LOCAL TRAVEL

happiness

A lot of people travel for the same reasons: fun, new experiences, a boost to self-esteem, and to develop personally. To be honest, this article isn’t really about traveling, it’s more about having an open mind. My goal is to encourage you to stay green, get off your butt and see what your local area has to offer.

Mind traveling

What is mind traveling? It’s your mind exploring new places and new people. It’s green and carbon-free. Your body doesn’t travel, only your mind does. Reading memoirs is a way of mind traveling. You get a chance to see things from someone else’s perspective and be aware of your own life.

Reading Hemingway’s mind

Reading the memoir of Hemingway, A Movable Feast, brought me to his writing life in Paris during the 1920s. Writing in Parisian cafes and meeting artists was Hemingway’s routine. In his 20s, he took writing seriously and started to write short stories and novels. In winter, he traveled with his wife to Spain or other cities in Europe and waited for spring.

My mind was traveling with Hemingway while reading his memoir. He bought me to his writing world and the places he had been, meeting people that he knew and getting to know the hobbies that he loveddrinking, boxing, skiing, horse racing, etc. When he was young and poor, he often felt hungry but grateful and happy for what he had.

Reading Woody Allen’s mind

Woody Allen was a comedy writer before he became a film director. One of the things that he learned from comedy writing is that never write when you’re not feeling well. The jokes in his memoir are my main reason to read Apropos of Nothing. I can see his sense of humor from the beginning of the book. His life is full of crazy, famous, and rich people. That overwhelms me as I’m living a gentle and frugal life.

Mountain trips

Taking a hike is part of life now. Because of Covid-19, I long for outdoor activities as much as everyone does. When the weather’s nice and warm, you’ll see me in the mountain in wintertime. I never travel alone or hike alone as I enjoy going on adventures with friends always.

Step up to Lion Rock

Lion Rock is the most iconic mountain in Hong Kong. As iconic as the Fuji Mountain in Japan. The Lion Rock looks like a lion only when looking from afar. I climbed to Lion Rock for the first time with friends. It’s 495 meters high. We took endless steps up and down, which was the most amount of steps we had ever walked!

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Lion Rock - Wikipedia

Take the aerial view of islands

The view is everything when it comes to hiking. Tai Lam Chung Reservoir gives hikers a stunning view when they reach the top. It looks like a lake with thousands of islands. That’s why its nickname is Thousand Island Lake, named after a similar reservoir in Zhejiang Province, China.

Climbing to the mountains is a good workout for the legs. Hiking day is literally leg day. I love it! Sometimes I wish I was a snake so that every day is abs day.

PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL

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This book helps you make better life decisions

How would you like to live your 2021? This book, Predictably Irrational, will give you new perspectives to make better decisions. We’re rational enough to make good decisions when we’re calm. But we’re often irrational and forget everything that makes sense when we’re emotionally unstable. For example, I tend to eat junk food when I’m hungry, tired, or moody. I feel hungry writing this.

Try not to make critical decisions when you’re emotional

The author Dan Ariely did some psychology experiments to show that we’re prone to making the wrong decisions when gripped by intense emotion. Being mindful all the time and aware of your emotion may help. When you feel stressed out, stop making any critical decision and imagine Micky Mouse dancing and saying “I feel stressed out” in front of you. Before and during my bloody period, I’ll see Micky Mouse dancing and singing “I feel emotional” in front of me.

We’re happier when we stop comparing

The truth of human nature is that we just can’t help comparing. When choosing 2 similarly attractive options, we should have considered the decision an easy one, to save the bad consequences of not deciding. This is what I’ve learned from the book Predictably Irrational. In this case, no need to make an optimal decision! The simple answer is to randomly choose one by flipping a coin. Yes, as simple as that. Either choice is good anyway. Save the unnecessary comparison and enjoy right away!

When we buy less, we compare less. When we compare less, we’re definitely happier without decision fatigue. So, make fewer decisions if possible. The truth of relativity is that a decoy makes the target more attractive. Watch out for the decoy when you’re buying.

