Measure what matters

creativity

Do you like goal-setting as much as I do? I understand that not everyone prefers goal-setting. As the future is uncertain, not all goals will go as planned. That’s ok if things don’t turn out as you wish. Just be flexible. On top of that, knowing what matters most to you outweighs everything.

What matters most to you? Your answer will reveal your core values. Let’s say my answer is to stay happy. Based on happiness, I can start to set OKR and stretch goal which are the key concepts from the book Measure What Matters. Google adopts OKR and stretch goal to get things done.

What is OKR?

OKR stands for objectives and key results. Recently, I set OKR with my exercise buddy. Our objective is to reduce waist size by 2 inches within a month. Our key results are doing exercise at least 30 mins and eat clean daily. OKR is like SMART goal. Here’s another OKR example as follows:

Objective: stay happy daily

Key result 1: mediate 20 mins

Key result 2: exercise 30 mins

Key result 3: practice gratitude and optimism

Key result 4: help others

What is stretch goal?

Simply put, stretch goal is the advanced version of OKR. Stretch goal is 10 times more difficult to achieve. It’s a challenging goal set to make you grow and accomplish more. I usually publish a blog post once a month. So it’s challenging for me to do as follows:

Stretch goal: write well and more

Key result 1: write 250 words daily

Key result 2: publish 10 blog posts within a month

What’s most important to you? What OKR and stretch goal will you set? Planning what you wanna do is just the first step to make things happen. After all, your actions determine the final results. Focus and take action today!

Creative doing!

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!

Human Nature

happiness

 

During this uncertain time of COVID-19, I dive into a book recommended by a fellow book lover Cherie White. She loves reading psychology and introduces me to a book called The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene.

The book is thick yet a good read! It makes me confront my flaws and helps me understand myself and other people more. It has many great stories of legend such as Coco Chanel as examples to illustrate different human nature.

I love the story about how a captain saves the lives of his crew with his empathetic skills when facing dangerous storms. The captain infects the crew with his mindset on the nonverbal level by acting in a relaxing manner despite the difficult situations.

He is able to divide his attention almost equally between crew members. He reads their emotional states in their tone of voice and looks for any signs of frustration or insecurity in their words and gestures.

In detecting any dips in spirit or negativity, he is gentle and engages them in talk. He enters their spirit, and find indirect ways to either elevate their mood or isolate them without making them realize what he is doing. In the end, no one dies under the caption’s leadership.

After reading the whole book, I get a sense that self-awareness is the most important for us to be a better person. Self-awareness is the third eye. We need that to be more conscious of what we are experiencing.

I take a note of some parts from the book that I love and you can take a look to get the positivity to stay happy and creative:

Increase self-awareness

Examine your emotions:

Use a journal to record your self-assessments with objectivity. Observe your actions with a bit of detachment and even humor.

Increase your reaction time:

Step back and give it a day. We can stop reacting to everything. Cool the emotions.

Practice empathy

Don’t change people. Instead, see other people as neutral as comets or plants. They simply exist. They come in all varieties, making life rich and interesting. Work with what they give you, instead of resisting and trying to change them. Make understanding people a fun game, the solving of puzzles.

Open your mind to seeing people in a new light. Each person you meet is like an undiscovered country. This flexible, open spirit is similar to creative energy – a willingness to consider more possibilities and options.

The key to employing empathy within a relationship is to understand the value system of the other person. What they interpret as signs of love or attention or generosity tends to diverge from your way of thinking. Keeping in mind their value system will allow you to enter their spirit and perspective precisely at the moment you would normally turn defensive.

Change your attitude

How to view the world:
See yourself as an explorer. Leave all that certainty behind you. You’re in continual search of new ideas and new ways of thinking.

How to view adversity:
Embrace all the obstacles as learning experiences, as a means of getting stronger.

How to view yourself:
Whatever you are doing now, you are in fact capable of much more.

How to view other people:
See people as facts of nature. They come in all varieties, like flowers or rocks. You must accept diversity and the fact that people are what they are. Your open, generous spirit will make your social interactions much smoother, and people will be drawn to you.

You must recognize your state of self-absorption and how little you actually observe. Open up your senses and relate to people more on the physical level. Pay deep attention to the moods of people, as indicated by their body language and tone of voice.

Happy reading!

good marriage

happiness

It’s amazing that happy couples can make love last. Is keeping yourself happy the key to a happy marriage? The good marriage sounds like a miracle when the divorce rate is high in modern days. First of all, do we have a definition of a good marriage? The book The Good Marriage has the answer.

