Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Mar 31, 2013

The end of the first quarter of the year, time to check your New Year Resolution

Filed under: Emotional Intelligence — admin @ 12:56 am

Yes, the first quarter of the new year is rushing by before you even get used to the new year. This is what I told my children and keep reminding myself– time and tide wait for no man.

It is time when we should go back to our new year resolution and see where we are now. Because I have not kept up with mine, as always, I need to check out why and how to improve, so that I will do something differently and can get back to the right track.

After I took a close look at my daily work, busy as it is, I have found that I actually still can squeeze out some time for doing what I have promised myself to do. Squeezing out time is what I will do next.

1, Mar 30, 2013

The savings of one-year used car

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 12:48 am

On 3/20, a friend of mine took my daughter to BMV to take written driving test. While waiting for her turn, my friend had a long chat with my daughter. Here’s what this friend told me of part of their conversation.

“When you grow up and get a high paid job, you will buy a BMW and can drive me around in your car,” my friend told my daughter.
“Sure, I will drive you, but I will buy a used car because it cost too much to buy brand new one,” replied my daughter.

My friend was impressed by her down-to-earth approach. Instead of boasting of spending big and chasing coolness like some young people that she knows, my daughter knows the saving of used car and the best of all, she doesn’t care about being pretentious.

I told this friend, “The cost of a new car runs at least $10,000 more than a one-year old used one when you combine the cost of car purchase, sale tax, annual registration fees, tax property, and insurance.” She was surprised to learn the savings of a one-year used car. I was surprised that she didn’t know all this.

1, Mar 29, 2013

The world’s most expensive dishes

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:11 am

Last weekend, while my daughter was at the recycling center doing volunteer work, I was trying to catch up with some writing that was due last Tuesday. But I bumped into this article on BBC- The world’s most expensive dishes. Just out of curiosity, I checked it out and was shocked at what I saw. Here are some of them.

The Golden Phoenix Cupcake
The world’s most expensive cupcake was introduced to sweet-toothed spectators in Dubai’s new Bloomsbury’s cafe on 5 July. It is priced at a whopping 3,676 dirhams, and is created from a recipe that includes Italian chocolate, 23-carat edible gold sheets, organic strawberries and lots of edible gold dusting. The cake is presented on a 24-carat gold stand and must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance. (Bloomsburys, Dubai)

The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate
Here’s an exaggerative description of its cost: a moment on the lips; a lifetime on the credit card. Such is the case with the world’s most expensive dessert, the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, priced at $18,713. Available at Serendipity 3, a restaurant in New York’s Upper East Side, the dish combines 28 different kinds of cocoa, is adorned with 5g of edible 23-carat gold and infused with gold flakes. The sweet treat is presented in a goblet lined with edible gold leaf, served with an 18-carat gold and diamond bracelet and eaten with a solid gold spoon encrusted with rare black, white and chocolate-coloured diamonds.

Le Burger Extravagant
The world’s most expensive burger is made of Japanese waygu beef, infused with 10-herb white truffle butter, seasoned with Alderwood smoked pacific sea salt, topped with cheddar cheese, shaved black truffles and a fried quail egg served on a white truffle-buttered Campagna roll and finished with a blini, crème fraiche and Kaluga golden caviar. Oh — and, a solid gold diamond-encrusted toothpick on the side. The damage? $293, by appointment only, also at the world-famously pricey Serendipity 3 in New York.

Sushi Del Oriente
How about some Sushi Del Oriente — nigiri sushi wrapped in 24-carat gold leaves and sprinkled with five 0.20-carat African diamonds? This is the dish one Japanese businessman tucked into at his personal residence in Manila, Philippines, in 2010, served by up-and-coming celebrity chef Angelito Araneta Jr of premium gastronomy company Karat Chef. The bill? A cool 85,727.59 Philippine pesos. Apparently, the chef’s “artworks” are typically purchased as marriage proposal gifts.

And much more. But to be honest, the thought of the expense makes me sick.