The Decoy Effect | The Connectere Articles % %

80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule is to identify inputs that are the most productive and make them the priority. “What we need is to consciously start closing small doors because they draw energy and commitment away from the doors should be left open,” said Dan Ariely. The key question is “What’s your 20% to focus on for a happy life?”. It’s easier to make a better choice when we’ve identified what we value the most and the 20% that gives the results. For example:

20%– Health (healthy food, workout in nature, yoga and meditation)
– Family & close friends
80%– Wealth (investment and jobs)
– Growth (reading and doing new things)

Once you’re clear about what’s important to you, it’s easy to measure what matters and avoid other distractions that steal your attention. I was greedy and I tried having multiple goals but I ended up not achieving all of them. Multitasking is not for me. I prefer to be more focused on the 20% that matters now, keeping life simple and free! Not greedy anymore. But still feeling hungry.

Happy reading!

food journal

HAPPY GUT

happiness

HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY GUT?

What have you been eating while staying at home? When eating at home and working from home during Covid-19, colorful meals seem a happy gut choice. As the saying goes, we’re what we eat. So, why not eat healthy food that makes us happy. From the book, Happy Gut, what makes our gut happy is sugar-free and gluten-free whole foods. Meanwhile, yoga and meditation are a big plus to get a stress-free gut.

Simply put, HAPPY GUT = HAPPY MEALS + YOGA! That’s how I sum up the key ideas from the book. The first part of the book talks about the science and biology of how the gut works. If you’re into the details, check it out. I’m more into the actual work that leads to a happy gut so I did an experiment to see how happy my gut could be. Will my gut be happy after a new diet?

First, I homemade happy gut meals that are made of sugar-free and gluten-free whole foods. To be honest, I have no fancy cooking skills. As long as the food is boiled until cooked with oil, salt, and pepper, I think I’m done. Dicing the veggies, making them warm, and adding seasoning are my cooking skills at their best.

Second, I did mindful eatingfocusing on the food only and being grateful. No TV, no radio, no cellphone, no chatting, or any other entertainment. I stopped doing everything but eatsmelling the food, watching the food, tasting the food, chewing, and swallowing. This makes me think I’m no different from a cow chewing slowly in the countryside. The only difference is I’m inside and it’s outside.

Third, I tried to drink a cup of water at least 30 mins after a meal as suggested, for not diluting the stomach acid. But I did take a sip of water to rinse my mouth when I finish eating, for the sake of not having bad breath. Too much detail here. I better stop. Anyhow, the key point is I drink between meals, not during meals.

OK, how do I feel and how does my gut feel with the new diet and yoga practice or workout? I pay attention to my gut feelings and I have noticed these changes:

1 Less brain fog after meals

2 My stomach feels less full and gets hungry soon

3 My waistline is the same

Overall, a happy gut diet makes me feel good as I can think with clarity most of the time! Also, I’ve made sure the food is colorful so it looks happy and boosts my good mood. I didn’t follow the exact recipes or the supplement suggestions from the book Happy Gut as they’re complicated to me. So I keep the main concept of gluten-free and sugar-free whole foods and make a simple version.

For dinner, I choose low cabs green veggies, and meat. As dinner looks repetitive, I have no photos for the record. But I have snapshots of breakfast, lunch, and snacks in my food journal. Total gluten-free is a challenge indeed because I eat gluten food by default. So I cheated one day. Scroll down to see if you can find which day I had gluten. 😛

Day 1

Breakfast: blue berry + chia seed
Breakfast: blue berry + chia seed

Lunch: sweet potato + tomato +cucumber
Lunch: sweet potato + tomato +cucumber

Snack: boiled egg + cucumber
Snack: boiled egg + cucumber

Day 2

Breakfast: apple + chestnut
Breakfast: apple + chestnut

Lunch: pumpkin + chicken breast + mushroom + cherry tomato
Lunch: pumpkin + chicken breast + mushroom + cherry tomato

Snack: boiled egg
Snack: boiled egg

Day 3

Breakfast: oat + goji + black sesame
Breakfast: oat + goji + black sesame
Lunch: sweet potato + garlic shrimp + mushroom scramble egg + cucumber
Lunch: sweet potato + garlic shrimp + mushroom scramble egg + cucumber
Snack: banana
Snack: banana

