Jan 19th Mindful of Daddy

My mom called me this afternoon to help my dad. He got a little bit of trouble and my mom was worried.

My dadthe locksmith

One thing I can’t let go is my parents. They have been around for many years and I wish that they are happier. Sometimes, I am rather sad that they suffered so much bad health and illnesses.

My dad is an extraordinary man. He was a working in factory fixing machines and fell out with folks over there. He was also a supervisor. My dad likes to examine things and he found ways to pick locks. So he picked up the skills of lock picking by practice picking locks everyday. My dad quit his job and found himself a new career. Having to support his mom and my mom, he worked from morning till night. My parents never expect anything from me. They never ask any help from us and only keep on giving. Unlike parents today, my mom and dad never force me to study. It’s only when I failed my test, my dad paid for my tuition.

Do you have someone who sacrifices their time for you? It’s a blessing when someone pays the bills and allow you to enjoy your life. Be thankful for what you have today because no matter what, you are brought to this life having a roof over your head.

My dad doesn’t seems to be able to enjoy life. He still insist on going to work even through his sight is failing and he has a memory of 10 minutes.

My dad is a kind-hearted man who tried to do his bit for the earth everyday. He brought home stuffs that he things useful and disassemble them to sell for scraps.

Be mindful about what your dad contributes to your life.

Marcus Aurelius had an adopted father named Antoninus Pius. From him, Marcus learned…

Compassion. Unwavering adherence to decisions, once he’d reached them. Indifference to superficial honors. Hard work. Persistence. Listening to anyone who could contribute to the public good. His dogged determination to treat people as they deserved. A sense of when to push and when to back off. … His searching questions at meetings. A kind of single-mindedness, almost, never content with first impressions, or breaking off the discussion prematurely.

His consistency to friends-never getting fed up with them or playing favorites. Self-reliance, always. And cheerfulness. And his advanced planning (well in advance) and his discreet attention to even minor things.

His restrictions on acclamations-and all attempts to flatter him. … His stewardship of the treasury.

His willingness to take responsibility—and blame—for both. …

And his attitude to men: no demagoguery, no currying favor, no pandering. Always sober, always steady, and never vulgar or a prey to fads.

[…]

The way he kept public actions within reasonable bounds-games, building projects, distributions of money and so on-because he looked to what needed doing and not the credit to be gained from doing it.

[…]
You could have said of him (as they say of Socrates) that he knew how to enjoy and abstain from things that most people find it hard to abstain from and all too easy to enjoy.

Strength, perseverance, self-control in both areas: the mark of a soul in readiness-indomitable.

Jan 18th Mind your thoughts

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.

— Marcus Aurelius

You know, it’s hard at the beginning to tame the monkey mind. As you sit, millions of thoughts run past and you found yourself mumbling to yourself.

”We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.

Seneca”

~Seneca

There are always a chance of overthinking.

1. Journaling

That is why journaling helps you to straighten your thoughts.

What can you write about?

First, what’s troubling you? Determine what is causing you to over think. What’s causing you to feel uncomfortable? Is it the food on your table that is animal sourced and you can’t eat it because the cow is from a farm that treats it badly.

A ”stoic” app will help you with your thoughts….

2. Headspace – Andy Puddicombe (10 minutes)

Try his guided meditation since you already thinking so much, train yourself to just take ten minutes to meditate.

3. Go out for a jog (10 mins)

Exercise reduces your stress hormones like cortisol and increases endorphin, a natural chemical that helps you to feel relax. Of course if you think changing your clothes a hassle, just go for a HIIT work out which takes like 7 minutes.

4. Art as a vehicle of meditation (x minutes)

Who knows you may be a famous artists after reading my post.

There are other ways that will not go against virtues you can help relieve yourself. So go ahead, examine your thoughts.

Themi H. Demas PhD · 2017 · Political Science

As time goes, you will start to hear the chatter in your mind. Then you can even start to quiet them and return to tranquility by being in the moment to hear the sound of birds and smell of your breakfast.

I’m some days of the month you may not do it, it’s fine.

Jan 17th mindfulness on the job you hold

A: Do you think after automation, we causes a man to lost his job, will this consider bad?

B: No, we make the network more efficient. And certain steps we still need man

A: good point, On the other hand we saved costs on human errors and reduce wastes to environment

B: And the time save from automation, we could use in other more crucial areas. Automation is the correct path. It eases man’s burden.

