Sunday, May 24, 2020

New Release: A Great Life Guide v6

Super excited to release this version as it better conveys all the steps to live a great life! See the full guide at

A Great Life by Paige Cody @ Unsplash
To be happy:
  1. Let go of any negativity
  2. Enjoy the present
  3. Drive and express yourself
To do great things:
  1. Activate your body, passion, and mind
  2. Be mindful with acceptance
  3. Concentrate on one thing at a time
  4. Do the right thing

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Saturday, August 24, 2019

New Release: A Great Life Guide v3.4

The latest and greatest version of A Great Life Guide has been released. In this release, it has two significant changes:
  • Prioritize the things to do when doing one thing at a time as some things are more valuable than others
  • Correctly state the result of being mindful is peaceful rather than happiness. Once peaceful is attained, then happiness starts. The other steps contribute to happiness.
Check it out at

Saturday, October 27, 2018

True Happiness: Live Happily Ever After

Happiness is fairly elusive due to its difficulty to attain, especially since most people don't even know the difference between happy and happiness. Most people believe they are the same but they are not. Happy is a fleeting joyous feeling that comes and goes based on experiences, such as eating good food or hanging out with friends. It goes away soon after the experience ends. In order to obtain happiness, the experience must be significant and long lasting, such as being with family (i.e. human bonding), spending time with a hobby, working towards career goals, etc -- i.e. life goals. Even when we are not with our family, we would still feel contentment and inner peace. That's true happiness.

I believe there are three ways to attain true happiness (in order of difficulty and effectiveness):
  1. The easiest way is from the outside-in using positive lasting experiences, such as working towards meaningful life goals.
  2. Regardless of how things are in the world, it's possible to achieve happiness with acceptance, which changes how we see things by removing judgement and expectations.
  3. The most difficult and supposedly also most effective is from the inside-out using positive meditation, which prepares the mind for happiness and encourages happiness to grow. The key to happiness is having positive emotions and outlook that allows us to turn happy moments into long lasting happiness. Positive meditation calms the mind to minimize mental energy loss and then focus the energy on the positive things that provide lasting happiness. I will write a dedicated post for this later as meditation seems to take a while to realize the benefits, but the general approach is to do the following every day:
    • Relax your body using body scan meditation and bring your mind to the present with mindfulness meditation.
    • Focus on positive experiences from the day before or any time and vividly replay them in your mind to feel the emotions. Focus on the positive emotions (e.g. happy). This last part is also called happiness meditation that is recommended by the world's happiest man. 
True happiness doesn't just happen in fairy tales. Everyone can have it with just a sprinkle of happiness meditation with acceptance and a dash of positive experiences in life.

This is part of Living Life to the Fullest blog series.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Game of Life

I just finished watching a movie named Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Netflix -- interesting movie -- and it reminded and inspired me that life is like a game. In a game, there are obstacles and bad guys, but we play to win.

There are definitely tough challenges or bosses, but as long as we keep trying, we become better and eventually would be able to beat them.

Sometimes we feel like giving up, why play the game when it's too hard or not so fun? If we do give up, then that kinda defeats the point of the game and we will never find out what treasure awaits us after the last boss. If it's too hard, just go back a level to do more training. Easy. Too boring? With a bit of imagination, anything can be fun.

If we do get tired of playing the game, we can definitely take a break to recuperate, but not too long as we may loose momentum.

After playing the game for awhile and we reach the next level where the game is not too easy, nor too hard, but it is just challenging enough to be still enjoyable, we get into "the zone" where we reach and push our capabilities continuously and effortlessly. Some call that "the flow".

While I was watching the movie, I did some yoga and felt a little bit of the flow, and it was great. It felt like I could do anything. Gotta do that more often.

In short, life is a game and we play to win no matter what...together! Don't forget to have fun, it's a game after all. Treasure awaits those that persevere.

This is part of the Essential Life Skills series.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Details: Regression of The Mind

This is a post about the implementation details behind and between ideas from other posts. It's a deeper look into my thoughts and feelings, so you have been warned.

In the past few days, I feel like my mind and body have regressed in functionality, despite a consistent and heavy investment in meditation and yoga. It's like one step forward, and then two steps back. I wasn't able to pay attention in normal conversations as my mind keeps on drifting to something else. Despite what I read, like having a purpose, interest, and curiosity during conversation, I didn't really remember those things during real life situations. I suppose some of that is more about lack of practice -- can't expect to be good at something without actually practice and using what I have learned. 