Day 4

Breakfast: orange + date
Breakfast: orange + date
Lunch: Wonton (gluten!) + cherry tomato + cucumber + broccoli
Lunch: Wonton (gluten!) + cherry tomato + cucumber + broccoli
Snack: hummus + bell pepper
Snack: hummus + bell pepper

Day 5

Breakfast: weird coconut milk + dragonfruit
Breakfast: weird coconut milk + dragonfruit

This drink’s color and taste is so gross! I swear a lot while forcing myself to finish half. And the coconut milk makes me sick!

Day 6

Lunch: fried egg + zucchini + pumpkin + bell pepper
Lunch: fried egg + zucchini + pumpkin + bell pepper
Snack: apple
Snack: apple

Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame (my mum prepares this for me every morning)
Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame (my mum prepares this for me every morning)
Lunch: avocado + shrimp + mushroom + cherry tomato
Lunch: avocado + shrimp + mushroom + cherry tomato
Dinner: fried rice with pork + avocado + bell pepper

Day 7

Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame
Breakfast: goji + oat + black sesame
Lunch: salmon + avocado + cucumber
Lunch: salmon + avocado + cucumber
Snack: Macadamia nut + pecan
Snack: Macadamia nut + pecan

AND MORE

A happy mind will help our gut to stay happy too. From time to time, practicing yoga and meditation to declutter the thoughts in our mind will make a positive impact. Solve for happy!

HUMOR ESSAY

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Do you read for fun? I do sometimes. When I wanna read something lighter for laughs, I open books from David Sedaris who is a Humor Essayist. His writing is funny. Some of his humor essays generate laughter on a deeper level, touching readers’ hearts. All topics are around his daily life. It’s like reading his story-like diary or journal. And it’s a fucking funny one.

I first read David Sedaris’s book Me Talk Pretty One Day and find him hilarious. And this month I read his latest book Calypso and find it both funny and sentimental. He writes about his family, his boyfriend, and laughs at himself as always. The difference is that they have become old and some are gone. Dead, to be exact.

Fear of getting old

I think of my mum a lot when I’m reading David’s book Calypso. When I look at my mum suffering from headaches or all sorts of age-related pain, I feel sorry and sad for her. And thinking about how should she enjoy the rest of her life. Meanwhile, I feel hopeless about the future aging me. We’re born to die someday. How tragic the truth is. I start to feel I’m decaying.

I notice my subtle decay from the shrinking of my energy level, from the growing belly fat, and from David’s book Calypso. It reminds me that I will be in late middle age as him if I’m lucky to continue living for a few more decades. As I’m getting old, I have new needs. Needs that I set for myself to combat aging. I need to work out 30 mins a day to stay healthy and I need antioxidant superfood. An apple a day and low cabs diet every day.

Before I can stop my belly from growing bigger, I need to change my fashion style a bit to cover that. Loose-fitting clothes have become my new fashion style. I’m not sure how far my belly can grow but I’m sure I look like I’m pregnant for 3 months now. When I do the daily crunches – bicycle crunch, reverse crunch, vertical leg crunch – in the hope of getting my flat belly back, I doubt if these crunches are doing the real work. But I do it anyway. Because I want to feel something, especially muscle pain in my core. This makes me feel alive and less back pain.

Speaking of pain, I can still feel it at my ankle which hinders me from doing any intense exercise. I can imagine I will be frailer when I get older, so I have an urge to try all the sports I want to do. Such as tennis, surfing, pole dance, and a lot more. Can you see I fear losing my agile movement and fertility already in my thirties? I have a deep thought about how to live the second half of my life. I’m aware that I spend lots of time planning the future instead of enjoying the present moment. I can’t help it. I need to plan, otherwise, I don’t know what to do next.

People watching on the beach

In the book Calypso, David mentions his beach house a lot where his family spends time together. That reminds me of the beach time in October 2020. The beach has all sorts of people who enjoy water sports, a good vibe, and dirty sands.

