November 17, 2009


“If you wanna make the world a better place,
take a look at yourself and make a change”

The above are two lines from one of Michael Jackson’s many great songs called “Man in the mirror” and how true these words are. Many people want changes, for the better of course. But the problem is, selfishly they are always hoping that other people would change to suit or adapt them. I have seen too many people who talked about changing for the better but all they actually wanted is other people changing to make things easier for them. These people don’t want to commit themselves to making a little personal sacrifice or taking themselves out of their comfort zone.

Some blame it on circumstances or situation that does not allow them to make the change. A classic example of this are those who can’t quit smoking will say “You see, I am always around people who smoke, so it is very difficult for me to quit smoking unless all those around me don’t smoke”. I know this very well because I used to be a heavy smoker and have used these exact words before. Well it is not true.

Then there are those who instead of changing their bad habits, they try to “justify” it. They always find ways to “balance it” and make it seems OK. For example, people who consume a lot of alcohol will always say that they are taking supplements for their liver. You will hear them say “You know, every day I take supplement pills for my liver. So it’s OK for me”.

And those who don’t really exercise and feel guilty about it, they will go join a gym or purchase a set of exercise equipment for home use. It probably makes them feel less guilty and provide some consolation in the beginning. But then how many have the discipline to follow a regular exercise routine? After a while the only exercise they will get is flashing the gym membership card to show off and cleaning the dust collected by the fancy equipment at home. Come on … if you really want to exercise, you don’t need an expensive gym membership or some state-of-the-art equipment. Just get out of the house and take a walk for an hour or so a day, that is good enough. But strangely no one seems to be able to find time for that.

My 2009 new year’s resolution (RESOLUTIONS) was about making changes. The year is coming to an end soon and there will be new resolutions. But I am proud to say this year I have made some significant changes to my lifestyle, my behaviour as well as my views on a variety of things happening around me. I am not going to bore you with the specifics but the one thing I noticed is that once I started making the changes, I can see the people around me changing as well and slowly things automatically became easier, smoother and better in a greater aspect for all involved.

If you want to change and make things better, really, like the words of the song above, “take a look at yourself and make a change”. Change is all about making self sacrifice, starting with ourselves with strict discipline and full commitment to what we really want to change. Once you start to change yourself, I guarantee you that the people around you will be influenced to change as well whether consciously and subconsciously. And all will be better for everyone involved.

November 04, 2009

Happiness in advance

Every time when someone ask me what I do for a living now, I simply say “I am just taking things at my own pace”. Nine out of ten replies I got were “Wah ! Ng sai low ar? “ (which means “Wow ! No need to work huh?” in Cantonese). Some sounded serious, some were sarcastic and others jokingly said. Anyway, most of them mistaken that I have retired for good.

Look, I am still working and I don’t intend to retire for now. It is just that I am working at my own pace. Simply put, I am doing things which give me more time to spend with my family, my friends and time to take care of my own well being and interest. Of course I earn a lot less now than I used to but I am happy to live within whatever I make. With some passive income from some small investments here and there, I have no complains about my present lifestyle. Like all, I have worked for some years, slogged to settle the house mortgage and other financial commitments. And with that done, I stopped chasing for more. Now, with whatever I can accumulate, I try to make it a point that I am going to like whatever that is coming with what I can afford. That way, I have found my happiness in advance.

I am sure not all will agree with me. We all have our own things to put in our basket of happiness. Status, wealth, power, materials … many convinced themselves that these are important things in the basket of happiness. They chased after them and keep chasing until they become very addictive to the fame, fortunes, influences and possessions that were dangled in front them together with the very tempting vices that are hard to resist. Very sad to see that in the mad chase, there are people who don’t want to stop and are prepared to go for it at all cost. Then there are many who don’t know when to stop. So when to stop? If people were to ask me when to stop, my answer will be, when it starts to affect your health, your family or your loved ones, it is already too late.

It is important to know when to stop and that is all up to you. How much is enough for you, what you like and what makes you happy is your decision. But if you have already decided that you are going to like and be happy with whatever that is coming with what you can afford, then like me, you have found your happiness in advance.