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

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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

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Review of the Seiko Turtle SRP777K1

I purchased this watch in Feb 2017 from a seller on Carousell after the purchase of my Seiko Sarb033 dress watch. Although I now own the Seiko Padi SRPA21K1, I feel that this all-black Turtle is unique enough to hold a place in my collection.

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The Seiko Turtle SRP777K1 which I purchased was a non-Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The black bezel really makes the watch look muted, just like the Rolex Submariners and gives it a tool-like feel. The SRP777K1 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles, Blue Lagoon Turtles etc. Seiko has also released a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but the one I own is of great quality, similar to the J models.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRP777K1, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The SRP777K1 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape. (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm). The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

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The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The all0black bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The black bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex dive watches.

The SRP777K1 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me. Before this piece, I purchased the Seiko Turtle PADI, which is a special edition.

SRP777K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko SRP777K1 is a unique entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 550. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give in by Louis Zamperini & David Rensin

Lessons from an Extraordinary Life. Louis Zamperini died on July 2, 2014. He had an indomitable courage and fighting spirit for life. He always kept himself occupied by talking and traveling. His biography, Devil at the Heels, was published in 2003. Unbroken was also a film by Angelina Jolie about him. Louis had an exemplary character.

Introduction. I felt sharp even at 97. I was a runner for my high school. I used to run the mile. In the 1936 Olympics, I ran a 56 second final lap and got praised by Hilter. Eventually, I became a bombardier during the WWII. When my plane crashed in the Pacific, I miraculously survived. We grabbed rafts and we ate chocolates and ate fish and sharks that came by. I had a sharp mind and that kept me going. After 33 days, Mac died. Phil and I were left. By day 46, we found Marshall Islands and landed there. However, the Japanese had established a presence there. We were tortured by the Japanese. When I returned home after the war, I received a hero’s reception. However, I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Later, I devoted my life to God. Enduring challenges have gave me many rewards and I do not regret anything I have done. I started an outreach camp program after the War. Reporters were interested to cover my story after the war. Unbroken was one of the NYT bestsellers. I am just an ordinary man who resolved never to give up even in the face of trying circumstances. If you give life a try, you never know that might take you.

Run for Your Life

The Family Rules. We all need a code of ethics to guide us in life. Everyone pitched in to help when we were tight on cash. I worked odd jobs when young. My mum was strict but taught us well. My parents also knew how to play instruments.

Anyone Can Turn Their Life Around. I was often in trouble when young. I also had a self-esteem problem as I couldn’t speak English when young. Also, I hated the way I looked. School fights were common. One day, my dad gave me a punching bag and I trained. I was caught for smoking when I was 9. When I was older, I also like drinking and stole booze whenever I could. We robbed shops of pies and booze. Once in a while, I went to church. Once I beat up a driver because he reported me to the police after I stole his pies. Could I turn my life around? My parent were sick of me getting into trouble time after time. My brother was a better influence than me and wasn’t mischievous. My parents gave me a chance to shine through school sports. The principal encouraged me to sign up. I visited the steel mill and knew that I didn’t want to work there and suffer. I trained hard and sports changed my life and finally I started winning. Pete had much to do with my turn-around. I simply just kept running and never missed a training session.

The Difference Between Attention and Recognition is Self-Esteem. I was mischievous because I wanted recognition. I wanted to be accepted by others. I was also voted into the student-body as president. I had high self-esteem when it came to stealing from shops. However, in school, I suffered from low self-esteem. I was constantly anxious over how I was perceived by others. Self-respect can only be earned by doing something great. My fans and family were a tremendous part for my success. You don’t have to fight this journey alone.

It’s Not How You Win, It’s How You Lose. I raced the 5,000 metres in 1936. However, the officials made a mistake and I collided into another runner, causing me to lose. I was upset as I was winning continuously for 3.5 years. I congratulated Bright, the winner. Back in the day, we competed for the love of the sport. I represented the US at the 5,000m race at the Olympics, but I didn’t win.

That’s the way it should be. If you give everything and you lose, so what? It’s not going to put you in your grave. I walked away knowing I could handle defeat gracefully, and I had more self-esteem from that than from winning the race. – Louis Zamperini

I didn’t win the 5000m race at the Olympics, but making the team and not winning is like going to the moon and stumbling over a rock and falling. So what? You’re still on the moon. – Louis Zamperini

A Race Isn’t Over Until It’s Over. Glenn Cunningham was my hero. He was badly burnt but refused to give up on life. He epitomized resilience and resolve. The runners were not friendly towards me after I bragged that I would do a 4 minute mile. However, I still won in a time of 4:08.03. I won for myself and also for Glenn Cunningham. I didn’t know to accept defeat and kept pushing myself to greater heights. Thankfully, the persistence and perseverance would come in handy during WWII.

