Profit and Loss

Recall the kind of feeling you have when someone praises you, when you are approved, accepted, applauded. And contrast that with the kind of feeling that arises within you when you look at the sunset or the sunrise or Nature in general, or when you read a book or watch a movie that you thoroughly enjoy. Get the taste of this feeling and contrast it with the first, namely, the one that was generated within you when you were praised. Understand that the first type of feeling comes from self-glorification, self-promotion. It is a worldly feeling. The second comes from self-fulfillment, a soul feeling.

Here is another contrast: Recall the kind of feeling you have when you succeed, when you have made it, when you get to the top, when you win a game or a bet or an argument. And contrast it with the kind of feeling you get when you really enjoy the job you are doing, you are absorbed in, the action that you are currently engaged in. And once again notice the qualitative difference between the worldly feeling and the soul feeling.

Yet another contrast: Remember what you felt like when you had power, you were the boss, people looked up to you, took orders from you; or when you were popular. And contrast that worldly feeling with the feeling of intimacy, companionship—the times you thoroughly enjoyed yourself in the company of a friend or with a group in which there was fun and laughter.

Having done this, attempt to understand the true nature of worldly feelings, namely, the feelings of self-promotion, self-glorification. They are not natural, they were invented by your society and your culture to make you productive and to make you controllable. These feelings do not produce the nourishment and happiness that is produced when one contemplates Nature or enjoys the company of one’s friends or one’s work. They were meant to produce thrills, excitement—and emptiness.

Then observe yourself in the course of a day or a week and think how many actions of yours are performed, how many activities engaged in that are uncontaminated by the desire for these thrills, these excitements that only produce emptiness, the desire for attention, approval, fame, popularity, success or power.

And take a look at the people around you. Is there a single one of them who has not become addicted to these worldly feelings? A single one who is not controlled by them, hungers for them, spends every minute of his/her waking life consciously or unconsciously seeking them? When you see this you will understand how people attempt to gain the world and, in the process, lose their soul. For they live empty, soulless lives.

And here is a parable of life for you to ponder on: A group of tourists sits in a bus that is passing through gorgeously beautiful country; lakes and mountains and green fields and rivers. But the shades of the bus are pulled down. They do not have the slightest idea of what lies beyond the windows of the bus. And all the time of their journey is spent in squabbling over who will have the seat of honor in the bus, who will be applauded, who will be well considered. And so they remain till the journey’s end.

Read the full book: The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello (Image Pocket Classics) https://www.amazon.com/dp/038524939X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_BpJnBbY850WJD

Keeping The Government Clean

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A precondition for an honest government according to LKY:

A precondition for an honest government is that candidates must not need large sums of money to get elected, or it must trigger off the cycle of corruption. The bane of most countries in Asia has been the high cost of elections. Having spent a lot to get elected, winners must recover their cost and accumulate funds for the next election. The system is self-perpetuating.

My beloved Indonesia:

Indonesia was a celebrated example of corruption on such a grand scale that Indonesian media coined the acronym “KKN”. President Suharto’s children, friends, and cronies set examples that made KKN an irreducible part of Indonesian culture.

Amazing book – https://www.amazon.com/Third-World-First-Singapore-1965-2000/dp/0060197765

The Perfect Type

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There are two types of people in this world.

Type one is people who wake up, know what to do next, loving their job, never act aimlessly, be in the “flow” state more often, and when they hit the pillow at night. Poof! They are gone to the dream world in seconds. The cycle repeats.

A different type is the ones who wake up, not really clear about their days ahead, loving some part of their job, browse around at work, occasionally in a “flow” state but most of the time not. And when they turn off the lights at night, hit the pillow, and un-poof! They did not sleep and start thinking. Thinking about something, something they want, lack, crave. Some dreams they’d like to achieve, some ideal they’d like to become.

This writing exists because I was the latter type. So, I raise my body from the bed and write down what’s on my head. Why couldn’t I go to sleep? Am I not happy with my life? Am I not grateful for what I have? How can’t I just accept everything and be at peace? Why I anxiously lying on my bed thinking that I have to change, I have to be successful, I have to finish my book, I have to switch career, and so on.

