Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why Facebook Is Your Source of Unhappiness

t h e
REEL
“Comparison is the death of joy.” 
― Mark Twain

This is not the first time I've written something about Facebook before. I feel this is really a subject I am really interested with simply because a lot of us are trying too hard to project our exciting lives to our friends and family. But each time we strive to post our pictures when we were on vacations, shopping or maybe, dining at a fancy restaurant, somehow we always feel we come up short each time we look at other people's lives instead. 

We are consumed by jealousy as the ugly creature rears its head, wondering how would it feel if we could just have their lives instead. However, that's exactly what's wrong with Facebook (and other likewise applications such as Instagram, Google+): you can look at them like our life timeline, only thing is we can choose which chapters of our lives we decide to share and somehow, not many of us want to share the not-(so)-amazing-moments:

  1. When we just woke up and staring at the ceiling, whining about what a boring and empty day it is. 
  2. When we are having simple fried eggs and a plate of rice just because we are lazy to cook anything worth posting on our Facebook timeline. 
  3. When we lock ourselves up in our rooms because our parents are fighting outside and we couldn't bear to hear the fight. 

You are bound to:

  1. Feel inferior compare to others in your life.
  2. develop Low self-esteem
  3. Try and "capture" every amazing moments during your vacations or your get-away with your family instead of actually living those moments, just so you could share with your friends on Facebook how amazing your life is.
We work hard on editing out those fucked-up moments in our lives that we are too dissapointed to share with other people and only include in those like-potential-photos on our life reel. Sometimes it is even worse for us if we spend too much time on Facebook and envy about other people's lives too much that we forget to live our own lives. 
T H E N
WHAT?
Preferably, give yourself a slap now. Stop feeling sorry about your life and let jealousy consume you. We all lead different paths in our lives, and I do not know what you have gone through in your life and how you feel about it and neither do you about mine. The grass is not always greener on the other side. 

And let me point out a few other reminders that I'd like to share with you for today:

  1. We compare how successful our lives are based on what we see in the pictures (and videos); the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the houses they live in, the amount of salary at the end of the month, the destinations for their holidays et cetera et cetera. 
  2. We compare our worst with their best: comparing our lives with other people is almost always a losing battle. We keep on comparing the worst that we know about ourselves to other people's best, based on our assumptions. 
  3. We will never stop comparing. It's part of being human. We want what's best for our lives, and in return, we envy those who have somehow accomplished something that we desire in the first place. Therefore, by exposing ourselves to other people's lives on Facebook (which makes comparing much easier), we tend to open ourselves up being more vulnerable than ever. 
  4. We stop ourselves from being truly happy. By continuously comparing your life to other people, you are not only hurting yourself more and regret what you aren't and who you are supposed to be, you are effectively stopping yourself from being truly happy with who you are. 
Here are FIVE simple things I would suggest you do instead: 

  1. Cherish the little moments in your life. 
  2. Stop getting out the camera out of your pocket next time you are on vacation and just live through it. 
  3. Be grateful for what you have and practice contentment. What you have will never be enough if you keep on chasing things you don't have now in your life and somehow ignore what you already have now. 
  4. You and I do not know what other people have gone through to get to where they are now. Try to be less judgmental and don't let yourself be sorry for your own life. 
  5. Spend less time on Facebook and start celebrate yourself from today onward. Who you are is all that matter, and the sooner you realize how special you really are, the easier it is for you to be truly happy with your life. 
Facebook is a great place for us to connect with our long-lost friends, and a great way for us to keep in touch with those people we love and care. But Cassandra really said it the best,

“Too much of anything could destroy you, Simon thought. Too much darkness could kill, but too much light could blind.” 
― Cassandra ClareCity of Lost Souls

I leave it to you to decide. 


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Adventure of A Lifetime

HOW'S YOUR
JOURNEY?

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince



The clock showed 3.00 a.m. I rolled over again (with a heavy sigh), close my eyes and made an effort to sleep...again. Somehow, I could not sleep. Too many things crossed my mind that night. I was afraid of what was waiting for me. It seemed everything was falling apart, how could I sleep? Too little time, too weak to handle the situation, I was going downhill and would eventually die as a failure. One of many more similar nights for me.  