Be Prepared

Preparation Determines Your Survival. You should be prepared for anything. Every circumstance can be broken down into manageable challenges. When I was stranded at sea, I did not panic and used my first aid skills and learned how to catch fish. Everyone should learn some survival skills. Schools should teach survival skills to kids. I was a Scout and got inspired by Robinsoe Crusoe. As a rock climber, I knew that the ability to tie knots could determine my fate. Survival depends on education, preparation and anticipation.

Anything can happen to anyone, but there are simple rules designed to keep you out of trouble. When you’re hiking off-trail through the wilderness and you make a turn, break a tree branch so you know that’s where you were. – Louis Zamperini

My Survival Kit. You should keep your survival gear near to you. Even a water cape and shower cap can save you from the blistering cold. Use whatever that can help you survive. You always have to be one step ahead in your thinking.

Trust What You Know. The sharks often ate the bait that I laid while trying to catch first. Once, two sharks tried to jump on our raft. Then, we devised a plan to kill it and clutched the tail, however, I couldn’t hold on to it because of its strength. Later, we managed to kill one and we cut its belly. Raw shark meat would make us sick. The shark liver was delicious as it contained a lot of vitamins and protein. Without it, we might have died.

Keep Your Mind Sharp. Do not allow your body and head to rot. The brain must be exercised. Even on the raft, I tried to imagine mental sums and trying to solve them. We described the meals we cooked while on the raft. Phil and I also talked about our futures and that seemed to work. The Japanese interviewers were astounded by our sharpness on Kwajalein – Execution Island. It is imperative to use your brain well. I stayed sharp throughout the interrogation process. Other than Phil and I, no other prisoners made it off Kwajalein alive. I knew there were fake airfields in Hawaii and told the Japanese to bomb them. It was probably because the Jap thought that we would be better used for propaganda purposes.

Don’t Forget to Laugh. Remember to laugh. We had jokes even in Hawaii. We even laughed in POW camp. I felt rats running over my body in the bunk. If you pushed them away, they would bite you. I once made a paddle and smacked it. The rat squeaked in pain, and that got the rest laughing.

You are the Content of Your Character. I spent a year at Ofuna, a secret interrogation facility. Later, I was sent to Omori prison camp and I was also punished. Once, Mutsuhiro Watanabe ‘The Bird’ punished me. He knocked me down after I didn’t want to look at him. He offered me a tissue to wipe away the blood. After, he hit me again. He was a psychopath. The Bird couldn’t handle power as there were many higher ranked officers in the camp. I was extremely pissed and wanted my revenge. Once, I was brought to Radio Tokyo as they wanted me to send a message. In fact, the Japanese were using me to show the Americans that the POWs were being well taken off. They wanted me to claim that I was one of the lucky guys. However, I refused to read it and I’d rather be punished. Even though I transferred a camp, I still realized that ‘Bird’ was in charge again.

Never Let Anyone Destroy Your Dignity. Those soldiers who couldn’t accept their situation suffered the most. I got beaten up by ‘Bird’ but I kept going on and preserving. Bird punched in the stomach, causing me to drop the plank I was holding above my head for 37 minutes. Don’t let anyone destroy your dignity.

The great lesson of my life is perseverance. Never give up. – Louis Zamperini

Hate is a Personal Decision. Hate is just a cover-up and it will destroy you. Hate is a personal decision. Some of the prisoners hated the Japanese so much that they refused to eat. If you hate someone, it destroys your spirit.

The True Definition of a Hero. Being a hero is over-rated and over-used. I have deep respect for public servants like lawyers, doctors, teachers, firefighters etc.Whatever I did in the war, I did it for myself and fellow soldiers. It is important to work for the betterment of everyone.

Let others boast of you, but no with thine own mouth – Louis Zamperini

Attitude is Everything

You Must have Hope. If you tell yourself the war is going to end soon, you have a chance to stay mentally intact.

You must have hope. It rejuvenates your whole being. You can’t allow negative thinking – even if you know your chances are slim. I’m not saying that it’s easy to do, but the ability to envision the road to successful completion is what keeps you alive. – Louis Zamperini

Don’t Ask Why, Ask What’s Next? When you are old, the best form of exercise is walking. Walking keeps my legs strong. Old people shouldn’t give up walking. My attitude towards life remains upbeat even though I am old. The nurses also support me all the way. Having a positive attitude pays off in tremendous ways that you cannot imagine.