We are just making the life better.

What work are you doing? Inevitably we are accountable for each other well being. Are you working to chase after wealth, fame or something that is outside your control or work to relieve suffering of others.

I’ve met dr Goh in Singapore during a talk. Dr Goh was passionate about helping advances over improving health diagnosis and made space compute possible. My job becomes meaningful and inspiring when I know our company is contributing to a greater outcome.

Life is tough already, why make it tougher?

Have you thought about what job you are holding? Does it make you feel motivated to move the product out to customers? I get salary every month and what motivates me is to get to work Everyday contributing to greater good.

Do you love Long enough to see through life?

The most touching story I’ve ever read in my time was “Tuesday with Morrie” and “When Breath Becomes Air”.

I was looking for a quote to describe Paul Kalanithi‘s life. He was a neurosurgeon whose life is cut short by cancer.

Whether you are shivering with cold or too hot, sleepy or wide awake, spoken well of or badly, dying, or doing anything else, do not let it interfere with doing what is right. For whatever causes us to die is also one of life’s processes. Even for this, nothing is required of us than to accomplish well the task at hand.

— Marcus Aurelius

How about you?

We are never so wise as when we live in this moment. —

Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Jan 16th Mindfulness about others emotions

Have you found yourself reading an email of the person and having an impression different when you met face-to-face?

What about listening to a remark and mistaken the meaning whilst fuming over that.

I had a meeting with a person and when I’ve shown him an item, he appeared very uncomfortable.

If you will, without judgement, look at the facial expression of the person you talk to. How about the tone of his voice and the body language?

Don’t judge, listen and help to understand them. Then act to relieve their suffering

Regards

Jan 15th How to taste mindfully

This morning, when I was having my breakfast, I tasted pork and realised its so juicy and smell so wonderful. I’m fortunate to have a mother-in-law who knows how to cook healthy and tasty meals.

I stayed in a tropical island where fruits are supplied all year round. Appreciate the fruits you eat because it takes time to bring to maturity.

Nothing important comes into being overnight; even grapes or figs need time to ripen. If you say that you want a fig now, I will tell you to be patient. First, you must allow the tree to flower, then put forth fruit; then you have to wait until the fruit is ripe. So if the fruit of a fig tree is not brought to maturity instantly or in an hour, how do you expect the human mind to come to fruition, so quickly and easily?

— Epictetus

Jan 14th Being mindful during a tennis game.

The wind was strong when we had a game. My friends and I were still novice tennis players,m and after one year, we are still novices.

The stoic archer may not know if the wind will bring his arrow away from target.

Donald Robertson · 2018 ·

He can notch his arrow and draw his bow to the best of his ability, but once the arrow has flown he can only wait to see if it hits the target.

“Take the case of one whose task it is to shoot a spear or arrow straight at some target. One’s ultimate aim is to do all in one’s power to shoot straight, and the same applies with our ultimate goal. In this kind of example, it is to shoot straight that one must do all one can; none the less, it is to do all one can to accomplish the task that is really the ultimate aim. It is just the same with what we call the supreme good in life. To actually hit the target is, as we say, to be selected but not sought.”

Tennis game can teach us a lot of things, team work, uncertainty, skills, etc

Novak Djokovic the famous tennis player, explains that he practices mindfulness meditation for 15 minutes every day. 

It’s just the same we do in life, we work on the process that ultimately the aim and not the aim itself.

Playing tennis focus on perfecting technique in presence of the external elements. Gravel floor, wind, sound of audience, how the umpires judges, etc.

Jan 13th Blue Monday specials How to be mindful about responding to emails?

If Seneca knew email exists, what do you think he will consider before he click the sent button.

Most of us, salaried workers working in any role will use emails to communicate. However, I haven’t figure out what the Romans will do before sending a Pigeon out to the sky. He must have been very careful about what message entails in writing because during those times, the delivery lead time was more than a week to his good friend Lucilius.

First of all, find out what’s the best time to read and send emails.

What’s the intention of the message and to whom you are sending too.

How are you feeling at the moment when writing the email?

If you are pretty angry, do a draft first and come back to the message later.

Are you clear and concise the the subject line? And have you state your purpose of your message?

