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Happiness

Life is like jazz.
Much of it is improvised
We cannot control all the variables
We must live it with panache and flair,
Regardless of what it throws at us.

Check out International Jazz Day which is on April 30th. Just over. But well, plan for next year’s.
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/jazz-day

We can love our family and pray for their happiness.
We can give advice and help when needed
But we can neither make decisions for them
Nor make them act the way we want them to.
There are many things we cannot control in life.
That includes those closest to us.

Haemin Sunim, “The Things You Can See Only when You Slow Down”
Translated by Chi-Young Kim

I’m at a little cafe “Tiann’s” in Tiong Bahru doing my weekly marketing in the wet market.

I ordered two lattes, each costing $6.50 pricier than the delicious wanton noodles we had for breakfast. I’m going to nurse this latte.

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I want to know. How do you trick your brain into exercising?

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Look at this young overachiever at the recent car-free Sunday in the Central Business District.

Ready for Young’s suggestions?

1. Meditative Pace allows development of ideas

Charles Darwin’s strolls in Kent were important in development of ideas. The world’s greatest naturalist was a collector of stones. Not just a love of nature or departing from the maddening crowd. It’s “exercise in reflection – a kind of moving meditation”.

According to Young, exercise encourages innovation and problem-solving. He doesn’t refer you to these studies for you to digest and chew but presents ideas for consumption.

Walking (and jogging), rather than other forms of sports, is at a “more contemplative pace” and allows your senses to interplay with a tactile , vibrant world (as long as you’re not in a gym. But then you can read on your ipad or watch the news as I’m prone to do.)

This allows for a mood for creativity. If you’re walking on the streets of city life, try doing so without headphones, cautioned Young to prevent pedestrian deaths.

Loosen your mind and give it interesting things to contemplate in this state.

2. Vigorous sports promotes a sense of self

In recounting Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey, Young presents that in addition to toning muscles and increasing the heart’s efficency, exercise and competitions offers a firmer idea of “self” associated with bodily effort. Giving us someone to beat and offering us a comparison “self against others”.

Even if you’re an onlooker, we feel the pleasure in our success. (I guess for the team you’re rooting for. Is that the reason why so many people watch football? Not just for betting.)

Unlike Greek gods, we humans have a short life span. “The gods may feel no sorrow, but as should be accounted happy and worthy of song if boldness and power have gained him the greatest prize for the might of hand and foot.”

Pride in exercise. Not just fitness but a keen sense of our responsibility. We cannot wait for God to give us our souls – the self is something we must continually and consciously create.

(Forget for a moment that the existentialist author Albert Camus comited suicide). Recounted by Young, Camus once argued that Sisyphus rolling up the boulder to the hill for eternity, was happy because it was his rock. His duty and his task. Only we are the rock. Maybe so. I’ll leave youto nurse your latte over that one.

3. Transforming agony into art. Think “ballet”. Young cites martial arts and ballet that these art forms change the meaning of pain. As the meaning changes, so does the pain itself. For Descartes, the body is basically a machine. It’s not fused with the mind but made of a separate substance.

Pain is purely a mechanical process of stimulation and transmission. The brain’s job as a thinking substance is simply to receive it.

There are 9 other ideas captured in the book. My latte is finished. I encourage you to finish the book and tell me the rest.

I checked out Damon Young’s blog post. He is a philosopher and has written a book on gardening and philosophy. Can’t wait to check it out.
http://damon-young.blogspot.sg/p/philosophy-in-garden-why-did-marcel.html?m=1

Do we make effort to communicate and understand each other?

You do? You’re outstanding! Give yourself a pat on the shoulder.

Let’s share a laugh.

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Mad-hatter at Chelsea Flower Show 2015, London

(Shared by a friend, JT)
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A Bank sends an e-mail to a borrower which reads:

YOUR PAYMENTS ARE OUTSTANDING

Borrower’s reply:

“THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT “

Gotta run. I’ve work that is outstanding.
Take a break. Have some kitkat.
Bet you can’t find sake kitkat in your country.