1, Mar 28, 2013

Affordable Care Act turns three years old on 3/23

Filed under: American Culture — admin @ 12:50 am

Yes, here’s another birthday this month, the Obamacare or Affordable Care Act which was signed into law on 3/23/2010.

To be sure, Obamacare has had a very rough time since its birth. The GOP has tried over 30 times to repeal it. Even with the Supreme Court upholding of the law, the GOP still has not given up its fight to outlaw it.

As with anything that is progressive and representative of historial trend, the Obamacare will have to experience vehement attacks of various sort before it finally becomes as established as our social security tax and Medicare.

This law might go down the American history as the single great achievement of Obama administration.

1, Mar 27, 2013

Another Birthday Celebration this Month!

Filed under: Daughter — admin @ 12:36 am

Happy 18th birthday. My daughter turns 18 today, ready for college this fall. Here’s your virtue birthday cake! Of course, we will have the real one today. And I know she likes the real one better than this one.

happy 18th birthday

1, Mar 26, 2013

A near-disaster accident on the way to work

Filed under: work — admin @ 12:26 am

Talk about stress when people go to work. Yesterday, 3/25/2013, I had a near-disaster accident as I drove to the office in the morning. It snowed the day before and the road was a bit slippery. As I exited, on the long Quivira exit ramp, my car slipped out of control at a high speed. I tried to steer the wheel to the opposite direction and slow down the speed at the same time. The car turned right and left wildly like an unmanageable wild horse. For some reason, after some desperate struggling, I finally got it under control, probably because the speed went down when the car went a bit upward or it slipped to a location which was not slippery.

It was totally scary and I was shaken from fear. It took me some time to calm down. In hindsight, I could ruin the car totally or even got myself seriously injured if the car had not stopped. Luckily, there was no car behind me as it was really early.

A lesson, which I hope I will never forget — avoiding taking highway or any high speed way, if the weather is bad or after a snow day. Most important thing: drive slowly.

1, Mar 25, 2013

My daughter and snow shoveling

Filed under: Daughter — admin @ 12:48 am

Yesterday I got up and was surprised to see the thick white blanket of snow outside the house. I made egg rolls for my daughter’s breakfast. During breakfast, we watch Meet the Press together, our Sunday routine.

After breakfast, I thought I would go out and shovel the snow. But my daughter insisted on doing it. So she did it around noon. This saved me from back-breaking snow shoveling work. A big help when there are just two of us right now.

I remember last time when we had heavy snow. My daughter offered to shovel snow for a neighbor of ours to accumulate her volunteer hours.

1, Mar 24, 2013

Your Happiness is in your hand: Reading Positive Psychology

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:08 am

Abraham Lincoln said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I like this quote. When I read about positive psychology, it seems positive psychologists are confirming that assessment. Although some of our temperament might be genetic, a large percentage is under our control. In short, our happiness is up to us.

Positive psychology helps us use our strengths and heighten our awareness to develop happiness and fulfillment. It promises to help us identify our unique strong points.

The role of gratitude is also very important in making us feel happy. Another key word is “mindfulness,” the ability to live fully in the moment without judgment.

Negative thoughts are the obstacles to happiness that we should try to sidestep. Accumulate and practice your happiness-building strategies for staying “in the flow.” and savor the treasures in life, both big and small at all moments.

1, Mar 23, 2013

The cost of higher education is skyrocketing while a college degree is losting value

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:45 am

I was considering funding my daughter’s college when I bumped into these facts. Some of the colleges that my daughter was planning on going are in the list.

