The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell (Part 3)

Affection. The feeling that you are loved helps to promote zest. A man could consider himself dreadful and that no one would love him. Or he just might be someone who nobody loves. A man could act friendly or kind in order to win friends. However, others might see through his motives. A man could seek revenge on the world if he is unloved. Such occurrences are rare as men would usually sink into timid despair. The fearless man will find life’s obstacles easier to navigate. Self-confidence is also closely linked to affection. This habit of mind is a source of zest. The affection you receive is the thing that provides a sense of security in life. A child who does not receive parental affection is likely to become timid. Not all affection encourages adventurousness. However, the care that parents give needs to support child growth and courage too. There is no need to be unduly possessive. Some men like timid women, because they can protect them. Affection and security are closed linked. If you are unable to enjoy sex love, it might deprive you of the joys that life has to offer. Men love women for their appearance, while women love men for their character. One can give two types of affection, one is a zest for life, the other is an expression of fear. You can give better love to others if you feel safe. There is also a form of insecure love. Insecure love means you tend to love someone for their services rendered, not for their intrinsic qualities. This is never wise to be in a one-way relationship. These are selfish people who tend to be very ambitious. Ambition which excludes affection does not lead to true happiness. Some people are scared to love for fear they might be made use of or hurt.

Those who face life with a feeling of security are much happier than those who face it with a feeling of insecurity, at any rate so long as their sense of security does not lead them to disaster. – Betrand Russell

Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy. – Betrand Russell

To be unable to inspire sex love is a grave misfortune to any man or woman, since it deprives him or her of the greatest joys that life has to offer. – Betrand Russell

The best type of affection is reciprocally life-giving; each receives affection with joy and gives it without effort, and each finds the whole world more interesting in consequence of the existence of this reciprocal happiness. – Betrand Russell

Another form of affection is in which one person sucks the vitality of the other, one receives what the other gives, but gives almost nothing in return. – Betrand Russell

A too powerful ego is a prison from which a man must escape if he is to enjoy the world to the full. A capacity for genuine affection is one of the marks of the man who has escaped from this prison of self. – Betrand Russell

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness. – Betrand Russell

The Family. The family is very disorganized. Interactions between parents and children tend to lead to unhappiness. Causes of family unhappiness are very diverse in nature. Women are now more career driven and there has been a decay of domestic service. In the past, it was frowned upon to be a spinster. Now, a spinster can live comfortably if she has a good education. There is a conflict between a good career and having kids. Some women hesitate on having kids as she might have to take a backseat in her career. The quality of domestic help may not be good too. Sometimes, it is not wise to entrust maids to take care of young children. There is a greater urban population in England now as compared to the rural population. Those who live in the city have to be content with a smaller house. If you raise a family, a small house is no good. If a man lives in the countryside, he will have to travel up and down to the city, which is tiring. In the past, even if the slaves hated their masters, the masters were still relatively happy. Parenthood becomes a lot more timid in modern society. If not done properly, the children’s affections can be over or under-stimulated. It is no wonder that birth rates have declined. The divines believed in having a lot of children. Very few people want to have children because they see it as a public duty. Parenthood is certainly capable of providing the greatest and most enduring happiness that life has to offer. I have found parenthood to be very rewarding and it has been able to provide one of the best forms of happiness. For those without kids, death ends all. With kids, you can have a legacy. We feel very safe when our parents love us. The parent should be pure at heart and should never desire power or control over a child. A parent must always respect a child’s personality. A parent’s respect for a child is absolutely crucial. If a woman feels she is not capable to take care of her children, she should outsource it to a domestic helper.

The change in the relation between parent and children is a particular example of the general spread of democracy. Parents are no longer sure of their rights as against their children; children no longer feel that they owe respect to their parents. – Betrand Russell

The most civilized are the most sterile; the least civilized are the most fertile; and between the two there is a continual gradation. – Betrand Russell

It is clear that a civilization which has this characteristic (of declining birth rates) is unstable; unless it can be induced to reproduce its numbers, it must sooner or later die out and give place to some other civilization in which the urge towards parenthood has retained enough strength to prevent the population from declining. – Betrand Russell

It is clear that the urge for the professional woman to have children must be very powerful, for otherwise none of them would make the sacrifices required in order to satisfy it. – Betrand Russell

To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future. – Betrand Russell

A man who is capable of some great and remarkable achievement which sets its stamp upon future ages may gratify this feeling through his work, but for men and women who have no exceptional gifts, the only way to do so is through children. – Betrand Russell

The broad fact remains that parental affection is a special kind of feeling which the normal human being experiences towards his or her own children, but not towards any other human being. – Betrand Russell

The value of parental affection to children lies largely in the fact that it is more reliable than any other affection. One’s friends like one for one’s merits, one’s lovers for one’s charms; if the merits or the charms diminish, friends and lovers may vanish. – Betrand Russell

In all human relations it is fairly easy to secure happiness for one party, but much more difficult to secure it for both. – Betrand Russell

But universal as is the need for this kind of gentleness, the respect for a child’s personality is needed most of all where children are concerned, because of their helplessness, and because their small size and feeble strength cause vulgar souls to despise them. – Betrand Russell

A woman who has acquired any kind of professional skill ought, both for her own sake and for that of the community, to be free to continue to exercise this skill in spite of motherhood. – Betrand Russell

The mother who is conventionally called self-sacrificing is, in a great majority of cases, exceptionally selfish towards her children, for, important as parenthood is as an element in life, it is not satisfying if it treated as the whole of life. – Betrand Russell

Work. Work can be irksome and painful. Whether you enjoy work, it depends on the nature of the work and the abilities of the worker. Very few people know how to use their time. People are okay with obeying, provided the orders are not too unpleasant. One could travel, but youth is past, it is harder to enjoy as much. Work helps to prevent boredom. Work makes holiday more delicious when they come. Thus, the working man is likely to find more zest in his free time. Work also gives Man a chance for success and opportunities for ambition. Higher income can also provide more security in future. People can tolerate some degree of hardships through their work. Thus, a housewife is a disadvantage because she does not work and her husband might not appreciate what she is doing at home. In general, people who work are happier than those who don’t. It is even better if a man is able to find interesting work. There are two elements to what makes work interesting: 1) the exercise of skill; 2) construction. People enjoy acquiring skill until they can no longer improve themselves. Surgeons enjoy performing surgeries on others. For politicians, they tend to get better with age. The creation of something also is important, although it may not be physical. There are both works of destruction and construction. However, construction brings more joy whereas destruction of the enemies brings less. Man can certainly be proud is his achievements at work, however small it may be. However, some artists who had produced great works can be unhappy too. Men of science tend to less unhappy than men of art. Those with literary skills often find themselves with limited opportunities to express their talents. A man needs to respect his work and see value in it. Some men have no direction in life and get blown from side to side. These men are unlikely to be able to find long term happiness.