What you have just witnessed is the power of the mind.You see, I let negative thoughts took over me and in effect, I became sick more often. I withdrew from the world and hid in the dark corner of my room.I was afraid of the light. I woke up late in the afternoon, and woke up with a heavy sigh. I went to the mirror in the bathroom and could not stand looking at the face that was staring at me back. I was sick of myself, of the world around me and I despised anyone else (even my closest friends) who seemed to be successful with their lives. What a loser...


image source
But it did not remain that way. I am successful today not because I have achieved high income from my businesses. No. I'm still far from it and I have a lot of work to do before I can accomplish that. I am successful today not because I have cleared all my debts. No. I'm still working on it. I am successful today not because I have eliminated all fears from my life. I am still afraid of what might happen if I fail. 
I am successful today because I changed the way I 
THINK.
I can sleep better at nights these days (much better, much faster) because I choose to think positively and the possibilities that might come along with the decisions that I have made. I think less of the problems that I have in my life at the moment; instead, I focus and exert all my energy to identifying the solutions to my problems. 

I am successful today because I chose NOT TO 

BLAME.

Where I am today, all those failures that I had faced in the past and everything that I am today is because of my own actions, and not because of other people. They are NOT AT FAULT, I am fully responsible for my own actions and therefore, the consequences of those actions are mine to bear and mine alone. This sounds a little bit narcissistic, but I have realized that I used to blame my parents, my friends, my former bosses for my failures and I refused to be held accountable. It was taking me nowhere and people used to avoid me because I was feeling miserable with life. 

I am successful today because I chose to 

BELIEVE.

I believe in what I am doing. I am not the best of writers out there. I am not even contracted to any book publishers out there. But I choose to believe. I believe my approach to what I do and what I love would make a huge difference to the final outcome. Every now and then, I still have doubts and fears, but the belief in what I am doing has helped me to go through some of the most difficult points in my life for the past few years. And even if I am not successful according to the standard definition of being a successful entrepreneur, I choose to define being successful by thinking positively, refusing to blame and believe in what I am doing.

I still have a lot to 

LEARN.

This is not a year or two process, but a whole lifetime. I am willing to spend my energy and time to make this successful; even at times when I run the risk of not eating for a day and a half and when I do eat, I had to only eat a plate of rice without anything. I have been there and I am not afraid of going through it again because I have learn to toughen up; to prepare for the tough periods later on in the future. 

I am willing to 

SACRIFICE.

Because this is what I want to do. Yes, it is embarrassing now and disappointing in the eyes of my friends and family. However, this is the sacrifice that I have decided to put on the "Altar of Life". This is something that I want to keep on doing, no matter how many times I have to do it. 

This is what I believe. No matter how bad it gets, no matter if I have to beg for a contract-position for awhile to stay alive, no matter if I am humiliated, no matter what the hits that come, I believe this is what I want to do and I am staying on in the ring to fight. 

This is the 
Adventure of a lifetime.


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

How And Where To Find Happiness In Your Life


THE ART OF
HAPPINESS 


“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson




When was the last time you were truly happy about your life, without requiring anything that involved you coming up with any money? Our pursuit of happiness is like a form of addiction. Just as a smoker think his next cigarette could give him the satisfaction that he craves, so do we who believe we can truly be happy if we could just be promoted to the job position that we wanted ever since our first day at the company; or the five hundred dollars shoes that we saw in the mall last week. This however, is not true happiness. 

You see, that form of happiness is merely temporary happiness and we can never truly be happy if we think our happiness is stored away in the form of worldly ambitions. However, sometimes the thing we want most is usually just staring right at us: if we keep on chasing something we don't currently have in our lives, we deliberately starve ourselves the happiness that we are looking for in the first place. 