Top 10 most expensive colleges:
1. Sarah Lawrence College, Total Cost: $61,236
2. New York University, Total Cost: $59,837
3. Harvey Mudd College, Total Cost: $58,913
4. Columbia University, Total Cost: $58,742
5. Wesleyan University, Total Cost: $58,202
6. Claremont McKenna College, Total Cost: $58,065
7. Dartmouth College, Total Cost: $57,996
8. Drexel University, Total Cost: $57,975
9. University of Chicago, Total Cost: $57,711
10. Bard College, Total Cost: $57,580

Business Insider shows “The 20 Most Expensive Colleges In America,” by Julie Zeveloff. The expenses include tuition, fees, room and board in 2011-2012
#20 Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. $54,988
#19 Haverford College in Haverford, Pa. $55,050
#18 Boston College in Boston, Mass. $55,079
#17 Washington University in St. Louis, MO. $55,111
#16 Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. $55,135
#15 Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. $55,276
#14 Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. $55,300
#13 Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. $55,365
#12 University of Chicago in Chicago, Ill. $55,416
#11 Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. $55,450
#10 Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. $55,556
#9 Barnard College in New York, NY. $55,556
#8 Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. $55,592
#7 Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. $55,742
#6 Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. $55,865
#5 Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. $56,006
#4 Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif. $56,268
#3 Columbia University School of General Studies in New York, NY. $56,310
#2 New York University in New York, NY. $56,787
#1 Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. $59,170

1, Mar 22, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Filed under: Son — admin @ 12:12 am

Happy birthday 24

This is the sixth birthday that he had since he left home for college. I told my son to do something special with his friends today.

Happy 24th birthday!

1, Mar 21, 2013

The guts, the heart and the passion to ship

Filed under: Success — admin @ 12:10 am

From Seth Godin Poke the Box1

Here are the words from Seth Godin, in case the image won’t come up.
The Seventh imperative
->The first imperative is to be aware–aware of the market, of opportunities, of who you are.
->The second imperative is to be educated, so you can understand what’s around you.
->The third imperative is to be connected, so you can be trusted as you engage.
->The fourth imperative is to be consistent, so the system knows what to expect.
->The fifth imperative is to build an asset, so you have something to sell
->The sixth imperative is to be productive, so you can be well-priced.

According to Seth Godin, you can do all of these things and still fail, because you need the seventh imperative, which is “to have the guts and the heart and the passion to ship.” Read his book Poke the Box.

1, Mar 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 Spring equinox day

Filed under: Learning — admin @ 7:49 am

equinox day March 20

This is from a friend of mine who nicely reminds me of the equinox.

According to wikipedia, “An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

At an equinox the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point (RA = 00h 00m 00s and longitude = 0º) and the autumnal point (RA = 12h 00m 00s and longitude = 180º). By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.”

1, Mar 19, 2013

“Ph.D.s in general have a less than 50 percent chance of having a full-time job”

Filed under: Education — admin @ 12:33 am

I used to think one can never go wrong by getting more educated, like going to graduate school, then to Ph.D. Not long ago I heard this from NPR, my favorite radio station.

What I learn is a bit discouraging. “…job numbers released by the National Science Foundation show that people with doctoral degrees in those technical fields are struggling to find work in their industries.”

“Jordan Weissmann, an editor at The Atlantic, analyzed the latest NSF figures. Upon graduation, he says, ‘Ph.D.s in general have a less than 50 percent chance of having a full-time job, and that percentage has been decreasing for about 20 years.'”

“Worse yet, as of 2011, approximately one-third of people graduating with a doctoral degree in science, technology, math or engineering had no job or post-doctoral offer of any kind.”

In fact, it is more than discouraging. I don’t know what to make of it, but it is certainly scary, as if the U.S. with its poor economy is no longer able to provide enough jobs for those with a doctoral degree. I guess we won’t be able to see many foreign students in our doctoral programs here.

1, Mar 18, 2013

“Go to class: To make money or save money – or both”

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:17 am

I heard this piece of news on NPR morning edition on 3/11. It talks about vocational classes, which people used to call derogatorily “an academic dumping ground for students who weren’t succeeding in a regular classroom.”

But now these classes offer pathway to college and a way to gain skills to pay tuition. The students are not tracked into these classes because they are not “college material.”

One teacher said this to the class, “I try to tell students when they come into this class you should be in here for one of two reasons: To make money or save money – or both.”