I think, however, that, provided work is not excessive in amount, even the dullest work is to most people less painful than idleness. – Betrand Russell

To begin with, work fills a good many hours of the day without the need of deciding what one shall do. Most people, when they are left free to fill their own time according to their own choice, are at a loss to think of anything sufficiently pleasant to be worth doing. – Betrand Russell

Work, therefore, is desirable, first and foremost, as a preventive of boredom, for the boredom that a man feels when he is doing necessary though uninteresting work is as nothing in comparison with the boredom that he feels when he has nothing to do with his days. – Betrand Russell

Continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients of happiness in the long run, and for most men this comes chiefly through their work. – Betrand Russell

All skilled work can be pleasurable, provided the skill required is either variable or capable of indefinite improvement. If these conditions are absent, it will cease to be interesting when a man has acquired his maximum skill. – Betrand Russell

Without self-respect, genuine happiness is scarcely possible. And the man who is ashamed of his work can hardly achieve self-respect. – Betrand Russell

Consistent purpose is not enough to make life happy, but it is an almost indispensable condition of a happy life. And consistent purpose embodies itself mainly in work. – Betrand Russell

Impersonal Interests. This chapter is about people’s hobbies. When you read something not connected to your work, you read less critically and more disinterestedly. This chapter is precisely about activities outside man’s main line of work. External interests do not have a strong call for any action. The actions you take are voluntary. External hobbies also help to prevent someone from worrying about it too much. However, a man should not pick up hobbies like gambling or those hobbies which can produce emotional fatigue. For women, most of them do not seem absorbed in any wholly irresponsible interest. Relaxation helps to give a man a sense of proportion. Sometimes, we get unduly excited or impressed over something. Understand that what we do does not matter much in the long term. Modern education does not provide much enlargement of the heart and mind. Our life on this planet is temporal. Hobbies can greatly help to boost happiness. This is because it is outside your realm of work and causes you to be less stressed. When you are anxious but realize you can do nothing about it, engage in your hobby. Man should seek distraction when he experiences sorrow. One should turn thought into new channels. We should not pin all hopes on our loved ones as they will pass on someday eventually.

One of the sources of unhappiness, fatigue, and nervous strain is inability to be interested in anything that is not of practical importance in one’s own life. – Betrand Russell

And it is very much easier to forget work at the times when it ought to be forgotten if a man has many interests other than his work than it is if he has not. – Betrand Russell

A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him. – Betrand Russell

Effort and Resignation. There is a need to find a balance between effort and resignation. Happiness requires work, which is why it is the Conquest of Happiness. Men must learn to cope with the challenges of life. If you are lucky, you may live a blissful life. However, for most people, happiness is an achievement rather than a given. We all have to work for a living and this requires effort. Resignation definitely might not lead to happiness. In modern society, income has become the measure of success. Effort is required for happiness, but resignation does have its part to play too. It is unwise to spend time and emotions on things if they interfere with the pursuit of something more important. It is not wise to be overly obsessive over anything. To resign by being defeated by unconquerable hope is alright. Some people are upset by the smallest things in life and cannot see the big picture. These people tend to sweat the small things. Worry over such trivial matters do not make sense. Learn to believe in the future of mankind and those who will carry on your trade after you’re gone.

Happiness is not something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit, by the mere operation of fortunate circumstances. – Betrand Russell

The man of science who desires to make great discoveries himself may fail to do so, or may have to abandon his work owing to a blow on the head, but if he desires profoundly the progress of science and not merely his personal contribution to this object, he will not feel the same despair as would be felt by a man whose research had purely egoistic motives. – Betrand Russell

The Happy Man. Happiness is certainly possible without having a religion. One should avoid fear, envy, the sense of sin, self-pity and self-admiration. Self-centred passions afford little variety in life. Affection cannot be calculated and it would be foolish to try and do so. Admit painful truths to yourself every day. Only act on your genuine interests and do not force yourself to do things. There might be a slight conflict between this book and what traditional moralists think.

Certain things are indispensable to the happiness of most men, but these are simple things: food and shelter, health, love, successful work and the respect of one’s own herd. To some people parenthood also is essential. – Betrand Russell

Where outward circumstances are not definitely unfortunate, a man should be able to achieve happiness, provided that his passions and interests are directed outward, not inward. – Betrand Russell

The happy man is the man who lives objectively, who has free affections and wide interests, who secures his happiness through these interests and affections and through the fact that they, in turn, make him an object of interest and affection to many others. – Betrand Russell

To be the recipient of affection is a potent cause of happiness, but the man who demands affection is not the man upon whom it is bestowed. The man who receives affection is, speaking broadly, the man who gives it. – Betrand Russell



Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 2)

Taking Back Joy. When I listened to a happy song from childhood and started dancing, I felt happy. Survivor guilt can rob you of your joy. After his passing, I tried to have fun with my children. We took things that reminded us of Dave and made it part of our lives. Allow yourself to be happy and be kind to yourself. Joy has to come your within yourself and no one else. How you spend each day matters more than only the big moments of joy. Do the small things that make you happy. Write down the moments of joy each day. Happiness does require work. Humans are wired to focus on the negative as compared to the positive. The cool breeze could be a positive moment for gratitude too. Happiness can equate to peacefulness too. Try to engage in something challenging and engrossing that can give you that flow state. Exercise can help you to achieve that flow state quickly. Joy can give us strength too. You can find joy in the small moments that you seize and create for yourself.

