Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten life lessons

The items below are what I’ve learned recently or reminded of what I did learn before but forgot. I hope it will be something that I would revisit from time to time and my sons would take a look when they are older.

Don’t live in a hole – I’ve been getting too comfortable or short-sighted about my life flow. I.e. getting up, going to work, lunch, work till out of office, get home for dinner, see family, run some errands, check online, then go to bed. Weeks in, weeks out, this kind of life would be too comforting, predictable, routine, or manageable. But, these kinds of daily routine for too much for too long is not good for the brain. Simulation is important! I’m not saying to jump out of the plane or something, but our mind need stimulation, not just one-way stimulation of serving the web for new things, or talking to people that we talk to all the time which would not be a challenge for us to provide acceptable response. But, going to places and talking to people, don’t need to get too far or some total strangers, just some old friends, or someone just we don’t talk to frequently will provide surprises or stimulation to get us thinking. That’s important!

Self-reflection is important – need to challenge yourself, playing your own devil’s advocate. Criticize your actions, doubt your own decision, try to break out or to take one more step outside your comfort zone.  Making small mistakes are ok, otherwise, we won’t grow and improve. A short term and small regret is actually manageable, as long as you can get bigger return and improve in future.

Take time for yourself – don’t just give yourself to others. Serving others, taking care of the others are important, but don’t do that to an extent that you don’t have time for yourself. Cuz, only giving yourself to others for an extensive period of time is not necessary a good thing. It is an honor to be a giver, but we do need time to take care our own soul. It needs to relax, to heal, to rejuvenate and to do better. A bandage is not enough to heal a wound, it takes time. Don’t over push yourself to an extent that you would start to doubt whether you should continue to give and to help others anymore. Give yourself a break or breaks every now and then. Every car need and deserve a tune-up every x miles. 

Take time to organize – we live a busy life with many errands to run, make use of modern technology as tools to help us to memorize, organize, be reminded, and execute. Otherwise, we will live with a mess. Prioritize our tasks, organize our assets in searchable way, protect our information, keep schedule of reminders of dates (e.g. credit card expiration, birthdays, account maturity, etc). Clean our closet, sometimes putting on new clothes may make us happy. Of course, we should never waste our resources, to be too materialistic, to ‘overdo’ anything.  

Set some long, medium and short term goals – as I said, don’t ‘overdo’ it, but don’t be lazy either! Life without goals is easy, because you won’t be disappointed, but it could be a wait of time. Cuz, a goal would help you to get better, organize, and motivate to do things, to improve ourselves. Otherwise, we would be directionless and like a leave in the river. We would fail without knowing it, and will never succeed, because we simply give up measuring and judging ourselves!  It’s never too late to improve and to drive ourselves.
Don’t wastes resources – we come to the earth with nothing and will leave with nothing either. As such, material things are only important when we see them as important. We can’t live well and happy without them, but they are not our purpose of life. They are just tools to help us to help ourselves and others. So, don’t give up our soul for them or lose sleep over them. Just treat them as tools and live with them. Earn them honestly and use them wisely!

Be spiritual – I recently surprised myself for saying this, for being a rational, logical person who value the brain more than the heart most of my life! But, our mind, spirit, soul or whatever we call it is strong as well as weak. Being scientific and spiritual at the same time is actually fine, there shouldn’t be any conflict. They can and should coexist in order for us to be a smart human! 99% of the time, we can keep both in our head in balance, just use them when it applies. Don’t discriminate one or the other. Their co-existence in ‘harmony’ makes us successful human. The truth and love can co-exist!

Take care of yourself – have some frequent workout, even it is a light one, it would better than doing nothing. Our capability is the sum of our spirit and body. We need to take care of both.  A bookworm is weak, fragile, and unsustainable. A jock is a human ‘tool’ that would be manipulated by others. It is not about 50-50, but about a balance that would keep both side healthy and happy. Select our foods, have health check, listen to our body, do some stretching, Tai Chi, Yoga, or whatever that would make us healthy. Nothing would wish to be sick, and no sick person is a happy person. A healthy body would give us confidence to use our intelligence, to do good to the people around us, and to make a positive difference.

Be humble as well as confident – they are not in conflict with each other. A humble person is a blunted weapon. A confident person is a brave and smart soldier. A blunted weapon is blunted, but it is still a weapon. Don’t be deceived by the look, it just looks less harmful and threatening, but it can still kill if being used by a brave and smart soldier in battle. Life is a war, and our daily life is full of battles, at work, at school, at home, etc. Don’t kill the innocent, protect the weak, and we can only do that if we are not innocent nor weak! So, be prepared and alert.

There is always hope – as long as we believe there is. Hope and goal are different and not self-contradict with each other. Hope is less tangible, a driver that get us ‘there’. There are always bad things happening in the world and near us. As long as we choose to live, we should have hope. Otherwise, our life would be meaningless which should not be the case. The ‘half-glass full’ theory is helpful and put us in perspective, but we shouldn’t live with it all the time. If we are in dark, look up the firefly! If we are in heaven, help others to join us!  

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