Bikini with block heels

Fashion is important to some people and it’s their identity. When I see a bikini girl wear block heel sandals while playing stand up paddle, I respect and even admire her for keeping her style wherever she goes. More important, her stability is amazing. I don’t see her shaking or going to fall when waves are coming. She keeps calm and paddle on.

Gay couple

It’s rare to see a young gay couple on the beach. I’m surprised to see one pair. They’re rare, like hard-to-find arctic hares. They’re not the hot type, but the cute type with chubby cheeks. Holding hands and walking along the beach. I can feel their sweet love by only watching their back.

Baby Twins

I don’t expect babies to go surfing. At this way-too-young age, babies should be drinking their mum’s milk. Yet, a parent puts a pair of baby twins with little life jackets on the surfing board and bring them out to the ocean. Being cute is babies’ survival skills but it’s useless in water. One of the twin babies got wiped out and screaming like hell. Their mum picks up the lost baby and puts back onto the board as nothing has happened. The baby twins double the cuteness in the sea.

Surfers and dog

I spot two hot guys at the wavy zone. Even their dog is hot! They take turns to take care of their dog while they go surfing. Hot surfer A is tanned and he wears a never-get-drown black cap. His cap drops a few times into the waves while surfing but he manages to get it back every time. Hot surfer B plays with the dog while watching his friend surfing. I’m watching too. His dog shakes itself dry and makes me wet.

Happy reading!

Egoless moments

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EGO IS THE JOY KILLER

We tend to be unhappy when we’re egoistic. Ego is not only the enemy, but also the joy killer. Ryan Holiday, author of the book Ego is the Enemy, defines the dead time as moments that we’re controlled by ego. He even has a tattoo EGO IS THE ENEMY on his forearms to remind himself to let go of the ego to stay alive. That makes me wanna get a tattoo on my forehead: GO AWAY EGO!

I highly suspect that it’s ego hinders me from getting healthy relationships to grow. Also, ego stops me from getting to know and loving other people without sorrow. Oh no, I hate ego breaking my flow. I’d better throw myself into a new reality show if ego won’t go.

Ryan Holiday

Do your work. Do it well. Then let go and let God.

When we let go of ego, we can get more done and love more. My ego is clingy all day long and distracts me from doing what I want. The more time I spend with ego, the more restless I feel. If I focus on a movie, the sky, other person or a sport, I forget about the ego for a while and stay in peace. I wanna kill my ego to have egoless or peaceful moments. Is that possible and doable?

STRATEGY FOR FIGHTING THE EGO

STAY A STUDENT

Ryan Holiday suggests staying a student to drop the ego. When you learn something new, does your ego tell you to give up when things are getting difficult? Or does your ego tell you that you’re so great that you don’t need to learn more? Of course, your ego will do anything to drag you behind. That’s ego’s expertise!

Don’t let ego stop you from learning. Keep learning from anyone and anything, and growing anytime. No wonder Einstein said “More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego.” I think I just gain a new perspective here: knowledge is the enemy of ego!

DON’T LOSE YOUR PRESENCE OF MIND

I cherry-pick one of The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene – don’t lose your presence of mind. The presence of mind is the ability to detach yourself from all to see the whole picture with clarity. This is a stoic or zen way to fight the ego. Preparation in advance or meditation can give you that mental distance and make your ego disappear, for at least a period of time.

If you love history and war, you will enjoy reading The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene to learn more strategies and tactics. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of history. Anyway, in his book Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday takes a similar approach as Robert Greene – telling the stories of significant historical figures. You can learn how Napoleon, Steve Job, and many others handle the ego nicely or badly.

Ego is not your amigo. Let it go.

Happy reading!

