CategoryPersonal

Overeating Habits Could Grow Out Of A Culture

Food for thought – while growing up, were you told that eating three meals a day was a norm? Were you given the notion that you should eat at certain timings (e.g. 8 am, 12 pm, 6 pm) even when you weren’t hungry? Were you encouraged to eat a lot, or eat a variety of things (meat, different vegetables, rice)? Were you told to finish everything on your plate even if it meant too much for you? Were you scolded (beaten in extreme cases) because you refused food? Were you worried that you’d get sick/pass out if you ate much less than you used to?

If any of the aforementioned sounds familiar to you, your dietary choices could be greatly interfered by a cultural conditioning you grew up with. Is it impossible to shake it off? Nope, but it takes more than embracing change and a great deal of discipline to make it happen. The question is do you need to? Of course, unless you have a weight problem like I do, you don’t need to look any further into it.

The Trouble with “Doing What You Love”

This post has been sitting in the Draft folder for over 3 months. I jotted down fragmented ideas as and when they came but never really found the link to connect them all for a blog post. Somehow, I’ve managed to do so today, and so here goes.

At some point in your life, you would find the discrepancy between how you envision your life would turn out and how it actually does. In some perspective, it’s considered “growing up”, while others believe it’s a transient identity crisis (quarter-life, mid-life). For those who never go through this (for better or worse), good for you, I guess?

When you get to the point of being unsure what you want to do with your life, typically you would seek advice from people you can trust or read self-help books to find answer or study your idol’s biography to find some inspirations. And more often than not you’d hear perhaps the most corny phrases ever from different people, such as “follow your heart”, “follow your passion”, “do what you like”, “do what you want”. As much as these phrases form the fundamental basis of “being happy” in life, they couldn’t be more vague.

Now why do I mention there’s trouble with the phrase “doing what you love”? Sure it’s a generally good advice for anyone struggling to define who they are. But what I see most of the times is that what people love to do doesn’t translate into something that adds value to their lives. I feel that the advice is vague and corny at best. Why? It doesn’t mention whether what you love is in the sense of a hobby or what you love is in the sense of a professional aspiration.

Of course, it’s the perfect situation when you can turn your hobby into something you can do for your whole life and provide for yourself. But let’s be honest here: how many people do you think have the mentality to make it happen? Or how many of them are in the position to try and fail so many times? Or simply how many of them are exactly sure that’s really what they want? If what you love to do doesn’t have any practical value to your life, it’d be a waste of time to pursue that. What I mean by “practical value” is to ask yourself whether you can become so good that you can turn it into a profession. If you don’t want to even invest time in trying that out, maybe you don’t really “love” to do that after all?

Often times people get confused between pleasurable activities and things that provide a sense of fulfillment (in terms of professional aspirations). It’s not an either-or thing; they co-exist. For example, if you love singing but you don’t see yourself becoming as good as a singer and doing it for a long time, or you simply don’t feel like dumping all your energy into it, maybe you shouldn’t be encouraged to “follow your passion” and become a singer. Surely you love singing, but you love it as a hobby, something fitting as a leisure activity. An investor once asked me after I made a pitch for this business plan competition: “if you love your idea so much that you believe it’ll work, would you be willing to sell everything you have to make it happen?” I couldn’t give him a straight answer, but I think he got his answer.

My point is this – you should not confuse a pleasurable hobby and a professional aspiration, which is why I mentioned previously how “doing what you love” is very vague in and of itself. There’s gotta be something out there, apart from your hobby (another area/field/thing that you’re interested in, which gives you fulfillment) that has the potential of becoming your value-added aspiration to life. Go and cultivate it!

I think Mark Cuban put it best when he wrote

“If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time.

Let me make this as clear as possible

1. When you work hard at something you become good at it.

2. When you become good at doing something, you will enjoy it more.

3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good chance you will become passionate or more passionate about it

4. When you are good at something, passionate and work even harder to excel and be the best at it, good things happen.

Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your passions and to success, however you define it.” (Source: Mark Cuban’s blog)

These are the advice I find plausible and do my best to follow since I read them. Many people would disagree, noting “if you are not spending time on what you love, aren’t you forcing yourself to do something you don’t like, and hence lead to ever greater unhappiness”. It’s not true, simply because you will never know if you like something until you try it; by “try it” I mean consistently doing something for a long period of time until you can decide if you really love or hate something.

Chances are there are more things about you that you have yet to discover just because you’re not trying new things. Good things in life, very much like good relationships, come after eliminating all that you don’t want or like. You simply don’t get it right the first or second time.

What I am trying to say is that you do not necessarily have to stick with something in life because you feel that it’s the right thing to do or you’ve been at it for so long it’d feel like a waste to dump it. Your dreams at age 18 may not necessarily be the same as your dreams at age 25; they evolve all the time. The best thing you can do when you’re lost is to cultivate good habits and work ethics that will get you through any types of challenges ahead.

Would like to sign off the post with my favorite speech of all-time:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc]

A Paradigm Shift for Happiness (What is Happiness Advantage?)

Despite my attempt to keep this blog purely Android/geek-themed, I can’t help but wish to merge some other topics which I deem important into this blog.

I am inspired to write this post after watching  this Ted Talk (literally a couple dozens times) by Shawn Achor, founder of Good Think Inc and a leading researcher in the area of positive psychology, who proposes adopting a reversed formula for happiness as completely opposed to conventional wisdom. This is easily the most engaging talk (non-tech-related) I’ve listened to so far. Check it out below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLJsdqxnZb0]

A quick thought after watching this video for the first few times: how this man can speak about seemingly unrelated stuff for almost 10 minutes while making everything so relevant at the end is extremely impressive. Fundamentally he posits that we can train our brains to become positive, just like how we train our muscles. Sure enough it would take a lot of time, good habits, an unwavering commitment and a set of good work ethics to make it happen, but the good news is it isn’t all that difficult after all.

Conventional wisdom of happiness

Works harder –> Becomes More Successful –> Becomes Happier

The problem with this formula, according to Shawn, is that the definition of “success” changes every time we achieve a goal. When we get a good job, we want to get a better job. When we get a high salary, we want to get a higher salary. Sadly enough this is just how most of us human beings are wired to work; we hardly ever get contented with what life has to offer. The goal post for success changes all the time, which means if happiness is on the other side of success, we will never get there because it’ll keep drifting away as we move our goal posts further and further away as we achieve more things.

Success |————————————————————————-|Happiness

The new formula for happiness (Ripple Effect)

Train your brain to be positive (5 ways – details in the video) –> Improved positivity (Better Performance) + Improved Happiness (Higher Intelligence) –> More productive at work –> More successful

In short, your external world doesn’t determine your happiness. Happiness is a choice you can make, and it is not impossibly difficult to learn how to make that choice. Similar to training your body, train your brain; consistency and perseverance play a big role here. Of course, a paradigm shift is not easily achieved unless we openly acknowledge there’s a problem with our current thinking and embrace the new way of thinking. I am by no means close to achieving that goal, but this is something I am willing to work hard on, as I believe it’ll have a long-term important impact on my future in countless number of ways. This blog post shall serve as both an information for you who haven’t discovered this concept before and a reminder for me to keep working at it until I’ve confirmed the validity of this formula, in which I strongly believe.