We could take a moment, for most of the time that we have in a day in our lives, and appreciate the things we are blessed with. You are alive today. You are able to fill something into your stomach today with food that gives you the energy to go about and live. You have at least someone who is worried sick of you whenever you are not Okay. You can sleep comfortably in your bed tonight. You have decent clothing for you to wear as you go about and mix around with the people around you. These tiny little things that so often overlooked in place for something that we keep on chasing in our lives, something we don't have. If the source of our happiness lies in constantly chasing everything else but the things that we have at the moment, then that would certainly result in a vicious cycle, one you and I could never get out of. 

It takes practice to appreciate the little things in our lives. It starts by being conscious with what we have and being aware of how blessed we really are. By appreciating what we already have, we really are training ourselves to be grateful.

And the beautiful thing about this approach towards life is this: you and me are learning about compassion. It is natural for us to start thinking what's best for us before we could consider thinking about others. It's part of our survival instinct. In fact, it really is good that we are open to the idea of loving ourselves before others:

  • We keep on improving ourselves because we know that would improve our livelihood.
  • We have more faith in ourselves.
  • We stay away from self-hate and are more open to forgive ourselves for our past mistakes and ill-judged decisions. 
  • We accept our flaws and the baggage in our history define who we are today. 

Then, once we are able to be open to the idea of loving ourselves, compassionate can com rather easily, which is one of the keys to our happiness. Compassionate is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken with misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. 

By being compassionate, we are being more aware of how blessed we are; we inevitably become more aware of our well-being when we constantly put ourselves thinking about other people's misfortune in their lives and what we could do to help alleviate the pain. Another way to look at this is this: we will always encounter problems in our lives. There is no other way around it; we are bound to be presented with problems. But by living compassionately, we realize everyone has to undergo through this difficult stage in their lives too.  We remove the fears or insecurities we may have (because we know we are not alone) and that gives us the strength to cope with the problems we encounter. Sometimes, a difficult phase in our lives becomes much harder because we think it is our fault, choose to deal it alone and therefore, we feel we are alone in our struggles. Overtime, we slowly lose hope and become discouraged by it, and in order to look for happiness in our lives to cushion these difficult moments, we make ourselves think that by buying those shoes, cars, vacations at a faraway islands and staying at expensive hotels can do the trick.

By striving to gradually become more compassionate in our lives, we can develop both genuine sympathy for others'  suffering and the will to help remove their pain. By doing so, we are increasing our own serenity and inner strength. Our happiness, I believe, comes from a healthy mental state. Unlike our physical suffering, our minds remember the sufferings we have had in the past, no matter how small they are and we tend to be reminded of these painful memories when we experience them now. As being more compassionate in our lives can become the source of our own serenity and inner strength, shouldn't that be the key point in our lives that we should really pursue? 

Ergo, we should strive to work on our inner strength and serenity and it could be accomplished by these Two Approaches:
  1. Learn to be grateful. You don't have to look far as well as spend a lot of your money to find happiness. 
  2. Strive to become more compassionate in your life. By being more consciously aware of others' suffering and develop the will to help remove the pain, you become more aware of your own well-being. 
While you feel happy every time you bring home a bag of your new shoes, or drive home your new car, it is only temporary. But if you are able to appreciate every thing that you have now, calm within and a strong sense of well-being by helping others, happiness is really something you deserve. 
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What To Do When You Can't Solve Your Problems

YOUR BEST
LEARNING PLATFORM  

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” 
― Jack Kerouac

Everyone wants to lead a successful life and that's natural. But the reality doesn't really show the kind of life we've pictured in our heads, isn't it? Although everyone wants to have a successful life, but not everyone is leading a successful life at the moment. Why is that? Don't we want what's best for us? 

While it is true that everyone wants to have a successful life, how many of them are ready to fail? It's easy to say we want something real badly, but saying it isn't the same as doing it and there's always a chance for failure when we are in pursuit of our respective fields/vocations. 

Failure is always depicted in our society as a very bad place that is dark, shameful, disappointing, embarrassing, lonely and definitely not a place anyone should want to be in. That is why not many families I know encourage their children to become entrepreneurs (or risk takers for that matter) because these type of jobs is considered as a high-risk profession. 

Who knows how many times one should fail before he finds success? I was one of millions out there who was raised to avoid life as an entrepreneur simply because it is strongly associated with failures and as I wrote earlier, failure is not widely accepted in our society.