When I told my daughter what the teacher said, she said “Wow, it’s all about money.” In this bad economic time, people have to be this practical. If you think of how to save money, you can avoid borrowing heavily for your education. Of course, it is a wonderful thing if you can make money at the end of your education?

1, Mar 17, 2013

A Caring Leader and person

Filed under: Leadership — admin @ 12:07 am

On 3/11, I read this article “ACHE Chairman Diana Smalley: 3 Ways to Become a Caring Leader” by Molly Gamble. Indeed, a leader can be a caring and effective one at the same time. Here are the three ways listed in the article.

1. Be the role model you always wanted or the best role model you ever had.

2. Recognize and build upon your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of those around you.

3. Protect healthcare for communities you serve by communicating your perspectives, and be willing to collaborate with competitors when it benefits the community.

A leader is a good role model, leading by example instead of preaching. Of course, people like to be around this type of person.

A leader is able to mobilize all positive forces around her. And a leader can see the large picture and choose win-win option so that all parties will benefit.

We can all be leaders if we can assume these characteristics.

1, Mar 16, 2013

What is China’s National People’s Congress?

Filed under: China — admin @ 12:04 am

Most Americans have some vague idea about China’s political system. Honestly, I don’t think many Chinese have a clear idea on this either.

Last weekend, I talked to my mother about the twin meetings in China. I asked her if China’s National People’s Congress (NPC or quan-guo-ren-da) functions like U.S. Congress or European parliament, like establishing laws. My mother said yes.

Then, I asked her the relationship between Chinese Communist Party and National People’s Congress. She said party was still above NPC. “Does it mean party is also above the law, if it is above law-making body?” I asked her. Of course, she did not have the answer. Here’s a quote from China’s latest constitution on the function of NPC, in theory at least.

According to the 1982 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, “All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The organs through which the people exercise state power are the National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at different levels.” chpt1, article2.

1, Mar 15, 2013

Well-educated generation but not optimistic

Filed under: College — admin @ 12:19 am

Yesterday, I posted one on top-notched universities suing their graduates, which show a depressing job market for well-educated young people.

The situation is not going to improve in the near future. With the recent prolonged economic downturn, more and more seniors, who have seen their savings cut by half, hold on to their jobs as long as their health permits.

The longer they stay on their position, the less opportunities for the younger generation to move up. Unfortunately, in this fight between senior and the young, the latter might suffer most, even though they might be the most educated generation that the country has ever produced.

1, Mar 14, 2013

Yale, Penn and George Washington University have all sued former students over nonpayment

Filed under: College,Economy — admin @ 12:15 am

On 2/4/2013, I read an article, “Yale Suing Former Students Shows Crisis in Loans to Poor,” by Janet Lorin.

Many college graduates, unable to find a job upon graduation, “are defaulting on almost $1 billion in federal student loans earmarked for the poor, leaving schools such as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania with little choice except to sue their graduates.”

The worst part is the record high defaults on federal Perkins loans “may jeopardize the prospects of current students since they are part of a revolving fund that colleges give to students who show extraordinary financial hardship.”

Perkins loans are earmarked for students with extraordinary financial hardship. They are administered by colleges, which use repayment money to lend to other poor students. Yale, Penn and George Washington University have all sued former students over nonpayment.

I have learned that not just the government but also the universities that will go after those who can’t pay. But given the current job market, what can they get from suing their graduates who are unable to pay back their student loans?

1, Mar 13, 2013

Six ways to ease neck pain

Filed under: Health — admin @ 12:00 am

So I was told when I read Harvard Medical School newsletter of the following six tips to help take care of your neck.

1. Don’t stay in one position for too long. It’s hard to reverse bad posture, Dr. Isaac says, but if you get up and move around often enough, you’ll avoid getting your neck stuck in an unhealthy position.

2. Make some ergonomic adjustments. Position your computer monitor at eye level so you can see it easily. Use the hands-free function on your phone or wear a headset. Prop your touch-screen tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.