So imagine you are Seneca, the message to your audience has to be clear and concise. Think about the cc and the bcc parties. (I’ve just learned that cc is carbon copy and bcc is known as blind copy. )

So how do you write an email?

I’ve learned there is a special style known as Pyramid Principle, a methodology for structured communication.

At McKinsey, “start with the answer first” was drilled into us. When an executive asked a question — “What should we do?” — you were to start your response with, “You should do X,” very crisply and directly. Only then, after you have answered the question, should you present your supporting reasons. Why?

Answer: we should be frugal with time. Putting off things is a biggest wastes of life.

“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”

Why? It’s obvious you wastes a lot of time watching Netflix, gossiping and complaining. Is it with it?

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” ― Dave Ramsey

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested… So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy.”

Of course, be mindful of your tone, your intentions and outcome. The emails examples I love are from Elon musk.

1) Elon Musk says sending profane email ‘one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done’

Elon Musk called himself “a forking (I’ve changed the word as we should be polite to readers) idiot” for sending unverified dirt to Ryan Mac, a reporter for BuzzFeed whilst attacking Thailand rescuer. View source

If only he practice mindfulness.

2) on a flip side, good emails from Elon Musk

Subject line: Acronyms Seriously Suck

There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don’t want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees.

That needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action – I have given enough warning over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past.

For example, there should be not “HTS” [horizontal test stand] or “VTS” [vertical test stand] designations for test stands. Those are particularly dumb, as they contain unnecessary words. A “stand” at our test site is obviously a test stand. VTS-3 is four syllables compared with “Tripod”, which is two, so the bloody acronym version actually takes longer to say than the name!

The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. An acronym that most engineers outside of SpaceX already know, such as GUI, is fine to use. It is also ok to make up a few acronyms/contractions every now and again, assuming I have approved them, e.g. MVac and M9 instead of Merlin 1C-Vacuum or Merlin 1C-Sea Level, but those need to be kept to a minimum.

So the lesson learned is, whatever you put in your email maybe used against you because most of them are stored as record in servers (even if you delete them).

3) please stop using CAPS in your email

Well when we are using CAPS, it means shouting…

4) beware who you cc or forward

For a record, you Dont need to openly point out others mistakes in email and cc to bosses or forward that on.

Someone will be said to have spoken ill of you; think whether you did not first speak ill of him; think of how many persons you have yourself spoken ill.

— Seneca

I’ve heard stories of unwelcome emails and I have written some ”hot” mails too. Nevertheless, I’ve learned some lessons and it pays to be mindful of writing emails.

How about you?

Jan 12th How can you be mindful about spending?

Today, some kids are a lot more fortunate than in the Roman period, where death, war and other unimaginable events took lives so easily.

Not only adults are spending, kids as young as 12-year-old are spending a lot even though they have nothing to earn.

Marcus Aurelius don’t place heavy emphasis on possessions, fame or status, he valued virtues.

Therefore, Lucilius, do as you write me that you are doing: hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. 

3. Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time. We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will can oust us from possession. What fools these mortals be! They allow the cheapest and most useless things, which can easily be replaced, to be charged in the reckoning, after they have acquired them; but they never regard themselves as in debt when they have received some of that precious commodity, – time! And yet time is the one loan which even a grateful recipient cannot repay.

So how do you spend your money?

“In the UK, 4 in 10 adults have less than £500 in savings and the average household saves only 3.3% of their earnings. The average American saves just 4% of her earnings. If we take Japan instead, households averaged 11.82% from 1970 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 49.70% in December of 2015 and a record low of -9.90% in May of 2012.”source

After computing my recent spending on a trip, boy it was a lot of money for a family of five. Then I did some research and found a way from this site which I haven’t practice of course.

The difference among other money managing system is, this requests you how much you wish to save.

  • Be mindful of where you save, earn and spend your money.
  • Survival: This covers everything you need to survive, such as rent or mortgage, groceries, medical expenses, etc
  • Optional: This is for things you don’t need to do, such as restaurant dining, going out for drinks, shopping, convenience purchases, and the like.
  • Culture: This is for the costs incurred for cultural experiences, which includes your Netflix subscription, theater tickets, books, and magazines
  • Extra: This covers any unanticipated or one-time expenses, like birthday gifts, car repairs, or furniture.

Then categorised them.

  • How much money do you have?
  • How much money would you like to save?
  • How much are you actually spending?
  • How can you improve on that?