Raising Resilient Kids. One way is to respond to embarrassment with humour. It is wise to just announce the sad news to your kids directly. We owe it to our children to make them as happy as possible. Early intervention is critical. The school needs to protect a safe environment for kids. Disadvantaged families should be provided with home visits and counseling. Resilience is a lifelong project. Children must develop these few beliefs: they have some control over their lives; they can bounce back from failure; they matter as human beings; they have real strength. It is important to help them understand that they are in control of their lives. Pre-school has a huge role to play in this. Allow your kids to share their dreams with others. It is important to get an education. Kids should adopt a growth instead of fixed mindset. Sometimes, complimenting too soon doesn’t work. Rather, one should comment ‘I’m glad you tried your hardest’. Adults need to tell the kids that they matter. In Denmark, children are encouraged to share their problems in class. Help your kid identify his strengths by making him pick up skills. For instance, you could encourage the kid to pick up a musical instrument. Respect your feelings and try not to suppress them. Sleep matters even during times of adversity. Learning how to forgive is also extremely important. Do not afraid to ask for help and encourage your kids to do so. Sometimes, I still talk about Dave as it helps to keep Dave’s memory alive. If your kids can have a strong understanding of your family members and their parents, they have been coping skills. Nostalgia is usually good as it reflects a pleasant state most of the time. Make the most out of Option B. Keep photos and videos of your loved ones as these help to create happiness.

Finding Strength Together. Hope is the key to resilience. It is possible to bond over hope and create a shared identity. People can pray together. It is important to change tragedy into a miracle. Keep your faith at all times. There is unity in strength. Collective resilience is also dependent on shared experiences etc. Attending support groups can also help you deeply. It might be wise to join a community after a tragedy. Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. Shared narratives can play a big part. It is also useful to be lifted by positive ‘stereotypes’ right at the start. Support circles help to build collect resilience. It can certainly be difficult to forgive a gunman who killed so many people. As a community, we can gather together to tackle the tough problems in life. Empowering communities can be the key sometimes. As a community, we can learn to support vulnerable groups.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. – Martin Luther King Jr

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. – Martin Luther King Jr

Failing and Learning at Work. I took my kids to visit SpaceX. We need to learn from our failures. Often, we are too proud to admit that we made a mistake. The majority of things that people regretted was the actions they failed to take. Move fast and break things. At Facebook, we go for teambuilding and often fail at challenges. Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity. You could ask colleagues what their biggest screw-up is and everyone could compete to see who the biggest screw-up is. Resilience is needed in all organizations of all sizes. We need to all focus on learning from failure. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Learn to gather and act on negative feedback. We all have our own blind spots but often ignore them. Feedback is hard to take. Sports teams often learn from their mistakes. Learn to take suggestions from a coach too. Try not to treat the feedback personally. People are afraid of criticizing others. Everyone should have at least 1 hard conversation in the past.

The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. – Sheryl Sandberg

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. – Sheryl Sandberg

To Love and Laugh Again. Being alone can be an empowering decision indeed. Getting married increases one’s happiness just by a bit. I wanted to find love again after Dave passed on. If you date too soon, people may judge you. Men are more likely to date after their spouse has passed on. The responsibility of caring for children and aged parents seems to fall on the women more. Widows in some parts of the world are cruelly treated. Do not listen to others. When your heart feels like you should date, you should go ahead. However, dating does not erase the grief and that is perfectly fine. When we fall in love, we have a great sense of energy and euphoria. Dating helps brings back the humour. Eventually, one will even learn to joke about death. Joking about Dave now helps to break the tension. Humor makes situations less stressful. It is still very much possible to love someone even after they have died. It is crucial to pay attention to the everyday interaction with our partners. You must turn towards their bid. One way to re-ignite the spark in a relationship is to try new activities. Partners have to be able to overcome conflict. You can’t control whether you fall in love. There is always Option B and we can still find joy.

Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others. Finding a way to make love last through the highs and lows. – Sheryl Sandberg


Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 1)

Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Introduction. I met Dave Goldberg in the summer of 1996. He was very comforting and lovely. It was love at first sight. He was assuring and very understanding. However, 11 years into our wedding, one day, he suffered from a heart attack while on a treadmill and passed on. I was in utter shock and disgust and didn’t believe that this was happening to me. My kids very truly upset too. I felt like I was in a void. At times, I felt like I could hear Dave calling out to me in my sleep. Ordinary events were painful to go through. I was worried my kids would never be the same again. The songs on the radio weren’t helping too. People encouraged to let grief run its course. Adam Grant gave me advice too. The fact is that many people who have lost parents turn out to be resilient. Time will heal the wounds, or so they said. I have no choice but to get over the shock. This book is about how to build resilience. Adversity is everywhere. I am fortunate for the support I have received throughout. It is possible to find greater meaning. Life is never perfect and sometimes we have live Option B.

Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity – and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone. – Sheryl Sandberg

This book is about the capacity of the human spirit to persevere. We look at the steps people can take, both to help themselves and to help others. We explore the psychology of recovery and the challenges of regaining confidence and rediscovering joy. – Sheryl Sandberg

Breathing Again. A friend I knew was too trusting and gave a co-worker a ride home. However, he raped her in the end. I offered this lady help. If you don’t believe in all 3, you will find it easier to cope. It is never all your fault and there are things which you might not be able to do better. Learn to stop saying ‘sorry’ after a while. Not everything was terrible after all. We had access to grief counsellors. Working also helps with the pervasiveness bit. However, if you return to work too soon, grief can interfere with the performance. Employers should provide flexible arrangements and financial assistance etc. Humans tend to overestimate how long negative events will impact us. I tried to banish the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ from my vocabulary. The pain temporarily eased up after a while. Humans are also wired for grief. Deep breathing helps me to calm down. The second derivative thoughts were not pleasant at all. I learnt from Buddhism that suffering is inevitable. Over time, my kids and I learnt to respect our feelings. Sometimes, it is necessary to take cry breaks. Focusing on worst case scenarios also had me feel better. We also pray before every meal and thank God for the food. Counting the blessings in your life can make you happier and feel satisfied. We are also financially stable and that is very important to us all. Once, I went for a mammogram and I was alarmed. Thankfully, it was a false positive. Even heartache doesn’t last forever. When life kicks you under, learn to breathe again.