3. If you wear glasses, keep your prescription up to date. “When your eyewear prescription is not up to date, you tend to lean your head back to see better,” Dr. Isaac says.

4. Don’t use too many pillows. Sleeping with several pillows under your head can stifle your neck’s range of motion.

5. Know your limits. Before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.

6. Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep problems increase the risk for several different conditions, including musculoskeletal pain.

Generally, neck pain is nothing to worry about. But if it’s occurring with other, more serious symptoms, such as radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg, make sure to see your doctor. “Other key things that might make one more concerned are having a fever or weight loss associated with your neck pain, or severe pain. You should let your doctor know about these symptoms,” Dr. Isaac says.

1, Mar 12, 2013

Eat for brain health

Filed under: Brain — admin @ 12:57 am

This is from CBS, an interview with an author on Food for Thought: Diet to help boost your brain

Bad fats increase Alzheimer’s risk, avoid them
–Saturated fats: dairy products, meat
–Tran fat: donuts, potato chips
–3x to 5x increased risk for those who eat the most
–Metals increase Alzheimer’s risk
1) iron: red meat, liver, cast iron pans
2) copper: from water through pipes
3) aluminum: cookware & utensils

Power food prevent Alzheimer’s These foods should be in your diet everyday:
1) vegetable, leafy vegetables, bananas
2) fruit, dark berries restore memory
3) bean
4) nuts, almonds may lower risk by 60%

Exercise improves brain health
1) Reverses brain shrinkage
2) 30 to 40 minute brisk walk
3) 3x per week

1, Mar 11, 2013

Mitt Romney’s real problem, not the loss of white house dream

Filed under: politician — admin @ 12:14 am

Mitt Romney came back to public eyes when he was interviewed by Fox, the first major one since his loss last November. He said, “It kills me” to have lost election to Obama.

The guy is not a good loser. It took him over four months to nurse back from the wound he suffered over his loss of white house dream.

The main problem with Romney is he only had white house dream, but does not have a life’s mission. White house is the vessel or an instrument to accomplish a mission. You got to have some more transcendental purpose or larger-than-life goal in life.

For a man with a life’s mission, if one instrument fails or one vessel sinks, try another one, as long as he doesn’t abandon his life’s mission. And I don’t believe age restricts a person.

See my favorite ex-president Jimmy Carter, and another ex-vice Al Gore. Especially Al Gore after he lost the election to the little Bush.

1, Mar 10, 2013

How cancer cells make a chaotic mess of their genetic code

Filed under: Cancer — admin @ 12:03 am

I read this interesting piece of information on 2/27/2013. A study in the journal Nature showed cells that used up their raw materials became “stressed” and made mistakes copying their genetic code. It is said that supplying the cancer with more fuel to grow may actually make it less dangerous. This is something new.

Most normal cells in the human body contain 46 chromosomes. However, some cancerous cells can have more than 100 chromosomes with inconsistent pattern. This diversity helps tumors adapt to become untreatable and colonise new parts of the body.

The key to conquer cancer is to crack how cancers become so diverse in the first place. Cancers are driven to make copies of themselves, however, if cancerous cells run out of the building blocks of their DNA they develop “DNA replication stress”.

The study showed the stress led to errors and tumour diversity. “It is like constructing a building without enough bricks or cement for the foundations. “However, if you can provide the building blocks of DNA you can reduce the replication stress to limit the diversity in tumours, which could be therapeutic.”

Even though it “just seems wrong” that providing the fuel for a cancer to grow could be therapeutic, one scientist believes, that “replication stress was the problem and that new tools could be developed to tackle it.”

For now, let us keep our hope for the day when cancer can be cured.

1, Mar 9, 2013

Poor sleep is said to alter the workings of the human body

Filed under: Sleep — admin @ 12:20 am

A group of British researchers say that bad sleep “dramatically” alters body, reported by James Gallagher.

“The activity of hundreds of genes was altered when people’s sleep was cut to less than six hours a day for a week,” which explain how poor sleep damaged health.

“Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and poor brain function have all been linked to substandard sleep,” even though they don’t know why missing sleeping hours can actually alter health.

Researchers at the University of Surrey found that more than 700 genes were altered as the result of missing sleep hours. Each contains the instructions for building a protein, so those that became more active produced more proteins – changing the chemistry of the body.

The conclusion is “Clearly sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur – hinting at what may lead to ill health. If we can’t actually replenish and replace new cells, then that’s going to lead to degenerative diseases.” “…sleep is fundamentally important to regenerating all cells.”

1, Mar 8, 2013

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Filed under: International — admin @ 12:12 am

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD).

I used to think of this international day originating from Europe and the U.S. was too provincial to join anything international.

Last week as I read more on this, I learned that the U.S. actually celebrated Women’s Day before the first IWD.

In 1909, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the U.S. on February 28, organized by the Socialist Party of America.

The next year, 1910 saw the establishment of International Women’s Day in Copenhagen to honor the movement for women’s rights and to build support for achieving universal suffrage for women.

The year 1911 witnessed the first huge IWD rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.

It has been over a century since its first celebration. Of course, the world has seen a huge progress for women all over the world. But, given the treatment of women last year and remember many untold stories about women’s treated unequally, the world still has a long way to go before people can claim some sort of victory in women’s liberation movement.

1, Mar 7, 2013

Chocolate, addiction, and women

Filed under: Healthy diet — admin @ 12:11 am

I read this piece last week on PubMed.gov, “Chocolate: food or drug?” by
Bruinsma K, Taren DL. The message is people can get addicted to chocolate just as they do with drug and alcohol abuse.

“Although addictive behavior is generally associated with drug and alcohol abuse or compulsive sexual activity, chocolate may evoke similar psychopharmacologic and behavioral reactions in susceptible persons.

“A review of the literature on chocolate cravings indicates that the hedonic appeal of chocolate (fat, sugar, texture, and aroma) is likely to be a predominant factor in such cravings. Other characteristics of chocolate, however, may be equally as important contributors to the phenomena of chocolate cravings.

“Chocolate may be used by some as a form of self-medication for dietary deficiencies (eg, magnesium) or to balance low levels of neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of mood, food intake, and compulsive behaviors (eg, serotonin and dopamine).

“Chocolate cravings are often episodic and fluctuate with hormonal changes just before and during the menses, which suggests a hormonal link and confirms the assumed gender-specific nature of chocolate cravings.

“Chocolate contains several biologically active constituents (methylxanthines, biogenic amines, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids), all of which potentially cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations that parallel those of other addictive substances.

“Most likely, a combination of chocolate’s sensory characteristics, nutrient composition, and psychoactive ingredients, compounded with monthly hormonal fluctuations and mood swings among women, will ultimately form the model of chocolate cravings.

“Dietetics professionals must be aware that chocolate cravings are real. The psychopharmacologic and chemosensory effects of chocolate must be considered when formulating recommendations for overall healthful eating and for treatment of nutritionally related health issues.”

Wow, it offers tons of information which I was not aware of before. Watch out for your chocolate intake.

1, Mar 6, 2013

The end of last month and the end of one doctor at our site

Filed under: Human nature,Life — admin @ 12:59 am

Last day of February saw the leaving of one of our doctors at our clinic. I learn that he was one of the founding physicians for our practice, like over 20 years of seniority here. His experience seems a familiar story.

He came from Seattle area, that is, he grew up there and his family is still there. He went to medical school in Kansas, stayed here for residency, then worked here till the end of last month.

Even though he has been in Kansas for over two or even three decades and has raised his own family here, when both of his children have gone to college, leaving him an empty nest, he still wants to move back to Seattle, being closer to his first home.

When I learn about his story, I think of many people who left home when they were young adults, venturing out for their more opportunities. As they became old, they returned to the place of their origin. Isn’t it something universal?

1, Mar 5, 2013

True happiness, pleasure, and Aristotle, Part III

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:46 am

Why are so many people unhappy now, even with modern conveniences? Aristotle believes it is because they confuse “pleasure” for “happiness.”

