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.

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!