GENTLE LIVING

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I’m loving a slow life as time is running away like a lunatic. Slow living offers us more time to enjoy the life we have. Gentle Living by Monocle is a nice book to remind us how to live and take it easy. It suggests 50 ways on how to live a gentler life. We deserve to enjoy more, worry less, and be happy in a slow fashion. Let’s choose the ways you love to live your life fully. I pick my favorite ways to savor life as follows:

BE OPTIMISTIC

I learn to be optimistic using the ABCDE model. I’m struggling to be an optimist as my thinking is negative by default. ABCDE is a simple tool that helps me to gain new and positive perspectives. Give it a try when you’re in a bad mood. You’ll instantly become optimistic like magic, turning tragedy into comedy.

GET BACK TO NATURE WITH PLEASURE

Cheung Sha Beach
Cheung Sha Beach

Nature is a natural healer and it leads us to live in the present moment. I love going to the beach whenever the sun’s out. Cheung Sha Beach and Big Wave Bay in Hong Kong are good for surfing. Surfing is cool and I don’t mind failing like a fool. I fall in love with it despite many times of failing. I love that surfing can train my muscles and my patience as the waves are unpredictable, unbeatable, and readable (if you know them well).

VISIT ART MUSEUM AND MUSE

Hong Kong Museum of Art

I love the silence and artistic vibe inside art museums. Being quiet in the art museum declutters my mind and gives me more space to get new ideas. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui by the harbor, I find the renovated Hong Kong Museum of Art. This museum has a new frame and interior to reflect the beauty of the sea. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows set the ideal conditions for more light, vision, and imagination.

“On Your Seat, On Your Mind” is a lovely art project for you to take a seat and relax, rethinking the way you live and the world around you. It’s fascinating to see things from another person’s point of view. “I have never thought of that!” “What are other possibilities out there?” “How to create my version?”

GO GREEN AND DON’T KILL

Plants make people happy and sad. When I got some green plants to decorate my bookshelf, I was trilled these green babies looked great at first. But they’re getting weaker and weaker. I don’t want them to die so I refill the water and add nutrients once a week and also clean the container once a month. Yet, the round leaves of pilea keep falling off and all of them turn brown. Before I buy any houseplant, I should have read the book How Not to Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged.

READ A BOOK AND ACTION

If you don’t prioritize your life, someone will.

Grab a book to read today and you’ll do things differently tomorrow. That’s why I love reading books. A good book will change my mindset and make me form a new habit. My all-time favorite books about simplicity are Essentialism by Greg McKeown, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists. Less is bored? Yes and no. Look at the happiness level of the monks and you’ll understand less is happier.

What’s your favorite book? Let me know when you comment. 🙂

Happy reading!

Awareness

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When I read some books about meditation or mindfulness earlier. I often come across a key word – awareness. I’m curious to know what exactly awareness is. Does awareness mean knowing what I’m doing or how I feel at the moment? Is awareness a state that only guru like Yoda can get there? Am I ever aware for a nanosecond?

I find a simple answer from the book Awareness by Anthony de Mello. In Anthony’s spiritual point of view, awareness is suddenly you get another perspective on life. Wow, that sounds effortless and all of a sudden. My follow up question is: how to get there SUDDENLY?

Anthony’s 4 steps to wisdom might be the pathway to get there. From his book Awareness, he said “Put this program into action, a thousand times: (a) identify the negative feelings in you; (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality; (c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go; (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.”

I put this “program” into action and it goes like this: (a) I have a negative thought that I feel lonely at my new workplace; (b) I understand that this feeling is only inside me, not inside my new colleagues or other people; (c) I don’t see the loneliness as an essential part of “I” as it comes and goes; (d) I understand that when I make new friends at the new environment, everything will change.

As I’m an introvert, it takes me long to build new relationships in a new environment. In my new office, I work on a project alone and do everything alone most of time. When I overhear my colleagues talking, I can’t find a perfect timing to say something to engage in conversation. And I seldom take the initiative to start a conversation. One of my colleagues senses that I’m bored working alone. She gives me a snack, prawn crackers, and chats with me. At this moment, I’m aware. That’s love!

We’re surrounded by love or reality, like the fish in the ocean, but we have no notion about it.

Self-awareness

I love a simple, concise and nicely written A5-sized book about self-awareness. It’s published by Harvard Business Review Press. Although it’s a small book, it covers a lot of topics like emotional intelligence, passion, core value, data-driven path to know yourself, feedback, and growth mindset, etc. It’s a good book that can save your time as it summarizes many good books in one, like a hot pot with great ingredients.