However, I do believe if we could somehow change the way we look at failures, we might not be overwhelmed by the possibility of failing.


Let me share the Three Benefits You and I could learn from our failures:

i.   When You and I Fail, we inevitably become stronger. 

Each time after we've failed at something, we learn to pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off and move on. It's how we grow up. The only question is: do you want to get up and try again? 

ii.  We learn more about ourselves.

I find there is not many other ways we can really learn about ourselves but through failures. When you and I fail, we expose ourselves to vulnerability and a whirlwind of emotions that could make or break a man. However, the manner in which we struggle and learn to get back up shows a lot about our characters. 

Do we stick to our integrity or do we bribe our way out of problems?
Do we lie to save ourselves or do we remain the person we are?

There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself during a difficult time like this and by finding the answers to these questions, you can know yourself a lot better and perhaps assist you in identifying your purpose in life. 

iii. Failures allow us to see more clearly what's really Important

Our failures allow us to define our values and help us to determine what is important in our lives. 

Let me illustrate this for you: A father who puts his family first will probably not have a skyrocketing career, but can certainly be a successful husband and father. On the other hand, the woman who thrives on a high-powered career requiring overtime every working day and extra work on the weekends will undoubtedly be a financial success, but may have to forego success in the relationship department.  

It doesn't feel good when we fail. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth and it's definitely not a favorite moment in our lives. Some failures that we have had in the past still come back to haunt us today and those failures are holding us back from fulfilling our potentials because we are afraid that we might fail again. 

All I hope to do is to inspire you to take a little bit of risk in your life. It can be a daunting task, but if you allow your failure to be a learning platform, it can serve you really well on the long run. 

Just remember this: if you choose to live your life without taking any risk and simply playing it safe, you have failed...by default. What's good is there for you eventually if "you had lived but was never alive"

Footnote:
1. Image source: CareerinBeta
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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Be Happy Today, Not Tomorrow

WHY SHOULD WE
SUFFER
 TODAY?

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” 
― Dalai Lama

You're stressing yourself out now because of that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You refuse to go out with your friends. You get irritated by the slightest mistake that others make. You're not enjoying your life now because you're sad, angry, depressed...and you keep on telling yourself,
  "once I buy that--or--once I come back from the vacation in Phuket--or--once the weekend is here--or-- once I'm promoted...

Does this somehow sounds familiar to you? We think we are going to be happy tomorrow, but for some reasons, there is no room for happiness now. We rely on the events of tomorrow instead of living the present. Our happiness is abstract, merely an idea that's attached to other days than today
But think about it for a moment: do you think you will ever be happy if all you ever do to get happiness is by expecting a major breakthrough or a special day in the future where you can truly find your happiness? 
Chances are, when the "day" does come, you'd be disappointed. It doesn't quite match the image of "happiness" that you had imagined; instead, once you are promoted by your boss, you're only happy for say, 5-10 minutes, savoring your success and accomplishment and before you know it, you're bogged down by the new load of works for your new position and before long you'll be thinking of the next promotion, the next vacation, the next day...every other day but today.
Your unhappiness lies in between what you already have now and what you think you need. You're always chasing after things you don't have and if you keep on thinking that way, it's very hard to be happy, isn't it? We're always filled with a sense of something lacking in our lives and our friends on Facebook seem to lead wonderful and exciting lives instead.
So let's get to (as the popular phrase goes) the million dollar question:  

HOW TO BE HAPPY?


1. Be Grateful By Expressing Gratitude Towards Life
As it goes with any unhappy person in the world, they are unhappy because they don't get what they want; could be the girl he likes doesn't return his love, his boss doesn't seem to appreciate his works, her bank loan application got rejected, he has to delay his vacation to Maldives, et cetera et cetera. I can go on and on about the things that they don't have
If you really want to be happy, and I mean really happy with your life, one of the best ways for you to start is by appreciating what you have at the moment. 
Be grateful for what you have now instead of what you don't have. Here's an idea of What You Do Have now:
  • You have a family that loves you
  • You have perfect limbs 
  • You are alive to read this today
  • You are able to read this. (A lot of people can't.)
  • You have wonderful friends.
  • You have a good job
  • You can take it from here.