If you can’t control your attitude, forget it. You’re going to heal slowly or die young. – Louis Zamperini

You Choose How to View Your Fate. I rather be marooned alone on an island as compared to being caged up in prison. Even if you are stranded on an island, you should view your fate in a more positive fashion.

The Secret of Contentment. I have learnt to be content and react positively to life. I have learnt to accept everything that happens in life. Learn to work with what you have. Acceptance creates cheerfulness, which in turn creates contentment. Attitude is everything.

After the War: Still Lost

You Can’t Run (Or Sail) Away from Yourself. I felt like a celebrity after the war. My wife and I were invited to many functions. I wanted to run for the California state legislature. Your reputation and character are all you have. I wanted to get rich fast and I started trying to sell construction equipment. Sometimes, I still kept thinking about my time in POW. My running was too slow and I knew I couldn’t compete again. I wanted to party and have fun. I decided to take a trip on a boat on an expedition. It was an adventurous trip. It was definitely a joyous trip which I enjoyed thoroughly. The moral of the story is that you can’t run away from your problems and responsibilities.

Don’t Leave the Crucial Details to Others. We went to the Earl Carroll Theatre mostly. Once, we were stranded out at sea because our crew member forgot to top up fuel. We sent out an SOS signal and the plane dropped food to us. I used the mirror to send a morse code. The girls on my boat kept waving at the pilot and the pilot seemed interested in rescuing them. Finally, the Coast Guard saw us and pulled us aboard. The moral of the story: don’t leave the crucial details to someone you don’t know.

don't give up phrase on blackboard

motivational phrase, don’t give up, handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard

 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

A tree loved a little boy. The boy would come every day and gather the leaves from the tree. He would use them to form crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb her and swing her from side to side. Sometimes, he would eat the apples on the tree. When he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. He really loved the tree and the tree was happy. The boy grew up as time went on and the tree was alone most of the time. The tree encouraged the grown-up boy to play with her but the boy mentioned that he wanted to buy things and earn money. The tree suggested that the boy sell her apples in the market for money. The boy climbed the tree and plucked all the apples. The tree was happy. It was a long time before the boy (now an adult) came back and the tree was alone. Now, the boy didn’t want to play but wanted to build a house. The tree offered her branches to help build his house. The tree was happy when the boy cut away its branches. The tree was alone for long periods of time. Now, the boy (now an elderly man) wanted to build a boat so that he could sail away. The tree offered her trunk so that he could build his boat. The boy cut down her trunk and the tree was happy. Now that the tree was just a stump, she apologized for not being of any use to the boy anymore. She allowed the boy (now a sickly old man) to rest by sitting on her stump, and the tree was happy.

‘I am sorry. I wish that I could give you something…but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…Well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.’ The Giving Tree

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Dating Tips 201

LunchClick Starter Kit

Why are you still single? Learn to reflect on yourself. What is the issue you are facing? The top 3 reasons are 1) I haven’t met anyone I want to be involved with; 2) The people I’m interested in are attached, or are not interested in me; 3) I find it hard to meet someone who shares my values or interests. The Angsty Guy is a complain king who likes to whine that no girls are interested in him. The Picky Guy laments that it is difficult to find the girl of his dreams. The Bore does not know how to talk to women. The Guy Who Can’t be Bothered doesn’t put in effort in trying to meet new people. The Timid Guy doesn’t exhibit enough confidence during dates. The Workaholic works all day and doesn’t have time to date. The Mummy’s Boy clings to his parents and relies on them for decision-making. The Cheapskate refuses to pay for the first date. The Bad Boy usually attracts the type of girls who want to hang out with someone ‘cool’ and the relationship will usually not last.

Optimizing Your Online Dating Performance. Ensure that your dating profile is in tip top condition. For profile photos, go for quality over quantity. The photo resolution should be decent. Avoid using selfies as the resolution is lower and the photo might turn out grainy. If you wear little clothing in your display picture, you might attract the wrong sort of girl. It is best to use individual shots as compared to group photos, where the other party needs to guess which is you. Avoid using Photoshop, but using filters to adjust contrast or brightness is alright. Smile in your pictures. Make your occupation sound exciting and interesting. For date ideas, go for something unique. You can state things like ‘Let’s go to a quaint café with awesome atmosphere, and engage in witty banter over a cup of coffee.’ Go ahead and ask her questions. Send a maximum of 3 questions at a go and wait for her reply before sending more. Avoid too serious or personal questions at the start. Be honest when answering questions and don’t be afraid of being judged. Even if her answers are not all good, you might still want to give her a chance and go out with her on a date.