Well you can read all about these in the link.

My point is, you already have what you need to survive. How about practicing desiring less?

Jan 11th Foundations of mindfulness

Back to first principle, what is mindfulness?

mindfulness was prosochē, [pro-soh-KHAY] which means paying attention

“Remember that man lives only in the present, in this fleeting instant; all the rest of his life is either past and gone, or not yet revealed.” – Marcus Aurelius

EPICTETUS’ THREE DISCIPLINES

  1. Assent (Stoic Mindfulness) the ability to sanction, or not our impressions.
  1. Action (Stoic Philanthropy) how we should behave towards others.
  1. Desire (Stoic Acceptance)what is proper or not to aim for? ”Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men’s desires, but by the removal of desire.” – Epictetus

”Every hour focus your mind attentively…on the performance of the task in hand, with dignity, human sympathy, benevolence and freedom, and leave aside all other thoughts. You will achieve this if you perform each action as if it were your last…

…each man only lives in this present instant…all the rest either has been lived or remains in uncertainty

Many of the anxieties that harass you are superfluous: being but creatures of your own fancy, you can rid yourself of them and expand into an ampler region, letting your thought sweep over the entire universe, contemplating the illimitable tracts of eternity.

In Buddhism, there four foundations of mindfulness stated in lion’s roar

More than 2,600 years ago, the Buddha exhorted his senior bhikkhus, monks with the responsibility of passing his teachings on to others, to train their students in the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.  


“What four?” he was asked.


“Come, friends,” the Buddha answered. “Dwell contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, unified, with concentrated one-pointed mind, in order to know the body as it really is. Dwell contemplating feeling in feelings… in order to know feelings as they really are. Dwell contemplating mind in mind… in order to know mind as it really is. Dwell contemplating dhamma in dhammas… in order to know dhammas as they really are.”

Four Foundations

mindfulness of the body (kaya);

  • mindfulness of feelings or sensations (vedanā);
  • mindfulness of mind or consciousness (citta); and.
  • mindfulness of dhammās

How to practice?

Let’s star from the beginning

Jan 10th How can you treat yourself better?

Oh fork! When you make a mistake, what’s the first thing you do? Sometimes, you found yourself so dumb and throw names at yourself for doing something wrong….

Sounds familiar?

You are doing and solving problems for others, do they care? Or you met with misfortune, you have been a good person, what’s running in your mind now?

Self-care, self-compassion and whatever the names are, do you realize that like others, you are not perfect. So making a mistake, being in a situation you can’t control is normal part of life.

The trick for stoic, I realized, is to catch yourself before the act and prevent the act from happening.

Wow and how? Realize that with a bit of reflection and mindfulness, you can actually prevent lots of self blame and self criticism.

Let’s roll back to the beginning, if you find yourself being too harsh to yourself.

1. Forgive your old self

The past is already past and the future is yet to come, why just say sorry and let go of your old self? remember it’s the virtues you need to cultivate. If you can forgive others, give a break to yourself.

It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.

— Epictetus

2. Start treating yourself better

For my case, I have spent my life earning a few pence to keep up with food and lodging. After enough has been saved, I gave myself a bit of a bonus to go out relax. Give yourself a massage, a facial or a fun outing within your means.

  • Check your bank account if you can afford it
  • If you are in a company, check leave balance
  • Sort out all your schedules so that you can keep others from bothering you (arrange childcare)
  • Invite friends to join – I find this form really chill and I made one just to cheer you up

No matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it.

-Tupac

3. Traits of self compassionate – be a friend of yourself

“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” — RuPaul

In a state of non-judgemental (like what stoic did), try now to listen what you say to yourself.

Is it something like ”why can’t you do a single thing right?” or kind words like you treat your friend or child.

Hey friend (free yourself from judgement)

You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 “Here is a rule to remember in future, when anything tempts you to feel bitter: not ‘This is misfortune’, but ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
 “Focus on the moment, not the monsters that may or may not be up ahead.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way

Now I realised is, my mentors are all dead. Those people who struggle before me wrote how they manage their own thoughts.

Resisting self-compassion: Why are some people opposed to being kind to themselves?

4. Journal like Marcus Aurelius did

There are a few apps you can place your famous words into. Sometimes a piece of paper will do. For younger generations, apps

Podcast

Be mindful of what runs through your mind.

Or just meditate