Just remember to do this over and over again. Keep on reminding yourself what you have to be grateful for

2. Be Optimistic About Life By Practicing First Rule
Generally, optimistic people are more open to the idea of happiness but if you look closer at your circle of friends and wider network of the people that you know, not everyone is optimistic. There are always pessimists in our midst and do you find these people depressing? 
Sometimes you try to share your happiness about something with them and yet, they would be able to find a way to turn it away. 
Ergo, do yourself a favor: be more optimistic about life and try to avoid the pessimist. Each morning you wake up, go to your bedroom window where you could see the sun rises, and think of all the possibilities in your life at the moment. 
By combining your gratefulness +  optimism towards life, you'll find there are plenty of reasons to be happy today. You don't have to wait for tomorrow to be happy. You have the right tools now. 

3. Don't Ask What's Your Purpose, Instead Ask How You Can Create A Meaningful Life
No one knows what will happen to them in the future. We can't be sure what's going to happen to us, so all we have is the present that is both real and tangible
You might think other people seem to know what they want to do with their lives, the direction they are headed but in reality, they might be as confused as you are right now. 
Who's to say we have to know our life purpose right now? It's too deep, too "Buddha"where we have to spend a lot of our time thinking like the philosophers. It's too intangible. My guess, the only way we can have a clearer idea what our life purpose is, is after we've reached a certain old age where we could see how our life has turned up by then. 
But for now, instead of asking what's your life purpose, you should ask how you can make your life more meaningful now? You have probably quit smoking and your life feels much better now. Wouldn't be great if you could help and guide other smokers "who want to quit but couldn'tto quit as well? 
Jack Canfield talks about meaningful life really well. You should check this out. Here
If you train yourself to lead a meaningful life, this would lead to the type of life you are going to pursue. Sometimes you might not be happy as you are pursuing a meaningful life: for example, you are fighting oppression but would you be happy if you're stuck in prison for that? 
But even if it's hard, and not always going the way we want, we would be filled with a sense of satisfaction. I have decided to pursue a life as an entrepreneur instead of using my Bachelor's degree in computer science to secure a long-term job with a company, and pursuing a life filled with uncertainties, has it be an easy ride so far? 

Not at all. But I couldn't be happier with where I am because I am learning more about what I love, what I want and the possibilities for me in life. 


4.  Cherish The Little Things
There are many little things that are taking place in your life at the moment. If you are too absorbed by the idea that you can't be happy right now, even if you're not aware of it, and if you are chasing what you don't have right now instead of what you already have, you will miss a lot of beautiful things that are happening in your life now.
I like the movie Click, starring Adam Sandler and Kate Beckinsale. In the movie, Adam Sandler was a workaholic man that really loved his family but couldn't spend a lot of time with them because he had to work and he explained over and over to his children and wife that he was doing it so that his children could live a better life than he had  when he was little. 
The movie is one of my favorite movies of all time because of the life lessons Adam had presented so well in the movie. A lot of us are a lot like Adam Sandler in the movie. We work so hard now to go for the better things for ourselves and our loved ones. What we have now aren't good enough. 

But along the way, we start to skip the little things. We've missed our friend's birthday dinner, our son's swimming race, our parents anniversary, our best friend's wedding announcement, our housemate's decision to stop smoking, et cetera et cetera...every little thing in our lives that would eventually add up and create a wonderful life as a whole. 
You don't have to wait for the "major" events in your life to be happy. Cherish the little things and you'll soon have more than enough reasons to smile and well...be happy. 

IT'S UP TO YOU.

Just remember, you don't have to wait until tomorrow to be happy. There are a lot of reasons you ca be happy right at this moment. Sometimes, it might seem hard but if you are grateful, optimistic and open to change, happiness isn't hard to find. 
Now, you might have other things to add up to the list on How to be happy. What are yours? I'd love to hear them. You can list them down in the comment section below or send me an email. 
Footnote:
1. Image source:  Huffpost
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