repeatedly uses is ‘endurance’. She outlines how as a child protection officer, she had to undergo a lot of bureaucratic hurdles, and manage with steep amount of case loads. (Hunkins, 2013) She suggests that, a lot of endurance is necessary for unwavering focus on the job, for a social worker. Chu has the perfect recipe for gaining endurance. She says, “Endure by enduring”. She reveals one can learn the art of endurance only by facing difficulties and hardships, and learning to put up with them the hard way. She says, everybody can tackle good times but only a person with heart of substance can thrive in trying times. Trials and troubles mould a person, and in hard times there always lie an opportunity. Thick face, black heart, she says, can help you endure the humiliation suffered in defeat and give you the daringness to do what is required to achieve your destiny, rising from the ashes. The Chinese nursery rhyme she recalls in chapter 6 captures the gist of her argument.
“Try it again. After you fail once or twice try it again. It will increase your determination. It will strengthen your endurance. Don’t be afraid, be courageous, try it again.” (Chu, 1992, Pg. 138)
“Both Conman and a Businessman employ the skills of deceptions The difference between them is not in their outward actions, but rather in their expression of soul.” (Chu, 1992, Pg. 200)
Chu, Chin-Ning (1992). Thick Face, Black Heart: The Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life. Warner Books. Print.
Robinson, Fiona. Changing the face of social work: The role of the press, professional bodies and social worker. The CFAB (protecting Children and uniting Families Across Borders) Blog, April 9, 2013. Web. July 10, 2013
Hunkins, Walcott Fay. Top tips for social work endurance. Social Care Institute for excellence, February 2013. Web. July 10, 2013