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Is happiness the leading path to success

Today's Vesak Day, a special day largely celebrated by Buddhist around the world to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of Buddha. For me it is largely a public holiday so this year marks my first visit to a proper temple here in Singapore, and in such brevity I started observing the many things that people here do for Vesak Day. The commemoration pretty much embodies the peace and harmony of Buddhism; people make silent prayers, lighted up pretty candles as a sign of enlightenment from Buddha, and I? My oblivion was converted to curiosity and I begun to question why do people started chanting along and what is it all about. I never really understood the meaning of Vesak Day, except relating this day to people walking down the streets celebrating Buddha and carrying lotus lighted candles. The ignorance taught me a couple of lessons today.

After paying homage at the temple, then I did a little thinking to myself about psyche. What does happiness mean to a person? Does happiness mean that one is content with the state things are and wouldn't care if there is no progression as life goes on? Does it mean that one has to laugh to be deemed happy? Does it mean that one has not yet experience failure to understand what being unhappy is all about? Does one take very conscious steps to continue to stay happy or does it happen naturally? Some of these things I have been trying to learn myself, understanding the true psyche and how it all works. I've been drowning myself in books that explains happiness, and coincidentally I am in the Women's Interest Network which we are working on the "Happiness Project".  The book "The Happiness Project" itself, (yes there is a book called "The Happiness Project") is a first party's view on her own happiness and what she tries to do consciously to remain sane. My own thoughts after reading her book was such over the top efforts to attain bliss and keeping track of them from month to month is possible, but it loses the focus on other people. Everything was selfish attempts to desperately avoid anger or depression. In my opinion the author of the book probably has some temperament issues and should go for anger management classes instead.

What enlightened me today, not because of the visit this morning but rather the thoughts that came after pondering for a while, was that happiness is probably correlated to expectations. It is as simple as having manageable expectations. Relating this to some of my life experiences, I found that the down moments have mostly been caused by having high expectations. The rule is to keep them low or none. This shall not be mistaken with ambition, drive or personality because they can still exist in positive ways and within reach. This not only applies to a job, but also people relationships. Self expectations when met should be acknowledged in the midst of achieving a life/personal goal, somewhat like acknowledging milestones. This way, instead of setting happiness goals such as "I must do charity work in order to feel happy about it - just cause its nobel", or "I must do exciting things because it keeps my mind off sad thoughts", it is more about trying to have lower expectations so when failures do happen it does not come crashing on you hard.

This book explains happiness in a different light, definitely my next read and hopefully one day to understand the true meaning.

[Research] points to an alternative approach [to happiness]: a ‘negative path’ to happiness that entails taking a radically different stance towards those things most of us spend our lives trying hard to avoid. This involves learning to enjoy uncertainty, embracing insecurity and becoming familiar with failure. In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them - Oliver Burkeman

Finding joy

Sundays have been weekly rituals of solitude and reflections, it never was like that until you realize that your life has come to a momentary plateau of excitement. You envy the lifestyle of the friends that you have in the states enjoying their every bit of freedom, every travel adventures, every facebook posts and you wish you have it all. Despite all of that, sometimes I feel blessed to be where I am, albeit the stresses of the work and the environment. The stability here is just what I needed, and to be truly appreciative of what I have, it is times like these on Sunday afternoons where I have the space to think and reflect upon it.

So the family has finally met him, and I was surprised that he blended in very well. I was rather afraid that the cacophony of the family jokes and laughter would scare him off, just like how they did make a few of them uncomfortable every single chinese new year. That being said, it is part of the family trait and I'm lucky to be a part of it. Just like what my mom told me, the family tradition only carries on up till our generation, and beyond that once the matriarch of the family is gone, the future generations will not be this close no more. It was a pleasant evening full with love and laughter, and we ended the night at Hyatt with a bottle of wine and scenic view of the twin towers with the cousins.

It is one thing that I have learnt after coming to Singapore, and that is never to fret on the little hiccups, rather focus on the little things that make you happy. That way your expectations are kept low and you will never be bummed about bad things that happen in your life because they are just minor set-backs that will be the stepping stone to a better future.