3 P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. – Sheryl Sandberg

Part of every misery, is misery’s shadow… the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. – Sheryl Sandberg

Dealing with grief was like building physical stamina: the more you exercise, the faster your heart rate recovers after it is elevated. And sometimes during especially vigorous physical activity, you discover strength you didn’t know you had. – Sheryl Sandberg

Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room. I went for a college reunion with some of Daves’ friends. Sometimes, asking someone about their illness can comfort them and show that you care. I felt miserable when friends didn’t ask how I was doing after Dave’s passing. People avoid asking because they want to avoid difficult questions. However, the fact is that people who have endured terrible things want to talk about them. Some parents who have lost children also want others to speak about them from time to time. ‘Mum effect’ is when people avoid sharing bad news. By remaining silent in your suffering, you isolate others. It would be good to have friends who ask you difficult questions but do not judge on your answers. People who have been through adversity can connect better with others who are suffering too. Cultural pressure to conceal negative emotions is common. The fact is that most people do not know what to say, especially when it comes to personal matters. I thought that I carrying an elephant around. A month after my husband’s passing, I shared my thoughts openly on Facebook. After that post, I received a lot of love and compassion. Not everyone will be comfortable about talking about personal tragedy. Opening up can improve mental and physical health. Instead of ‘How are you?’; ask ‘How are you today?’. I acknowledged the elephant’s presence and after opening up, many colleagues did reveal that they did not dare to speak up because they were afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I had failed to ask him directly about his health not because I didn’t care, but because I was worried about upsetting him. – Sheryl Sandberg

When life gives you lemons, I won’t tell you a story about my cousin’s friends who died of lemons. – Postcard

When someone is struck ill with cancer, you can ask ‘I know you don’t know yet what will happen – and neither do I. But you won’t go through this alone. I will be there with you every step of the way.’ Or ‘I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you. – Sheryl Sandberg

The Platinum Rule of Friendship. Adam encountered a kid, named Owen. He had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and later took his own life. When you are feeling stressed, you need an outlet. For instance, you can call a counsellor at any time of the day. Sometimes when we feel like reaching out to help, we might suddenly hold back because we fear saying the wrong thing or offending the person. This is like choosing escape over empathy. The trick is just to show up, showing up can make a huge difference in a friend’s life. It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you are not the one suffering. Instead of saying ‘I will do anything to help you’, you could say ‘let me get you a burger, let me know what you not take’. Specific acts are more useful for someone in need. Even holding someone’s hand can be a big help too. One can offer comfort to those closest to the tragedy and gain support for those further away from the tragedy. We all grieve differently. It is very rude to suggest that someone should be over their grieving period.

Growing up, I was taught to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. But when someone is suffering, instead of following the Golden Rule, we need to follow the Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated. Take a cue from the person in distress and respond with understanding – or better yet, action. – Sheryl Sandberg

Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence. Coming to grips with ourselves. Self-compassion is rarely talked about in our society. Everyone makes mistakes. These imperfections make us human. Self-compassion is the key to a faster recovery from trauma. Focus on the mistake and not the person’s character. Guilt and shame are completely 2 different feelings. Learn from your mistakes and own up to them. Writing down your thoughts in a journal might be useful and has much therapeutic effects. The more you acknowledge the negative emotions that you are feeling, the better you can tackle them. Talking into a voice recorder can have a similar effect to writing. Learn to understand that your worth is not tied to your actions. Self-confidence is the key. I am grateful to have a compassionate boss, Mark Zuckerberg. I start journaling and realized that it helped me tremendously. Even when you are really down, you can focus on 3 small wins and write them down daily. Just reminding that something had gone well that day can improve your day instantly. Learn to count your contributions too. Take one extra step even though you are afraid. Learn to treat those who are undergoing a tough time as regular team members and praise their work occasionally. The number of single mums are rising and a lot of them are having a tough time too. Over time, I journaled less. I want to move on and start living again. I am not alone.

Psychologist Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as offering the same kindness to ourselves that we would give it to a friend. It allows us to respond to our own errors with concern and understanding rather than criticism and shame. – Sheryl Sandberg

This loss of confidence is another symptom of pervasiveness: we are struggling in one area and suddenly we stop believing in our capabilities in other areas. Primary loss triggers secondary losses. – Sheryl Sandberg

Bouncing Forward. The one I become will catch me. When you can’t change a situation, you will have to change yourself. Some people can experience post-traumatic growth. This means bouncing forward. It can take 5 forms: forming deep relationships; discovering meaning in life; gaining appreciation; finding personal strength and seeing possibilities. One can walk away with greater resolve. The little things do not bother you so much anymore. If you can find your why to live, you can find meaning to live. I appreciate my close ones more. If you visit poorer communities, you might start to appreciate life more. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Now, I celebrate birthdays every year. You do not need to wait for special occasions to show your gratitude. One could write thank you notes. Every day is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Going through difficult times together can cause one to forge stronger bonds together. It is also important to find meaning in suffering. One could do so via spirituality and religious beliefs. It is important to stay hopeful in your darkest hours too. Trauma can help to build resilience. Work can provide a source of meaning. You can energize yourself with meaningful work. A brush with death can lead to a new life. Some believe in co-destiny, where bereaved parents view their child’s life in a larger framework. Parents can do good, which becomes part of their child’s impact on the world.