Wait, there is another type of people. The one that is more like no. 1 whose life seems aligned with their expectation but turns out they were unable to sleep well at night. So, they continue working until they feel exhausted, had few hours of sleep and back to their work again. The cycle repeats.

Is there a right or wrong about this?

Wait! There is another type. The one who is at peace with whatever state they are in, may or may not work, and able to sleep quickly.

Hold on, I raise from my bed to write. But some people kept trying by closing their eyes lying for god knows how long and hoping to fall asleep soon. Sometimes they are afraid to look at the clock and keep their eyes shut hoping for a miracle to happen.

I almost fall to that one. But I choose to raise and write instead. I know if I force myself to sleep, I will be more anxious and I’d forget about what I was thinking. I better preserve what’s on my head as soon as possible.

Which one is the right type? Which one is the best and which one is the worst?

Well, I don’t know.

 

What you do defines you

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You appreciate your health when you work out. You appreciate your money when you invest. You value your relationship when you discuss and agree on the hard issues. You value kindness when you help others. You value your time and family when you work hard. You appreciate God when you are grateful.

Do only what you value. Don’t lie to yourself. If you know something is bad for you, don’t do it. It sounds simple. But, like me, people are just crazy.

Benjamin P Hardy in his Medium article:

In the recent book, Skin in the Game, Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains that WHAT YOU DO is the purest definition of your value system. In Start with Why, Simon Sinek said the same thing. Your actions demonstrate what you really believe.

Gandhi said, “Action expresses priorities.” He also said, “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest,” which is what psychologists call “Cognitive dissonance” — the state of internal conflict. You can’t be confident if you don’t trust yourself. Confidence is a byproduct of congruent and successful behavior.

What you do defines you.

Why I do this?

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Remember: it’s not because I want to be famous or wealthy or something like that although I want to.

It’s obviously not to look smart, different, or something like that although I want to.

I’m not a good writer or whatever. I don’t even speak the language well.

It’s because I don’t want later in life to look back and regret I never started writing and showing my vulnerabilities to the world.

We can’t get back the time we spent. So why not try?

Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

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I like this one. It’s why you make sure your baby to live correctly. You will make her follow the right routines. You will think and act for your baby’s best interest. And it’s usually right.

Why you seem to know what’s right for someone else you care but not to yourself?. Why don’t you make a strict schedule for your sleep? Study? Diet?

Every day remembers: when you decide what’s best for your baby or someone you care about, determine for yourself too. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

When you do that, you choose what would be good for you. This is not “what you want.” It is also not “what would make you happy.” Every time you give a child something sweet, you make that child happy. That does not mean you should do nothing for children except feed them candy. “Happy” is by no means synonymous with “good.”

We don’t know what is good for ourselves, although we know. But, we certainly know what’s good for others. By thinking ourselves as someone we responsible for helping, we will make ourselves the object of our care.

Your path?

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Thomas Aquinas argued that to lead a good life, it is necessary to focus more on our exemplars than on ourselves. We do by imitating those people as much as we can.

But, other wise men said that we should create our own path because we are a unique creature. There is no way imitating others’ path would perfectly fit ours. Logically, we live in different places with different people and different problems. Why should we imitate others?

We must believe that our path is unique, and our story is also unique. This is merely a fact because each of our gene and life situation is indeed unique.

But to act and to live well in the now, we should follow and learn from what has been successfully done in the past. This can be done by imitating exemplars. The phrase “what would Jesus do” will pause you before taking action, and offers you with options, then? You would mimic what you think your hero would do. Because that’s what you believe to be good. And doing what’s good for yourself is the foundation for a good life.

And those good acts you do by imitating your hero will become part of your unique life, and you will grow apart from you hero and found your path.

So, decide for yourself what you want, try to achieve it by imitating your hero. Fail, try again, fail again, try something else, fail again, try again. And you just created your own path.