Quietly I said to myself, "just let it go", when the new hire told me " again, it's not technical", somewhat implying that every little thing that I have explained makes easy and perfect sense to him. Why ought I waste my time on him then? "Just let it go", I told myself. such demeaning connotationS should not affect what I am doing. I've done my duty to handover what was required of me. The more I think about it, the more it irks me because technically it doesn't make sense. Crazy as it seems, i recently came to the realization that nobody in this world should i trust except for my family. Sounds Iike a cynic you might say, but it is true. This statement was proven to me right time after time again after several observations, which validated my points, they may be subtle hints but I have a newly found heightened awareness on people's behavior.

Deeds are represented by money. Once paid, nothing is owed. Nothing lasts forever and so do friendship, however ones that do last can definitely prove me wrong. People move on to different phases of their lives, some were great high school friends but when we went our own separate lives, we grew apart because of the environment and the different exposures that differentiate our beliefs and thoughts, we have decided that this good friend of ours shall remain in the past and life goes on. It is an inherent behavior that most possess that is usually inevitable, but sad.

There is an interesting term that we use in our company, that is GI which translates to General Interest. Before you even start to interpret the meaning of this word, you may think it is rather hypocritical. No one actually believe in this word, its the mere fact that people use it in the company to show that they are exhibiting team work or share a goal however with the ranking system what incentive does it give to one to adhere to it? What will only follow is a perpetuation of self interest and the manifestation of greed to reach one's goal as more can be written in the yearly appraisal form. No one is going to pitch for others, no one gets rewarded for having the best interest for others but every good deed a person does for the other comes with an intention to benefit themselves.

There used to be a good friend, whom I became very fond of, we used to be really close friends in university. It brought back a lot of good memories even to this date thinking about how we used to hang out in each other's room, shared our secrets and fears, sleepovers with movies and ice-cream, and the good times where we used to share music, more so an education for me. The drift came about not too long ago, there were no tension around us, but the fact that I was forgotten as a close friend saddens me. I believe this is a case where my utility for a friend has diminished. If only memories could be erased as easily as friendships.

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Mind shambles

The month of October is rather noteworthy, a whole lot of new tasks at work with my new post, passions collide when work enthusiasts gather again for late night supper, the visit to horror night theme park and movie night under the stars. 

What a way to sum up the month but when I am about to pen down all the details of the events, I thought of writing nothing but you. The rare Sundays where I sat alone in my room, inexplicably writing about our enigmatic past. The haunted past of us, the obscure walks around the grounds of 1500ft elevation, that made me fell in love with this activity of ours, our fungible views never seem to end our conversations the time stopped right in front of my eyes. We walked down the empty streets in the wee hours and watched the floating shadows of drunk party-goers laughing at the studious you and I, it never perturb us. You carried my bag and gave me a hug each time we come to my porch, the warmth of your body was so palpable it's excruciating to see where we have ended up today.

The thought of losing you has never been this real, I had not envisioned this when we met three years ago. We have gone down all the different paths and made choices together, whether it was chocolate or strawberry, you knew what I love most. My life has moved on since, but you are still standing firm on the past, dearly holding on to our irrevocable youth. Your absence has given me time to think, to think hard about us and I am truly apologetic to have us landed in this situation today. My friend, you have been an inspiration to my life, little do you know that you are important to me. Come back soon, for you are dearly missed.

this beautiful mess that we are in..

It's been 5 months since I have started working for this new company in this new country. New is an understatement, rather unique. More so felt like I'm in this beautiful mess of disfigured hearts and surrounded by discontent city residents. So much happened in the span of 5 months, it's like living the high life in fast forward to sum it up. Dined in classy restaurants, saw live stand-ups, musicals, did rock climbing, met more new people, got into a relationship, got out of a relationship, met old friends, dined at more classy restaurants, and got myself strapped on a seat belt of a roller coaster ride for the year 2012.