Today, it feels kinda ok. Guess the mind and body has its up and down regardless of what you do, or maybe I may still be doing something wrong unknowingly. It would be nice if we have a monitor that shows our stats -- cognitive abilities, mental energy, attention span, physical shape, etc, so we know how we are doing in order to better do things that improve our stats.

Emotionally feels apathetic as I keep trying to accept everything and everyone as perfect in their own way, so that I can better understand and then improve while remaining happy. And that doesn't really motivate me. It feels like motivation has a lot to do with our emotions (e.g. passion). So I am thinking of changing Step 5 of Master Check to be "Embrace positivity, such as having fun, love others, focusing on positive side / emotions, etc". 

Accepting everyone is perfect in their own way has been a bit difficult as there are really lots of not-so-good people out there that do crappy things that makes life not enjoyable. Like companies that use automated service to keep calling me every morning around 7am to sell insurance or what not using random numbers, despite being added to their 'do not call list' so many times. Even my own kids fighting all the time despite everything that I teach them (maybe they are too young?). Or many people tend to keep focusing on the negative side of things that makes thing worse and not better. It's interesting why people keep on doing the obviously wrong things, and refuse or just don't care to improve so they can be happier. Silently chanting "accept everyone without judgement / expectations"... 

Accepting everything is perfect may also have conflicts as there are certainly some unfortunately events, such as horrible accidents or crime, that "perfect" is just never the right word to describe it. Originally, I wanted to use "perfect" as a short way to remove the judgement/expectations as if there is only one "best" state, then there is nothing to compare against. Perhaps "accept everything as-is"? 

Guess I have much to learn. I am reading a book called "Flow" right now, it's interesting how it describes consciousness, intentions, attentions, and self in great detail -- hopefully, it will have some interesting bits of information to give me an "ah ha" moment at the end that makes some of my conflicts click and resolve. Otherwise, the hunt of abstracting and simplifying life continues. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Achieving Happiness with Acceptance

Previously, I posted about achieving happiness with meaningful life goals. While that gives us direction and meaning, and as long as we make progress, it would give us happiness. When there is no progress or worse, when things regress, then we are not very happy. That's where acceptance comes in.

That doesn't mean admit defeat and give up on life goals, but simply accept things as they are right now. It's to understand and realize that everything happens for a reason, the bad and the good. Regardless of how things are, if we expect them to be a certain way, we will always be unhappy at some point. So in order for us to be happy always, then we need to learn to accept not just the good things in life, but the bad as well. Accept the bad to fully understand and learn from them, and that will let us come up with choices to make things better.

My life goal is to continuously improve myself and help others do the same, so I have been doing a lot of that lately, but slowly everything just becomes exhausting and frustrated, and hence me no happy, which is counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve. I realized there is a continuous expectation for me to become better, and expecting others to do the same as well. When there is progress, it's great. But sometimes, or maybe often, there isn't progress or things just backfire -- I become mentally/physically exhausted, kids are fighting, others are not doing what they should be doing. There's a lot of expectation, hence I have created a gap between reality and expectation, which is the cause of unhappiness according to a wise wife of an ex-colleague.

I have been reading about meditation, and one of the books that I read, The Mindful Day, mentioned that Acceptance is a quality of meditation -- an attitude, principle, or even as a mindset of how you pay attention. It's the ability to see things as they really are without filter and expectation of being different. Maybe thanks to meditation, I have finally realized what that means and can truly start to embrace everything and everyone as they are. Everything and everyone is perfect in their own way. No one needs to be a certain way, or should be another way. But could be if they choose -- the choice is theirs alone and no one else's. That's a choice, not an expectation, which is a good thing. When we accept others or difficult situations, we can better understand them, and as there is no expectation to be different or better, hence there is no gap between reality and expectation, then we are happy.

Hence, I have come to realize there is another way to achieving happiness, and that's acceptance. Accept others as they are -- even the murderers, animal/viruses/bacteria/diseases that kill us, or just our kids fighting each other. Accept situations are they are -- being homeless, got cheated, not getting promoted, being rained on in the middle of a jungle. With acceptance, we gain better understanding of others and the situation without expectations of being different or better.

To be truly happy, we must truly accept everything and everyone as they are.

This is part of Living Life to the Fullest blog series.