If you would like to dig deeper into self-awareness, I suggest reading the book Insight by Tasha Eurich. Her definition of self-awareness is the will and the skill to understand yourself (internal) AND how others see you (external). After reading her book, I get a new perspective on life. I see myself and others in a new light. According to Tasha, there’re 3 types of unawareness as follows:

Lost cause

Let’s take me as an example. I used to be unaware and refuse to wake up. I didn’t accept critical feedback. I couldn’t take the perspective of others. I was hurtful to others without realizing it. I was unaware of what I did and my impact on others. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The worst-case scenario!

Aware don’t care

Again, let’s take me as an example. I’m aware internally and externally that I’m slow on every level. I talk slow, think slow, eat slow, swim slow but fall asleep fast (That’s the only thing fast). My brother always persuades me to play video games to train up EQ and fast response. But I refuse to change through his favorite hobby. So I keep being a sloth and enjoy slooooooooooowing thiiiiiiiiiiiiings doooooooown.

Nudgable

Last but not least, let’s take me as an example again! This time, I’m unaware that I’m not a generous person. When my family spots that to me, I’m surprised. Giving more is counterintuitive to me. For example, I don’t want to give more money to my mum for housekeeping when I earn more. But I have to because my mum will nag (or nudge) me until I do so. With a few nudges and the will to change, I give more (or give in).

I’m aware that I’ve reframed my personal stories from a miserable perspective to a positive perspective, after editing my draft a few times. I feel better at the end of the writing process. That’s the power of journaling. What’s more, I gain another perspective. That’s awareness! Are you aware that I’m unaware of how you feel while you’re reading this post? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

Happy reading! Be self-aware and insightful.

Feedback

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HOW TO GIVE FEEDBACK

We’re living in an ocean of feedback. Sometimes I feel drown by negative feedbacks. Sometimes I feel confused without any feedback. And I’m clueless how to give a proper feedback. Richard William is an internationally recognized business consultant specializing in leadership development. From his book Tell me how I’m doing, he advises readers how to give feedback in an effective way. I did the experiment myself. The results were profound, out of control and surprising.

Positive feedback

I seldom give appreciation to others or myself. Richard suggests giving positive feedback on look, behavior and character. I tried this to my brother. “You’re good-looking today. I’m happy that you washed the dishes. You’re a good kid, ” I said. My brother was not convinced at all and replied, “Why are you so fake today?”

Supportive feedback

When I want to appreciate others’ behavior, I followed Richard’s advice – describe the specific behavior, its consequences and how I feel. I tried to thank my mum in this specific way. “Mum, thank you for cooking me dinner. It’s yummy and it makes me feel full and lucky that I have a good mum who still takes care of me. I feel like I don’t have to grow up at all and I enjoy being taken care of.” Despite my long and specific appreciation, I couldn’t identify any reaction from her. Only poker face.

Corrective feedback

My mum always talks negatively to me. I have never heard of any compliments from her. My self-esteem is low with her presence. One day I asked her, “Did you realize everything you said to me is negative? Did you ever encourage others? Could you stop personal attack? Give encouragement in stead of criticism, please. I don’t think I can do anything with this negativity.” She kept looping the negative comments again. I felt totally hopeless. “What is the meaning of life? Does anyone know?”

My mum fails to give me corrective feedback and I refuse to change as she wishes. Me too. I fail to give her corrective feedback and she keeps being who she is. I feel happier to go no contact with her. So I think unless others want the corrective feedback, it’s better not to give any. Maybe you can do it better than me by taking Richard’s advice to deliver effectively as follows:

  1. Try the supportive feedback first
  2. Use carefully guided questions
  3. State that improvement is needed
  4. Use appropriate discipline
  5. Draw a line in the sand

HOW TO RECEIVE FEEDBACK

The book Thanks for the feedback by Doug Stone and Sheila Heen talks about the art of receiving negative feedback. They suggest the best question to ask for feedback to self-improve is that “What’s the one thing I can change so as to make the biggest difference?”

