I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently, especially with my transition from corporate life to start-up life. While I’m comfortable with change most the time, I do occasionally need some words of support. For that, I find there’s no-one better than Lao-Tzu, the founder of Taoism, who lived 2,500 years ago. He wrote:
“life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like”
In my last blog, I selected a range of sayings from philosphers, religious figures and thinkers on how to live a deep and meaningful life. There are so many insights, I had to split the blog into two, so here’s part two:
Every day, there seems to be some new “discovery” or hack that will unlock our happiness. It’s hard to know what will work and what will not. It’s for this reason, I like to remind myself of enduring wise words from people that lived before us. After all, while today’s material world is very different from the past, human nature is the same: we still seek power, money and love, and we still get angry, scared and upset by the actions of others.
I’m not the first to think like this, Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet said ” If you’re lost, look for footprints of those that went before you”and Lao-Tze, the Chinese Taoist philosopher from 2,500 years ago wrote “By sticking to the underlying principles (Tao) of the past, you will master the life of today“. So in a two-part blog, I’ve selected some one-liners from wise people that lived before us. Here’s part one:
I’m in the process of re-thinking my work situation. Naturally, change, especially when the next step is not fully known, can feel a bit unsettling, but that’s the upfront emotional payment for greater future growth – no pain, no gain as they say. Importantly, the timing couldn’t be better for a big positive transformational change.
We all know giving money to charities and helping the poor is a good thing, but the question is to what degree. At one end, you have someone like Peter Singer, the Princeton University philosopher, who once equated our lack of charity to murder:
Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright, is perhaps the most quoted artist aside from Shakespeare. He even has a quote on quotes (“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”). It helps that he was incredibly witty, but it’s the honesty and truth that underlies the quotes that have made them stand the test of time. Here are some of his best:
The internet is full of junk, but every now and then you discover something that harnesses the full power of the internet. That something is the “LifeProTips” thread on the discussion site, Reddit. The thread allows people to post practical life tips, which others can upvote. Over the past year, I’ve discovered useful tips like:
“When using a public bathroom, choose the first stall” (research shows people go for the middle or last ones)
“Keep cookies soft by storing them in an air-tight container with a slice of bread. Cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread, staying ultra-soft for up to two weeks!”
“Boarding a Southwest Airlines flight [or any airline without allocated seating] and want to keep the seat next to you open? Pull the vomit bag from the seat pocket, hold it in your hand, and rest your head on the back of the seat in front of you. No one wants to sit near someone puking” (sounds cool, haven’t tried it yet)
To share the wisdom, I’ve collated the top 50 most upvoted tips of all-time:
It’s one of the seven deadly sins and in some traditions it’s thought to be the root of all evil. Aristotle defined it as feeling pain at the good fortune of others. Immanuel Kant extended the definition to include aiming at destroying others’ good fortune. Contemporary society, however, rarely talks about envy, perhaps because consumerism is fuelled by it. This is all the more reason to shine a light on it. Continue reading “Poison Envy”
Mongolia. Bolivia. Pine Ridge (South Dakota, US). What do these 3 places have in common? Well, the average income per person is around $3,500 per year. Yes, you read that correct – there are places in the US with the same income levels as a Third World country. I learnt that during a recent holiday in the US, where I first visited Las Vegas to see some family that live there. While Las Vegas has its own unique sense of aesthetics that seem to pop up in deserts, I did feel the need to have a time-out from Vegas. So I worked out which part of the US is the poorest, and decided to visit it. It turns out to be the aforementioned Pine Ridge in South Dakota. Continue reading “What I Learnt From An Unexpected US Mid-West Adventure (3 min read)”