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends. – Old Saying


The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

A lack of sleep affects my concentration levels. I tend to procrastinate way too often too. Humans like to find meaning in what they do. The author is a researcher by nature and likes to hunt patterns. We all struggle with shame and fear. We are afraid of portraying our true selves. One should consider embracing their imperfections. How can one create a wholehearted life? To live a wholehearted life, we need to love ourselves. Embrace your tenderness and vulnerability. Everyone needs their fair share of heart work. The author worked on changing her life. Often, big events will force us to shake up and wake up. However, most people tend to ignore these signs. After the transformation, the author felt much better than ever before. She was finally comfortable in her own skin. She tried not to be bothered by what others thought of her. This was literally a spiritual awakening moment in her life. Loving yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. Compassion and connection are important. Learn to cultivate and to let go.

Introduction: Wholehearted Living. Have the courage to say ‘I am enough’. Tell yourself you are worthy of love and belonging. Love with your whole heart. Courage, compassion and connection are the gifts of imperfection. The next chapter will focus on love. How can we cultivate resilience? There are a total of 10 guideposts for this journey. Love can have different definitions, but it is important to find a definition that has meaning to the individual. It helps to slow down and let it all go sometimes. Sometimes, meditation might be useful in this. If you keep forcing yourself to be productive, it can be extremely tiring. Everyone needs their own DIG Deep strategies. One needs to know what is currently getting in their way. Shame and fear are very powerful indeed.

Courage, Compassion and Connection. The key word is practice. Shame doesn’t like it when we are courageous and like to share our story with others. Do not bury your story. You want someone who can empathize with your story and not just sympathize with you. You want to share it with someone who has the right to hear it. I recounted my story to my sister. You can relate to someone if you reveal your vulnerabilities to them. Courage is a very important quality to have. Just ordinary courage will do. This means speaking honestly about how we are and our experiences. It is very brave to say things like ‘I don’t know’ in class. Be honest when you are excited over something and there is no need to downplay the importance of it. Learn to say things like ‘you’re not alone’ to others. Courage can be addictive. Be relaxed towards what actually scares you. Humans have the natural tendency to self-protect. Someone else must be willing to be the darkness with you. Learn to be more boundary-conscious and compassionate. Learn to accept yourself for who you are. We like to finger-point but we don’t like to be accountable for our mistakes. Can we learn to be kinder to others? Do not vent your anger openly in front of your colleagues. Shaming and blaming is completely not effective. Let people know what the consequences of their actions should be. You need to separate the person from the behavior when reprimanding them. Boundaries and accountability is the key. Connection can be very powerful indeed. Connection begets connection. Humans have been wired for connection. Technology can seemingly ‘connect’ people. It is okay to seek help sometimes. Be willing to tell your story and feel the pain of others.

Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough. You must feel that you are worthy of love and belonging. You are worthy of love now and don’t need to change yourself in any way. When was the last time you had a serious conversation with anyone? Belonging is essential too. Fitting in and belonging are completely different. Fitting in means you need to change yourself and seek acceptance. Everything is uncertain in life. Everyone has the need for love and belonging. We are all wired to love. An absence of love might lead to suffering. Belonging is something that is larger than us. Self-love means respecting yourself and treating others with respect. Learn to accept your imperfections. We often spend the bulk of our life trying to gain approval from others. Learn to practice love and belonging. Your behavior is more important than what you say. Professing and practicing love can be very different indeed. Some people might attempt to love their children more than themselves. Sometimes, they might smoke excessively, resulting in ill health. What is holding you back from loving fully?

The Things that Get in the Way. I was terrified when I was asked to speak at a TED talk. My adviser encouraged me to speak from my heart instead of my head. I needed to keep things real and honest. I was a wreck as I had no clue what I was going to say. I was afraid I would ruin everything. I was a shame researcher. Back then, I was always self-conscious and was worried about what others would think about me. Sharing your anxieties with others will make you less nervous. If you own your story, you will feel empowered and find your own voice. Thankfully, the TED talk experience went well. Having a conversation about anxieties is the key. Almost all of us know how to eat, exercise and spend well. However, we do not talk about the things that get in our way. When we chase for approval, we often feel that we are not good enough. Shame is universal and we all have it. The less we talk about it, the more it controls us. Even though it is easier to quiet, you mustn’t be. We all have the ability to develop shame resilience. The key to share experiences with others. There is a difference between shame and guilt. Shame is basically communicating to others that ‘I am bad’. Guilt has a more positive effect than shame. Shame can sneak up on you if you are not aware. It takes massive courage to acknowledge that you are hurt. Most deal with shame by withdrawing from it and hiding it from others. It is important to recognize that you need time to build shame resilience. Cry if you must. If you have someone to share your stories with, you are incredibly blessed.

We don’t need love and belonging and story-catching from everyone in our lives, but we need it from at least one person. – Brene Brown

Cultivating Authenticity. Authenticity is a conscious choice after all. It made seem difficult to achieve from afar. It is about letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. It demands wholehearted living. Some perceive authenticity as selfish or narcissistic. There is a fine line between being honest and making others feel uncomfortable. There is a stigma about women to stay small, quiet and to play it safe. Men should work hard and stop feeling. Cruelty is cheap and it is very easy to criticize someone. It is important to dig deep. Always be deliberate in your actions. Get inspired by famous people who share their work and opinions.

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want. – Margaret Young

Sacrificing who we are for the sake of what other people think just isn’t worth it. – Brene Brown

Cultivating Self-Compassion. Perfectionism and shame are closely linked. If you don’t claim shame, it claims you. Perfectionism is about trying to earn approval from others. It is self-destructive in nature. There is no such thing as being perfect. It is important to develop self-compassion. The author often used to engage in perfectionism self-talk. There are three elements to self-compassion. They are self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically not over-identifying with thoughts and feelings. Perfectionism can be infectious in nature and we can pass it on to others. The same applies with compassion.