What is a good marriage?

🤣Humor
😊Safe
😍The idealization of the other is part of every happy marriage
💋Satisfying sex life
😇Grateful to each other for the changes they had experienced over the years
💑Talk about what we want for the future and let’s see what we have in common
🗣💕Set some time for talking about the relationship
🤲Give more than you expect to get

😜Keep interests alive by trying new things
😎Distinguish between big things and little things, knowing what’s important
🤗Mutual protection is at the heart of marriage
😢Provide emotional nurturance
⚖Fairness was far more important than exactly how the chores were allocated

When coping with a crisis, what would a happy couple do?

The Good Marriage shows that they protect each other against self-reproach and they don’t blame each other. They also take steps to allow some degree of pleasure and humor. Make a safe place for conflict and make it clear that the fighting will not breach the walls of the marriage. Hope everyone has the intention to keep a good marriage.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Wired for dating & love

happiness

Having good relationships with others makes life happier. What if we date mindfully? Dating is about getting to know other people and ourselves. In any relationship, appreciation is the key to better communication while complaint stops communication. In other words, relationships will be strengthened when we focus on the good. And vise versa. This is the essence and easier said than done.

I read two books, Wire for dating and Wired for love, by Stan Tatkin who is a marriage and family therapist. These two books share the same concept: understand yourself and your partner well in terms of the attachment style (anchor, wave or island) and build the couple bubble together.

Secure Anchor “Anchors are secure as individuals, willing to commit and fully share with another, generally happy people and adapt easily to the needs of the moment.”

Anxious Wave “Waves are generous and giving, focused on the care of others, happiest when around other people and able to see both sides of an issue.”

Avoidant Island “Islands are independent and self-reliant, take good care of themselves, productive and creative, especially when given space and low maintenance.”

I’m an island. But I find myself being wave and anchor sometimes. It doesn’t matter what attachment style we belong to. Most importantly, we can communicate with others in a way that fosters understanding when we are aware of each other’s attachment style.

How to date wisely?

I’m curious to know how would Stan Tatkin suggest people to date wisely. I’ve summed up some key points for you and take myself as an example to get the big picture.

Clear about what you want

First of all, let me try to create an imaginary ideal partner and be clear about what I want. My ideal partner is good looking, taller than me, fit and stylish. It’s most likely to meet him in the gym, cafe, bookshops, beach, and mountains. He is caring, generous and reliable. He has some long-term relationships in the past. He is financially stable and a long-term investor. He is an architect/entrepreneur/programmer/another professional. He loves reading, traveling, surfing, tennis, gym, yoga, photography, art, and design.

The fog of infatuation

It seems there is nothing we can do about the infatuation or the rosy filter we have for others when meeting new people. So simply be mindful of the infatuation and be aware of the chemicals or hormones in our body when we are dating. It might help us not fall for someone who is so charming too soon.

Familiarity

When I try to develop an awareness of my dating pattern. I notice that I like to date people who are narcissistic or egotistic. I guess this is because I am a self-centered person too. I also have a tendency to like people who don’t care about me and I tend to reject people who do care. Not being treated well feels familiar and I have misunderstood that’s love. It’s important to notice what feels familiar. A familiar but sick dating pattern can hinder me from finding true love. After noticing the old dating pattern, it’s time to create a new pattern dating people who are generous and caring. With repeated exposure to generosity and care, that will become familiar and attractive to me soon. Remember to focus on people who pay efforts to get to know each other.

Start the process of vetting

The screening I do myself may be good or bad so I need the deeper vetting from my friends and family. In the past, I skipped this step, which is a mistake. I will need at least 3 vetters suggested by Stan Tatkin: a family member, a female friend, and a male friend.  What’s more, I will also need an ongoing assessment to see if the partner is a good match.

How to build a couple bubble or a long-lasting relationship?

Building a couple bubble is like having a social contract between two people. The couple has a consensus to commit to making sure each other feel secure and fix any hurt feelings immediately. Creative negotiation and positive communication play an important role here.

Happy reading or listening!