Understand first

When we receive the negative feedback, do we really understand it? Most likely, we might have a wrong interpretation if we don’t clarify the true meaning. It’s great to understand it from other’s point of view first. Ask where is the feedback coming from, what the adviser wants you to do differently and why.

I think the hardest part is to decide if the feedback is valid or not. Yet the negative feedback does tell us the impact we’ve made on others somehow. It helps us to recognize our blind spots, letting us know what we don’t know. Just like a CCTV video tape showing what we did from a third party’s point of view. I wish I could have an exclusive and invisible camera recoding my life so that I could watch it myself. This can skip asking people for feedback (If you’re an introvert, you will understand).

Avoid switchbacks

I always get defensive when my mum criticizes me for not doing things her way. I scold her for being rude and loud, pointing the finger at her instead. Doug Stone and Sheila Heen call this switchback, which means changing to another topic. Do I switchback to her tone? They suggest not to switchback when receiving negative feedback. Simply focus on discussing one topic at a time. This takes self-awareness to do so. And obviously I’m lacking that.

Build a growth mindset

After I get the feedback and understand it more, what’s next? Two choices here. One, thanks for the advice and don’t take it. Two, do small experiments to change in progress. There could be one more choice and I just invent it. That is, ask a friend to improve together.

Happy reading! And please give me feedback. 🙂

Solve for Happy

happiness

What is the happiness formula from an engineer’s point of view? Mo Gawdat, the author of Solve for happy, has written one like this:

I like this equation as simple as that. Simply changing our expectations and how we see our lives will make us happy. If we manage to have no demands from our loved ones, we feel happy. A friend of mine, Sasha, once told me she’s happy in her marriage because she has no expectations. With no expectations, the joy settles in.

Another key factor is whether we see everything that happens in life with a positive lens or not. Jackie, one of my readers, shared with me a good news about seeing the good in bad times. The story was about people recovered from Covid-19 donated their plasma towards finding a cure. This is an example of turning a disaster into something wonderful!

There are many things in life we can’t control. All we can control is our actions (towards the goal) and attitude (focus on the good). Let’s have some awareness breaks every day to live our lives in here and now, not inside the head. Be aware of any selfish thoughts as any thought that stems from ego is bound to disappoint.

Golden rule for happiness: choose to believe in the side that makes you happy

What’s your state of mind?

The book Solve for happy has covered the illusions we might have, like time and control. I love the way Mo Gawdat explains complex stuff with simple metaphors for easy understanding. What I like the most is the graph above for joy check. It’s a great way to know what our state of mind is right away! For example, I’m unemployed and I’m thinking I’m free to learn new things I want (positive thoughts) so I’m in a state of happiness. What state are you in?

Happy reading!

Simple Secrets

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What’s the most important thing that determines our happiness? Most people say it’s the quality of relationships that we have with ourselves and other people! If that’s true, we better work more on building great relationships. Wouldn’t you agree? After reading 100 Simple Secrets of Great Relationships and 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People, I select 3 points from each book and they share similar meanings. They are so simple that we tend to overlook them.

Friendship beats money

Money matters less over time

The way we talk about our family and friends can tell others if we are happy or not. Good relationships make us feel food. Bad relationships make us feel bad. As simple as that. Shall we pay more attention to cultivate friendships daily?

See possibilities

If you’re not sure, guess positively.

During the COVID-19 adversity, I was laid off as my previous company underwent restructuring. I accepted this circumstance but I chose to see possibilities of earning money even in tough times. With focus and effort, I explored various ways to increase personal finance. Luckily, I found a new job with even better pay after job hunting for a month! I could earn more through freelancing and investing stocks too. I felt so blessed, grateful, and surprised by the possibilities.

Attitude triumphs outcome

It’s not what happened, it’s how you think about what happened.

When it comes to the process of getting a life partner or keeping the relationship, how can we stay positive? Take this attitude: continue being someone who sees the good around you, and continue being someone who would offer love, affection, and support to the right partner.

 

Happy reading!