Cultivating a Resilient Spirit. It is the ability to overcome adversity. How do people cope with stress and overcome them? They are usually resourceful and want to seek help. They have good social support available and they are connected with others. Practicing spirituality has its benefits. Religion can indeed provide strength. One must see the importance of hope and be critically aware. Hope is a cognitive process. It is important to believe in yourself. Often when people come upon something difficult, they give up or want to stop trying. One needs to develop some form of perseverance and determination. Powerlessness means that you do not feel that things will change. Learn to practice critical awareness. We are all influenced and exposed by the media. Is what I’m seeing real? Advertisements often give you an image of what who you should be. People tend to numb both positive and negative feelings. Often, this means engaging in vices to solve our problems. Do not spend your life outrunning vulnerability and uncertainty. Does drinking affect your authenticity? Are you using it to escape from reality? There is no such thing as selective emotional numbing. Spirituality is a component of resilience. Connection is at the heart of spirituality.

Cultivating Gratitude and Joy. Were all joyful people grateful people? Yes. They were described as spiritual practices. Gratitude requires constant practice. I have a yoga attitude. Keep gratitude journals and do meditations. Joy is more long lasting than happiness and has a lot to do with hope and faith. Happiness is often tied to circumstances while joy is tied to gratitude. We need both happiness and joy in our lives. ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin is certainly a good read. Joy can often come during ordinary moments. Learn to acknowledge how grateful you are. Transform vulnerability and transform it into gratitude. Do not always feel that you are lacking something in your life. Learn to choose a mindset of sufficiency. It is declaration to yourself that you know that there is enough. The most precious memories are forged from ordinary moments.

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. – Marianna Williamson

Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith. How can you cultivate intuition and trust faith? It is a natural impulse. Learn to follow your instincts. We often look for assurances from others. We often do not trust our own instinct because it is too uncertain. Faith and reason are not natural enemies. We need both to make meaning in this world. Faith is essential in this world. Learn to let go of certainty. Read the serenity prayer to give yourself strength.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. – Serenity Prayer

Cultivating Creativity. My childhood involved a lot of creativity. I loved to sew and to make handicrafts. After I was 10, I stopped creating. Things changed once we shifted. We often compare with other families and their traditions. We want to be better than everyone else. Comparison is really the thief of happiness. Most people focus on achieving instead of practicing their craft or focusing on creativity. There is no such thing as creative or non-creative people. If you repress your creativity, it might come back to haunt you. If you want to make a unique contribution to the world, you need to be creative about it. Practising your craft means you are cultivating meaning. You are beautiful and you have to believe that. It is natural to compare. Therefore, you have to be constantly aware that you not want to keep doing that. Creativity is not only for the luxury or those with spare time. Spend some time with like-minded individuals. Take a class and get going. Try something different and step outside your comfort zone.

Cultivating Play and Rest. Exhaustion is not a status symbol. Play is a component of wholehearted living. Play shapes our brain in unique ways. It helps us foster empathy and is at the heart of innovation. It is essential for good functioning. It is not always about productivity all the time. Play should not be seen as a waste of time. You can become depressed if you don’t play enough. Our body also needs rest and the importance of this cannot be underestimated. Lack of sleep is associated with many health problems. We need to recognize that we are stressed and need to rest. You have to cultivate sleep and play. More downtime is great once in a while. I choose to play and rest. Write down the ingredients for joy and meaning.

Yet, somehow many of us still believe that exhaustion is a status symbol of hard work and that sleep is a luxury. The result is that we are so very tired. – Brene Brown

Cultivating Calm and Stillness. Let go of your anxieties and lifestyle. There was a point when I felt dizzy and felt like fainting. Anxiety was a constant in my life. I need to be less anxious. Do not let it become your lifestyle. Calm is to manage emotional reactivity. These are the people who can bring perspective to complicated situations. Being calm can be practiced. The trick is to be slow to respond after you think. Think about things once more. Breathing is the best place to start. Stillness is less complicated than calm. My mind is rarely clear. Stillness is about creating a clearing and opening up emotionally. It requires constant practice. You need to get deliberate. Exercise more and drink less caffeine. Walking and swimming will do wonders for you. Learn to get inspired. You need to find something that works for you.

Cultivating Meaningful Work. Let go of self-doubt. Connections can be elusive in nature. Learn to engage in meaningful work. Everything is linked to meaningful work. Everyone has gifts and talents and should share them with the world. This helps to create a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives. If you don’t use your gifts, we struggle. You will tend to feel empty and disappointed. Doing meaningful work requires commitment and sacrifice. What is meaningful is obviously subjective. It is personal and unique to the individual. Do not doubt yourself and your talents. You mustn’t ignore the gremlins. Instead, you must work harder. We struggle to define who we are in an honest way. We often get asked ‘what do you do?’ The trick is not to be defined by a single career. Introduce yourself as your career + your side hobby. Get inspired. There are three criteria to a good job. They are complexity of work, autonomy and a relationship between effort and work. Get going. Ask what brings meaning to you?

Cultivating Laughter, Song and Dance. We can easily overlook the importance of laughter and songs. We all want to share our joy. They help to create an emotional connection. Music has the ability to stir up memories and emotions too. It offers connection as well. Dancing is also an important form of self-expression. Dancing has always been in our DNA. There is always a need to be in control and to be cool. There is no need to be self-conscious. There is no need to be seen as cool by others. Do not constantly betray yourself. Life is too precious to pretend that we are cool. Create themed playlists in your iPod.

Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth. – Mark Twain

Final Thoughts. Self-help books can only do that much. Should you let go of how you feel? Learn to cultivate the courage to live. The author never regretted the time used during the Spiritual Awakening. Every individual matters and so do their stories. Be afraid and learn to be alive.




Year 2015 in Review

Thanks for the support, readers! Hope that you find the blog enriching and useful in your daily life. 🙂 Have a great 2016 ahead!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I Need to Stop Drinking! By Liz Hemingway

The author has seen the problems alcohol can cause. It can take over your everything, including your self-respect. The book was for her husband.

How many times have you been telling yourself you need to quit? But yet it never seems to work. There are benefits to alcohol and you keep telling yourself that it is helpful. The truth is that it is possible to live without alcohol. A happy and joyful life is possible without alcohol. Your life will be much better if you escape its clutches.

