A couple days ago I took the School of Life's "How to Enjoy Life" virtual class where the instructor introduced the concept of "radical acceptance". It is the name of Tara Brach's book and the idea is that suffering is optional, pain is not.
Pain + non-acceptance = suffering
Radical acceptance means we don't fight with reality or things that cannot be changes, like the past. This idea reminds me of Byron Katie's "Loving What Is". I believe I read that book back in 2014 but I've virtually forgotten what I learned.
Byron Katie came up with 'The Work' which is an exercise of asking yourself four questions.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
I wished that I actually practiced that. Sometimes I convince myself of the worst possible situation and I behave and act as if the worst has happened when it has not and may never. In other words, I suffer for a non-reality, which is stupid and a waste of time.
I learned about the G.I. Fallacy from taking the coursera course "The Science of Wellbeing" from Yale. G.I. Fallacy refers to how wrong it is to think that knowing is half the battle. The moral of the story is that knowledge is not even half the battle. Whoever says knowledge is power wan't quite complete in that assertion.
Therefore, despite reading so many books over the years, I have only improved on my knowledge but not practice. The only way to really better myself is to practice the things I read. Consequently, I have reprioritised my strategy. It's not good enough to just read so I am shifting more of my time and energy into practising what I preach. I'm taking a lot of classes, especially live classes, to practice self compassion, mindfulness and nonviolent communication.
If we could just say, "Here are the needs of both sides. Here are the resources. What can be done to meet these needs?," conflicts would be easily resolved. But instead, our thinking is focused on dehumanizing one another with labels and judgments until even the simplest of conflicts becomes very difficult to solve. NVC helps us avoid that trap, thereby enhancing the chances of reaching a satisfying resolution.
I participated in the Happiness Program in November 2019. I heard about it while I was in California looking for wellness classes to take. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to take the Happiness Program there and fortunately this program is also offered in Hong Kong so I enrolled. The original program I enrolled in was cancelled in the last minute and so I was moved to another weekend. I didn't have the best experience the first time around, mainly because I was very preoccupied and could not relax. I also found the teacher to be too young to be credible so I did not follow the practices after the program.
Recently I've been enrolling in online formats of programs that I attended previously to refresh my understanding. It just so happens that the Happiness Program also went online and I decided to try again. My second time joining the Happiness Program was a much better experience. The teacher was more experienced and our group was smaller so I was a lot more engaged. This time around I am doing the breathing exercises everyday. I'm really happy that I gave Happiness Program another shot. I'm seeing really good results from the breathing exercises.
This experience reminds me of what I learned in day 1 of law school. We were given a book about how to study law. One of the advice given was that if you read anything in the textbooks that you don't understand, don't move on, reread the paragraph again until you understand what it says. Sometimes when I'm reading, my mind is elsewhere, so even if I finished "reading" a paragraph, I might not have paid attention -- during those times, I've now learned that you must go back to the beginning and reread the paragraph, reread as many times as necessary so you understand what it says. Similarly, even if I attended a program, I may not have paid attention the entire time to fully learn all the concepts taught, so it is beneficial for me to retake the program, especially in a virtual format and at a cheaper price.
The silver lining to the coronavirus situation is now I have virtual access to so many programs conducted in the US and UK. It's a great opportunity for me to soak up knowledge like a sponge.
2. Love of Learning
7. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
Using your signature strengths at work can turn your job into a calling. The more the merrier but studies show that especially using 4 out of the top 7 of your signature character strengths give you the best happiness outcome. What is the best profession for me?
I was watching a lot of youtube videos about North Korea and came across the TED talk about Hyeonseo Lee who wrote the book "The Girl with Seven Names". It's a very easy read because it is written more like a fictional novel and each chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I finished reading in 24 hours because I was so captivated by her story.
There were a few bits of the book that really struck me. First, she was insanely lucky. She was never forced to work as a sex worker. She didn't have to sneak into China or Mongolia or South East Asia because she had family in China and she managed to buy herself a PRC ID card which allowed her to fly to Seoul to claim asylum. Her first serious boyfriend in China was a young and rich South Korean who lived in Gangnam. In fact, she has been very lucky in love. She always seem to run into really good guys who liked and respected her. Her second boyfriend is her current American husband who is patient and understanding. And of course there was that famous encounter with the Australian Dick Stolp who gave her hundreds of dollars in Laos in order to bribe the officials to release her brother and her mother.
I was also really into her stories about her childhood. The brainwashing in North Korea is real. First, it confirmed to me that children are vulnerable. If you tell kids that santa claus exists, then santa claus exists. Of course for North Korea, the fairy tale is that the Kims are such supernational beings who can change the weather with their minds. I was also kinda inspired by it. My thinking goes, if kids or adults can be tricked into believing in ridiculous lies then I can also re-program or trick my mind into more positive messages. Brain plasticity, you know? Never too late to reprogram better vocabs and better habits.