Saturday, December 29, 2012

Be positive and lead a happy life

Be a positive, optimistic and kind person. Whether you are a happy or unhappy person depends largely on yourself. Negative and pessimistic people are generally unhappy people. Be kind to others. Kindness begets kindness. Try to do a good deed every day. You will find that by brightening the lives of others, you will brighten your own life.

Maintain a healthy and happy family. If your parents are elderly and living by themselves, try to visit them at least once a week and share a weekly meal with them. One of the problems encountered by our older folks is loneliness.
Be on excellent terms with your spouse. Be faithful to your wife, treat her as if they were still courting and give her all your money.... however, if in case where your wife is a spender and not a saver, then you decide or not to give all.
As for how to behave towards one's children, the advice given by Kahlil Gibran: "And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts."

Find a job you enjoy doing. One of the reasons so many Singaporeans are unhappy is probably that they do not like their jobs or complained about their salary and expenses. Since we spend so much of our lives and time at work, maybe it is better to have a worklife balance to find a job which is not a chore to endure but a pleasure to do. In recent years, it has been noticed a trend of many locals and Singaporeans leaving their jobs for other jobs which pay them less and lesser bonuses but give them greater satisfaction. This could be a good thing and demand lesser stress on individual who value their personal life more.

Treasure your true friends. In your life journey, you will make many friends - at school, at university, in sports or other activities and at work. Try to develop a small circle of very good friends, friends who will stand by you in good times and bad times. In work place, do not involve in office politics. You will not gain any better if you are poor in handling office politics.

Exercise regularly. Exercise not only makes you healthier, it also makes you feel better. Therefore, make regular exercise a part of your lifestyle. You can't be a happy person if you are not in good health. Work stress may hit you with extra sickness if you are weak and it may be too late if you are not able to cope with stress.  So get out the stress by some workout.  Any form of workout with colleagues may also help, eg. bowling, jogging, etc.

Enjoy eating but eat healthily and avoid the sin of gluttony. Singapore is a culinary paradise. Food is abundant, diverse and affordable. If you reach your 50s' like me, eat moderate and watch your diet.
You can eat well on any budget. Let us enjoy our food but let us also exercise some discipline when choosing what to eat. I have always tried to follow the ancient Asian wisdom of stopping when I feel 80 per cent full and not over indulged.

Be a volunteer and support philanthropy. Mrs Barbara Bush, the wife of the 41st President of the United States said there was a period in her life when she suffered from depression. Instead of seeing a psychiatrist or taking medication to overcome her depression, she decided to be a volunteer. She found that by helping others less fortunate than herself, her depression gradually disappeared.
Whether we are rich or poor, we should contribute to a cause or causes close to our hearts. In spite of our favourable tax regime and the presence of many wealthy people in our society, it was very disappointed to see how lowly Singapore ranked in the table of countries for philanthropy. A saying  that no man could be truly happy if he lives only for himself.

Read books and listen to music. Reading is an excellent habit. Books keep youcompany when you are alone.  Reading is an endless source of happiness. So is music. With the web around these days, you may also start to do your own blog. Some of the personal blogs which you could see nowadays are very well done and you do not need to pay a single cent but the practicing of blogging improves your knowledge and networking with the outside world.  

Take pleasure in the little things in life. Try regular walks in the Botanic Gardens. Try to find joy in meeting old friends, attending a concert at the Esplanade and visiting a wonderful exhibition at one of our museums.  Outing on weekends with your family members is definitely one of the good workout.

Don't envy others. Dr Wee Kim Wee, our sixth President once said that one of the reasons which caused people to be unhappy was that they were envious of others. Dr Wee said he never envied his friends who had a better education or earned more money or lived in bigger houses or owned more expensive cars. His rule was to be contented with what he had. This is a good rule. Philosophically, it would be even better if you could feel vicariously happy when you see your friends and former students doing well in life.  Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.
“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough”
Oprah Winfrey
“Be content with what you have;  rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking,  the whole world belongs to you.”
Lao Tzu
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
Leo Tolstoy
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.”
Ann Brashares
“You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
Charles H. Spurgeon

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