First the man takes the drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man. – Old Japanese Saying

My dad used to be drunk after work. He would demand for dinner after he returned home drunk. He was often in debt because of his drinking habits. Despite his bad experiences, I was drawn to it too. I thought it would improve confidence. At 16, my boyfriend bought me cider and vodka and I recalled throwing up very violently. Once, I drank till I was in a comatose and had to be admitted to the hospital. Soon, it became worse and I started drinking every night. It became so bad that I often fell asleep on the floor. Every day, I would wake up with regret. However, this cycle would continue again. The problem with red wine was that it gave bad hangovers. Even after bad experiences, I was undeterred and kept on going. Alcohol has the ability to turn you into a scheming, devious person. There were methods I took to ensure that not many people would suspect me being drunk. I often made up excuses to drink as well. Can you, as the reader, relate to the above? The decision to stop has been a difficult one. Alcohol had controlled me for a long time. If you give it up, it will be the best feeling in the world. Not drinking it will give you PEACE and FREEDOM. It can never be your friend and it is a very strong force. Learn to say no and resist it.

Alcohol is like a ticking time bomb; you never know when you may make a poor decision when you’re under the influence that might affect your future negatively. – Liz Hemingway

Alcohol is part of your culture. They are readily available in supermarkets and are featured in Hollywood films.

The Road to Misery. I made all the bad points of drinking. Some of it are (1) becoming lazier; (2) losing motivation; (3) weight gain; (4) less exercise; (5) feelings of guilt; (6) waste of money; (7) makes me depressed.

My Escape. Why didn’t I quit even if I knew the harm it did? The answer was because I felt I would be giving something up if I quit it. I didn’t want life to be ruled by alcohol. There are plenty of calories packed in a bottle of wine. Not drinking was like release from prison.

Save Money. You can get richer by compounding your money. You can save at least $50 per week. The trick I used was to deposit my money in a savings account. All this money will lead to substantial savings down the road.

Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness. – Seneca

Change Your Thinking, and You’ll Change Your Life! I realized that alcohol only gave me misery and nothing else. You have to see a life where you longer drink. Do whatever it takes to stay sober and use your willpower to make those around you feel proud. Don’t be afraid of losing your drinking buddies. Often, people will be jealous that you managed to break away from it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Channel your money into getting a different kind of high. Does it make you happy? Does it give you confidence?. Tact and compassion are not possible under alcohol. Often, people wouldn’t want to chat with you if they know you’re drunk. Make the most of your life today.

It is like gambling somehow. You go out for a night of drinking and you don’t know where you are going to end up the next day. It could end up good or it could be disastrous. It’s like the throw of the dice. – Jim Morrison, died at age 27

Drinking Has Always Caused Us Problems. After the weighing the pros and cons, I decided to quit. I have more time to think clearly and devote time to my business. Drinking makes you busy, but yet you go nowhere with it.

Reasons for Hanging On to Alcohol. Improve your self-esteem and work on it daily.

Health Problems. Alcohol can affect the way you look and your complexion and radiance. It is a slow killer. Accepting and recognizing the problem is a big step one can take to changing your behaviour.

Things that have helped me to escape. Take responsibility for yourself. Drinking could be a sign of low self-esteem. If you can boost your self-esteem, you can eventually quit drinking. Get into the habit of positive thinking. Read motivational books. Stop comparing yourself to others. Keep a clear line if possible. Do not even take the first glass. There are certain tools that you can use to help you. One of it is the Emotional Freedom Technique. State the problem statement and tap yourself at various parts of your body. Google it. Attend support groups.

Celebrities Who Don’t Drink Alcohol. Once you take the first drink, it is easy to revert into your old habits. There are many famous celebrities who have managed to quit alcohol. In order to be your best, you have to quit alcohol.

My Stop-Drinking Blog. Some of the key actions from the blog are as follows. She started off feeling miserable and wanting to quit alcohol. I have no hangover now. The sun is shining bright every morning and I am looking at life with more optimism. When it comes to Friday, I have to resist the temptation to take alcohol by telling myself that I deserve better. Keep repeating to yourself: ‘Alcohol is the Enemy!’ My friends can stop at two glasses but I kept going on. I am not using drinking to deal with my family problems. Alcohol was a destroyer of self-respect. By not drinking, I have managed to save more money. I have learnt to be more thankful of the things around me. It is my 18th successive day without alcohol. Every time I drink, I calculated that I lost 30 hours, 6 hours drinking and 24 hours recovering. It is very difficult to lose weight when you are addicted to alcohol. Not drinking will give you strength. Do not allow yourself to be controlled by alcohol. Learn to start on affirmations. It is very easy to pick up a drink to relieve boredom. Be careful. Pick up hobbies to fill your time and do good for others! I enjoyed driving home and not waking up to a hangover. I kept telling myself that others will suffer except for myself.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Learning to Live Your Life Without Alcohol. What will I say when I go to a party or other celebration where I will be offered a drink? You could do so many times with the free time you have. It is also possible to save the money to start an online business.

Keeping yourself Strong. Make a list on why you should stop drinking alcohol.

Summary. Be mentally present for your friends and family. Lose weight. Save Money. Be a role model for those around you.


What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Someone asked me that question, ‘What do you know for sure about your life?’ It was now a central question of my life. I examined my previous columns and slowly come to understand the things in life like joy, resilience, awe, connection, gratitude and possibility. You will find yourself if you ask those questions.

Joy. I remembered dancing at Tina Turner’s concert and that was a pure joy. ‘When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.’ You can choose to live your life with joy each day. Enjoy at the present and do not defer it. Be attuned to the present. Pleasure is energy reciprocated. A powerful moment could be even sipping on a cup of masala tea. How would you spend your last day? Have you laughed till your sides hurt? Stare at death in the eye and you will see clarity. I value eating well and satisfying cravings. Eat foods that make you thrive. Fresh food should be treasured. Gayle King has been a very close friend of mine. She is one of the nicest persons I know. This is the joy of having a true friend. I want to experience joy at every level. I started my first job in radio to read on the air. Books were for me to escape from reality. Be connected to your spiritual self through living in the moment.