Aristotle’s “Pleasure” is more like what we call today “immediate gratification.” Pleasure is associated with the physical or bodily part. “Happiness” is the opposite of that, more spiritual part. It is more about individual growth with a long term goal to reach.

Life always has ups and downs, not an all the way smooth sailing. We gain insights while growing emotionally and intellectually as we savor through ups and downs in our lives.

Aristotle believed living and realizing your fullest potential as a human is the highest form of true happiness.

Isn’t that a wonderful thought and, of course, a very insightful one, too.

1, Mar 4, 2013

True happiness, pleasure, and Aristotle, Part II

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:23 am

Here’s another quote from Aristotle:
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts not breaths; in feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.”

Live in deeds, not in years! Nothing is more insightful than this on the essence of our living. We don’t just live through our years without accomplishing any deeds. This reminds me of many famous persons, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and facebook founder. Their names are always associated with the achievements of their life: Microsoft, Apple products, and facebook.

I also think of my son who gave up his job with a comfortable pay and lifestyle in order to concentrate on producing something that is more long-lasting than what he enjoys at the moment.

I will continue tomorrow along the same line of thought.

1, Mar 3, 2013

True happiness, pleasure, and Aristotle, Part I

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:20 am

Not long ago, I read this article from Psychology Today–“A Happiness Tip From Aristotle: Do you know the difference between pleasure vs. happiness?” by Karen Salmansohn, 2/7/2010. Here’s what she has to say.

Quickie Question: If you could live 10 years of your life in total bliss – with NO pain – but in the end, not remember any of it – would you do it? According to Aristotle – the answer should be NO.

Aristotle says true happiness comes from gaining insight and growing into your best possible self. Otherwise all you’re having is immediate gratification pleasure – which is fleeting and doesnt grow you as a person.

In a way the above scenario is a description of someone who does crack or drinks into oblivion. At the time it feels like you’re avoiding pain and seeking bliss – but in longterm you’re NOT really enjoying real life — with life’s inevitable ebbs and flows which give you needed insights and exciting experiences which grow you and let you know more about who you are and what you love and who you truly love!

That’s interesting enough for today. I will continue on the topic and Aristotle tomorrow.

1, Mar 2, 2013

Reading about the most miserable places in the world

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:51 am

Last weekend, I was whining about not being able to take my weekend walk in the morning because of snowy ground and I felt like being under house arrest, unable to go out taking in fresh air. Then by accident, I read an article “The 25 Most Miserable Places in the World,” by Lisa Mahapatra. Boy, that is really miserable!

Here’s the list of the 25 Most Miserable Places in the World
25. Mali, Misery index score: 36.5;
24. Mauritania, Misery index score: 37
23. Iran, Misery index score: 39.1
22. Maldives, Misery index score: 40.8
21. Gaza Strip, Misery index score: 43.5
20. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Misery index score: 45.5
19. Yemen, Misery index score: 46.4
18. Haiti, Misery index score: 46.5
17. Swaziland, Misery index score: 48.4
16. Afghanistan, Misery index score: 48.8
15. Marshall Islands, Misery index score: 48.9
14. Senegal, Misery index score: 49.5
13. Kenya, Misery index score: 50.1
12. Lesotho, Misery index score: 51.1
11. Sudan, Misery index score: 51.5
10. Syria, Misery index score: 51.7
9. Kosovo, Misery index score: 53.6
8. Nepal, Misery index score: 54.3
7. Namibia, Misery index score: 57
6. Djibouti, Misery index score: 63.3
5. Turkmenistan, Misery index score: 70.5
4. Belarus, Misery index score: 71
3. Burkina Faso, Misery index score: 81.5
2. Liberia, Misery index score: 90.5
1. Zimbabwe, Misery index score: 103.3

After reading through the stories of their miserable existence, I feel like on the top of the world. I guess we need to read about other people’s sad stories to count our blessings.

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