The First Date: Meeting Your Match. It can a bit awkward on the first date but you need to take things easy. When you first see her, compliment her on her attire and clothes etc. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed and it is important to look good on the date. Maintaining a good conversation is very important and there should not be awkward pauses. You can ask her about her 1) travels; 2) her friends; 3) personality; 4) her favorite place in Singapore (you could suggest that the second date be held there); 5) Share some of secrets or something embarrassing that happened to you. Avoid sharing about your exes, your problems or asking overly prying questions.

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How to Choose a Partner by Susan Quilliam (Part 2)

For Part 1, click here

Connecting. You should aim to understand your partner. One needs to start trawling the deeper waters. We need to literally feel our partner. Face-to-face contact gives us essential knowledge in which to base judgement. The problem with online dating is that the real person might be different in real life. People tend to be more open in distance dating, which can be a good thing. You can ask serious questions on the app too. Physical contact makes everything more emotional. Proximity matters. Getting together with someone near you is very common. What is chemistry exactly? Is it over-rated? How do you form conclusions about the person? Is your decision making sound? You have to use a wider range of checks and balances. What you talk on your first date matters a lot. We need more than simply passion and opportunity. Learn to examine her values, life goals, and personality traits. Ask yourself these 3 big questions. What three values made your life most worthwhile (example: safety, happiness?). Which three goals have you achieved in your life you are most satisfied with and proud of? (career, success, adventure). What 3 personality traits do you most want other people to praise you for when you have gone? (honesty, generosity etc). Answer the 9 above and you will get a sense of what you value the most. Learn what her love languages are. They are 1) words of affirmation; 2) quality time; 3) receiving gifts; 4) acts of service; 5) physical touch. You must also know what you like so that you can explain it to your partner. Humans like sameness and the feeling is reciprocal. Many dating apps pair people based on sameness. For personality, it is possible for opposites to attract. The trick is to choose a mate with similar values and goals, but with a different personality. We shouldn’t blame women and gender difference if we break up. You need to remove the ‘veils’ during dating. You could bring up serious topics of discussion. However, do not use them too early. You have to be yourself on the date. You have to be factual and truthful. Usually, big events will reveal the other party’s personality. Emotional responsiveness is one of the most important in a relationship. This is your partner’s ability to pay loving attention to your emotional needs. Always aim to soothe and then solve. You need to be able to notice, pay attention, reflect on your partner’s emotions. Being emotionally stable is very important. Emotional responsiveness is a relationship deal-breaker. Men are not taught how to manage their emotions. Men are capable of stepping up to the relationship challenge. One’s ability for empathy is important. How you treat others is really important when you are on a date. Can I be there for you? Can you be there for me? If you are not willing to be there for her, the signs is that the relationship might be ending. You should never stop being aware of each other’s feelings, giving attention to each other’s needs and opening up to one another. We will at some point in our relationship feel insecure and unloved. How do you deal with that? People think that being secure is good all the time. But there are pros to being ‘anxious’, ‘avoidant’, ‘attacking’ too. To what extent do you want to stay calm and serene? Sex allows the relationship to be more open. It helps to secure the relationship. Synchrony sex is the best because it is a balance between physical pleasure and emotional bonding. Understand your partner’s attachment tendencies. Be wary of those off-the-scale anxious, avoidant and attacking personality. Secure is good. However, once in a while, conflicts are normal.

We may find that, after crashing the internet with reciprocally enthusiastic emails for several weeks when we finally get close to our online crush it’s loathing at first sight. – Susan Quiliam

Once there’s a basic attraction, the more time we spend close to someone, the more they will seem appealing, lovable, simply better. And the longer, more frequently, more regularly we spend time with them, the deeper the impact. – Susan Quiliam

Studies suggest that goals will become obvious first, values next, with personality revealed last of all. – Susan Quiliam

Although being authentic may feel scary, the more authentic we can be – about what we believe, what we want, who we are – the more chance we’ll have of eventually meeting a suitable prince or princess, even if that also means that en route we drive off a lot of incompatible frogs. – Susan Quiliam

Being emotionally engaged means staying rock-solid even when our partner is firing negative emotions, with us as the target – as they will do from time to time in even the most loving relationship. Easy? Not at all. – Susan Quiliam

When partners aren’t emotionally concerned about each other during courtship, then even if they decide to wed they’ll probably part in the end. – Susan Quiliam

A huge element of successful decision-making is finding out whether each partner is both able and motivated to actually learn what the other person needs and what the relationship may demand. – Susan Quiliam