Being able to do good things for other people: 5+. The enjoyment comes from knowing the receiver understands the spirit of the gift. I make an effort to do something good for somebody every day, whether I know that person or not. – Oprah Winfrey

Give me a great novel or memoir, some tea, and a cozy spot to curl up in, and I’m in heaven. I love to live in another person’s thoughts; I marvel at the bonds I feel with people who come alive on the page, regardless of how different their circumstances might be from mine. I not only feel I know these people, but I also recognize more of myself. Insight, information, knowledge, inspiration, power: All that and more can come from a good book. – Oprah Winfrey

What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing. – Oprah Winfrey

Resilience. We have our own journey. I was an unwanted pregnancy. As a child, I was used to solitude. You are responsible for your own life and re-wiring yourself. Every day brings new opportunities for growth. Keep moving and pave your own road. Let your bad experiences re-balance your footings. Balance is living in the present. I gave birth at 14 but the baby died in hospital not long after. This was judged negatively by many but after I revealed the secret, it benefited me and I stopped blaming myself. Your deepest struggle can produce your greatest strength. Everyone is waiting for love, joy and acknowledgement and I can relate deeply to that. You are in control of your life. When something bad happens, ask yourself ‘What is this here to teach me?’ When stressed, I will go out and breathe alone. Every experience is a valuable teacher. All our hurdles have meaning. Anything can be a miracle if you choose to see it that way. Take setbacks as stepping stones and move in the right direction. Keep standing. Stand.

Connection. We all want to feel valued. That can explain why people seek affairs and they want to be listened to. Love and approval should be found within yourself. You do not need someone to heal and complete you. Most people want to be heard and that is important to know during communication. Be part of your community. Life is better when you share it and expand your circle. Love is all around us. Only settle on good relationships. Relationships should be joyous in nature. If you can’t find true love, start by showing compassion first. Learn to read the signs as to whether your friendship is real.

I’ve found myself looking forward to hanging out, laughing, connecting with and embracing others as a part of the circle. It’s added new meaning to my life, a feeling of community I didn’t even know I was missing. – Oprah Winfrey

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another. And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives – when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty – the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us. – Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes we lose sight of being grateful. Maya Angelou wanted me to say thank you because no problem that I had was as big as God’s. Gratitude brings great perspective. Let your ego take a backseat. Be grateful for your body, no matter the size. Take care of your heart, your lifeforce. Love what you have and be peaceful with it. Focus on the goodness in life. Giving is really joyful in nature. I liked planting as it gave me a sense of achievement. Close your eyes and appreciate your food. Give people the gift of themselves, that is the most powerful gift. Keep the giving going and don’t ever stop. Celebrate the ageing process with vibrancy and grace. Celebrate change and claim your best life now. I kept renewing my Oprah show. However, Mattie persuaded me to continue the show for another 5 years. Life is a gift. Everyday, I like to count my blessings.

Possibility. How can you realize your potential? Fear has power. Fear can rob you of your life, if you’re not careful. Push past your anxiety and keep moving. You don’t want to live with regret or get stuck. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Stand up and pursue your wildest dream. Most girls I know like to downplay their brilliance. Don’t pay attention to the naysayers. Do not play it small. Your intentions have to be in line with your expectations. Before you make a decision, ask what your real intention is. Examine your past motivations. Live the life of your dreams. Working at something that is unfulfilling drains your life spirit. The more stressful things get outside, stay calm. When you get the chance, go for it. You can’t accomplish anything worthwhile if you inhibit yourself. It is your duty to find out the truth of your life. Always choose yourself. Time is fleeting. Always seek to be better. Have the courage to seek your dreams regardless of what others say. Work very hard and don’t give up.

So long as you’re still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself. – Neale Donald Walsch

I recognize then what I know now for sure: If you can get paid for doing what you love, every paycheck is a bonus. Give yourself the bonus of a lifetime: Pursue your passion. Discover what you love. Then do it! – Oprah Winfrey

Awe. I appreciated the sound of silence. It was pure and extremely peaceful. Ask and it shall be given. Miracles are always around us and we must be open to seeing them. Open your heart and you will spot them. Joy of learning is one of the biggest rewards in life. There is no real meaning to life without a spiritual component. Always ask what you can learn from your experiences. Connect with the grand energy of creation. It is who you are. Be committed to experience life’s essence. Be mindful of everyday experiences. We all have power and need to make the most of it. Open your heart. There is extraordinary in the ordinary.

Clarity. Learn to say no. I always wanted to please and say yes. Now, I only promised to do things from the heart. Give yourself time to recharge and rest. Nurture yourself before you try and nurture others. Turn away distractions and tune in to yourself. Education is the key to freedom and is very important. When in doubt, don’t move forward but stay very still. I usually dedicate Sundays for some alone time. Learn to protect your time by saying no to others. Give yourself little breaks in between work. Refuel your willpower tank so that you are ready again for the future. The resolve to work out is closely linked to the resolve to eat healthfully. Taking care of your body is a form of investment and will pay off. You are your consciousness. How you spend your time defines who you are. Most people’s homes are cluttered with unnecessary stuff. Leave to let go and de-clutter.

Power. I believe that free will is a birth right. Every soul yearns to be free. Freedom is about having a choice. It is a big blessing to be born the United States. I loved to hang out at home. Gossip reflects insecurity of those who initiate it. Words have the power to destroy or heal. Do not watch shows that drain your energy. Reverend Jesse Jackson thought me that being excellent is a way to battle racism. Always do your best as that is the best way to attain personal freedom. Do not be burdened by bills as it can be truly awful for your well-being. Think twice before buying something. Remain grounded and spend money on those you love. Remember to cast your vote during an election. For health, spend on prevention rather than cure. Do not overwork yourself. Stay still and decide. Once you do, stick to it and do not waver. Hurricane Katrina has taught me to be hopeful and kind and compassionate. Your weight is your smoke detector in life. Whose life did you touch? Do not ignore problems in life. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The happiness you feel is in direction proportion to the love you are able to give.

Often we make negative statements about others behind their backs, it’s because we want to feel powerful – and that’s usually because in some way we feel powerless, unworthy, not courageous enough to be forthright. – Oprah Winfrey

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