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Photo from my SIL AT, presents from the office

What you observe creates your reality.

Those of us who drive know the danger of blind spots and the need for side mirrors.

According to Shawn Achor of “Before Happiness“, a reality at work based on only one vantage point is limited and full of blind spots and that prevents forward movement.

Achor suggests that the perspective is in the details. He cites Dr Irwin Braverman, a professor at Yale School of Medicine and Linda Friedlaender, the curator at the Yale Centre for British Art who came up with an exercise that helped doctors improve a skill that actually could save lives.

In the midst of training, students were taken to an art museum to see the world in multiple dimensions.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the students who took this class exhibited a 10% improvement in their ability to detect important medical details.

“Once they are able to see this wider rave of details, they were better able to leverage their IQ and EQ and all their other cognitive abilities to knit these details together and see previously missed connections.

Those details were the vantage points that broadened their perspective and made them more successful in their work. ”

Achor notes that in medicine , as in all professions, it is easy to get stuck seeing things from only one vantage point and approach problems with a broader and deeper perspective.

He gave the example of a doctor who observes the lips of a patient and noticed something all other doctors missed and saved the patient’s life.

Seeing reality from different angles can allow us to open our eyes to a broader range of opportunities and connect more deeply with our team and family.

Please also catch Shawn Achor’s very humorous TED talk.

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Broken pot becomes a work of art. At the 2016 Singapore Garden Festival.

A psychologist carrying a glass of water , asked her class to guess how heavy they think it was? 10g, 50g, 200g ?

Answer?

The question is not how heavy a glass is. But how long you’ve been carrying it. Even a glass can ache your arm if you’ve been carrying it a long time.

How are you copying with residual stress in your life? Something which may even be a trivial matter, a bad memory can weigh on you and cause undue stress, if you’ve been carrying it for a long time.

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(Breakfast with B)
Shen & Co
140 Upper Bukit Timah Road #01-01/04, Beauty World Plaza, Singapore 588176

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Does venting help with anger management?

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Painting by Thai artist Tang Chang at the National Gallery, Singapore. The painting was painted in remembrance of the brutal police oppression in Thailand in 1973.

http://www.amazon.com/Originals-How-Non-Conformists-Move-World/dp/0525429565

Psychologist Brad Bushman designed an experiment to make people angry. He found that venting doesn’t extinguish the flame of anger, it feeds it. When we vent our anger we put 😠a lead foot on the gas pedal of the go system, attacking the target who enraged us.

Instead, focusing on the victim activates what psychologists call empathetic anger – the desire to right wrongs done unto others.

Research demonstrates that when we are angry at others, we aim for retaliation or revenge.

But when we’re angry for others, we seek out injustice and a better system. We don’t just want to punish; we want to help.

Next time when someone makes you angry, don’t think about the countless times s/he has disrepected you or disregard your feelings. That’s a sure way of exploding. Instead, think about why this person is a victim of his or her circumstances/ stress. Focus on what can be done.

Adam Grant concludes his chapter on those who championed women suffrage and minority rights that “becoming original is not the easiest path in the pursuit of happiness, but it leaves us perfectly poised for the happiness of pursuit.

“Originals – how non conformists move the world” by Adam Grant

Recently I saw a young man explode because his dish was accidentally cleared by an old cleaner. It was obvious that it was the old man’s first few days at work and he made a mistake. Instead of confronting the young man to give the guy a break, I slipped money for him to buy another plate. Berating him for showing his temper over something so insignificant and cheap like a $4 plate of rice will only embarrass him and not change the world. Surprisingly he accepted the money. Perhaps he’s under dire circumstances as well.

What would you do? Something similar happened recently and someone chose to take a video for the whole world to see.
http://mothership.sg/2016/06/food-rage-lady-gives-her-side-of-the-story-says-she-had-a-cold-that-day/