Being in Love. I am a huge believer in the possibility of love. Everyone should be love-struck at least once in their life. Isn’t love just a rush of emotions? Can it be confused for lust? Love can seem like an obsessive compulsion. However, it cannot guarantee long term compatibility. There is no strong link between short-term attraction and long-term compatibility. There is a correlation between love and anxiety. When scared, our body is a nervous wreck and we tend to seek love more. Hence, anxiety leads to bonding. Love is date-stamped. We also need to know ‘what is left over’, meaning when there is no love. If you still can accept the person, most likely the relationship can last. Choose a partner which can complement you, so that you can lead a complete life. Love doesn’t make people happy all the time. When you are unhappy, you start to question whether the person is the right one. In a relationship, you have to overcome problems that our partner and partnership have. You also have to be more loving towards yourself. Even if we pick the right person, there will be challenges. Humans like those who help them to grow. If someone needs something from you and you are able to deliver, you will be drawn to that person. Accept that partner and their vulnerabilities. What would you know if you have chosen well? Be more emotionally truthful and authentic. You should be really drawn into someone at the start. You want things from your partner and they also demand things of you. Therefore, it is good to have passion and romance at the start.

Happiness will not necessarily be what marks progress; sometimes there will be pain. – Susan Quiliam

We will always be required to master the essential human balancing act of trying to answer our own needs while meeting those of our beloved, of loving ourselves while loving another, and of growing through that process. – Susan Quiliam

The lesson is that the best love is a three-art process, with the initial delights driving us on to ride out the medium-term challenges for the sake of long-term rewards. – Susan Quiliam

Knowing. The main question to ask is ‘How and when will I know enough to choose this person, or to not choose them, or to decide that the moment of choice is past?’ There are no clear answers to the above. Gut feeling is one way of telling. However, this is contrary to the elimination principle. Therefore, if the girl checks all boxes, but your gut feeling isn’t right, you can ask for another date. The problem with passion is that you are wearing rose-coloured glasses. Take your time. Sometimes, delay is good. Are you the type who goes too fast? Or do you wait too long? If you are too fast, you might make the wrong judgement. This is tricky, but it is worth altering your approach if things are not working. One approach is to be fully committed for 90 days. You shouldn’t fear rejection and other full emotional responsiveness and trust that everything will go well. If after 90 days, and you do not hesitate, that is the correct girl. If after 90 days and you hesitate, then it is a no. There are other reasons to say no, for instance, differing goals, personalities etc. Sometimes, it might not be yes or no, but change. You can tell the partner to change and if they agree, there is still chance for the relationship. Hence, if you hope that your partner will improve in time, you must have the conversation with her. If you don’t talk about such issues, the relationship is doomed. If your heart is not into someone, just leave. You are doing the person a favour by leaving. Sometimes, what if the other person doesn’t choose you? You will not get everything you want in life. You must move through the rejection and sometimes, it is not wise to try harder. Do not sacrifice everything you have for the girl. It is pointless to cling on to hope sometimes. If you are being pursued, please be aware of the danger signals. Most people will succeed in their journey to find someone. Once you know both parties are fully committed, things will work. Through the Wall of Life and tribulations, we will get through the course of our relationship. Nevertheless it is still good to specify what you want from your partner. Are you growing? Is your partner growing? Will you all continue to grow in the future?

Where possible, dig deeper, search wider, allow both logic and emotion, head and hear to synchronize. – Susan Quiliam

But it’s also best not to be too slow and too considered, for there are dangers in hesitation; we may lose not only momentum but also faith. – Susan Quiliam

As rough guidelines, 2 months of regular dating is long enough to know whether both sides want to declare themselves partners, 2 years long enough to know whether lifetime commitment is possible. – Susan Quiliam

It is fine to turn someone down. In fact, it’s actually best to turn them down if you come to the conclusion that they aren’t for you. Because by walking away you’re not just freeing yourself to find someone you can love. You are also freeing your no-longer-potential partner to find someone who can love them. Don’t feel guilty. If we know our heart is not in a relationship we do right by everyone if we leave. – Susan Quiliam

If after a while we are still not loved, then however much we mourn, it’s been a lucky escape. In the same way as it’s best to free up a partner we don’t want, it is also best to be freed from a partner who doesn’t want us. We deserve more than that. – Susan Quiliam

Every relationship suffers disequilibrium. Even for just a few moments, one person wonders while the other is certain; one person doubts while the other has faith. – Susan Quiliam

Through the Wall of Life – trials of illness, accident, job change, ageing, bereavement, and with the passing of time, we will learn more about our partner and they will learn more about us. – Susan Quiliam

That’s the hope. That if both of us keep evolving, keep learning, keep growing, then at some point in the future, we will be able to create a wonderful partnership, to relate to each other as never before, to love each other “best”. – Susan Quiliam

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