Awareness

happiness

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.

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!