And happy dating!

learned optimism

happiness

Learned optimism: ABCDE

I love reading books about positive psychology. I feel optimistic after knowing some inspiring psychology experiments and findings. Learned Optimism is a good read. I’m happy that I have learned the ABCDE model which is an optimism tool to help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

When I did a test about my optimistic level, I thought I’m very optimistic. But the results show that I’m very pessimistic indeed. I was so surprised! It took me a while to accept that I had been wrong about how optimistic I was. I decided to redo the test with the ABCDE model in mind to see if I would get a different result. The second attempt was definitely cheating. But I didn’t care. I was curious to know if there was any change. The second result is… very optimistic. Ha! I learned optimism theoretically.

How do I use the ABCDE model in real life?

A (Adversity): I have a writer’s block

B (Belief): I am not funny so I can’t write funny stories

C (Consequences): I feel bad and stop writing

D (Disputation): Everyone has a sense of humor, although it may be different from others. My friends and I have the same sense of humor. Everything can be learned. Things are hilarious when there is incongruity and the timing is right. (What I’m trying to do here is to disagree my belief by coming up with alternative thoughts and finding evidences to disagree)

E (Energization): I read articles or books and watch videos about comedy writing. I watch sitcoms and comedy movies to get inspired. I have more confidence to use the comedic device in my writing. I try to write again, edit the story, and make it funnier.

The ABCDE model makes me keep going with an optimistic mindset. I feel good to work on my goals without any negative thoughts. You can try ABCDE if you get stuck with something. Stay optimistic, dear! You’re welcome to subscribe to my blog for more happiness updates monthly.

Happy reading!

 

40% happiness

happiness

 

40% of happiness is our choice

The key takeaway from the book The How of Happiness is that we can control 40% of our happiness. 50% is determined by our genes. 10% is determined by life circumstances. The controllable happiness (40%) is about what we think and how we behave every day. In other words, happiness is a state of mind and actions that we can work on daily. It does take some effort to be happy but it is worth it. What else is more important than that?

The book offers many practical activities you can do to enhance your happiness. You can pick some activities that work best for you to practice and see what will happen. After all, happiness is a practice or a habit. I find that I have cultivated some happiness habits suggested in the book. For example, I exercise weekly and I spend time with family and friends. Express gratitude. Commit to lifelong goals. Meditate (live in the moment). Develop new hobbies. Keep a gratitude journal.

Recently, I have been keeping a giving journal. I want to jot down the small things I give to others and the great things others give to me. I have an urge to give more when I realize how little I have given. Like I have better control of how I use the money if I keep track of how much I have spent daily. The giving journal is effective to prompt me to be a more giving person. I become more aware of what and how often I give to others. This makes me happier.

How to see the big picture: Best Possible Self

The book introduces the Best Possible Self exercise to help us see the big picture of our lives. This exercise can also boost our happiness as it creates positive emotions. What’s your big picture? For me, I imagine my life in 3 years like this:

  1. RELATIONSHIPS: I have a loving life partner who stays with me forever and we grow together. I have many inspiring, funny and caring friends around me. My family is happy.
  2. HOBBIES: I travel at least 6 exotic places with surfing spots to enjoy life and nature. (i.e. Morocco, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Bali, Philippine, Okinawa, Cairns, etc.)
  3. CAREER: My blog has 1,000 true fans. I read and write a lot of good stuff.
  4. HEALTH: I am healthy, happy and pretty.
  5. FINANCE: I have more than 1 million.

How about your best possible self? I would like to know! I’m sure you will be happy if you write to me. So please feel free to share it with me in the comments section now.

Happy reading!

Funny Memoir

happiness

How to be a woman?

As a woman myself, I find it very easy to fear of everything — wrinkles, uncontrollable emotions, the dark, insects, gravity, loneliness, outfits that make you look fat, irritating menstruation, not getting married, not having kids, and the list goes on. I can choose to be anxious about coping with life as a woman or choose to laugh about all of them (too many materials to make fun of).

I love Caitlin Moran‘s sense of humour and her unique perspectives on being a woman. She is a strident feminist who supports women to be herself. She shares her life from a teenage girl to a mid-thirties lady in a brutally honest and comedian way.

Her exaggerating metaphors and imaginary scenes are hilarious and her opinions on things are bold (She loves bolding her main points too!). Her book is full of references from pop culture, celebrities, bands, fashion, sex, and more. It’s totally FUNNY AND JUICY.

I don’t know how they would react to my £40 handbag. They might leap on to their chairs screaming and trying to hit my cheap handbag with a broom, as if it were vermin.

It is a good read for people who are annoyed by or being a woman or who want to understand women more and have a good laugh. The book is full of insights and amusing stories.

Happy reading!