My heart sank when I went there again,
When, a year ago, my daughter insisted,
“Mommy, get yourself a new clothes.”
“Me? No,” I told her,
“Old and ugly needs no new clothes.”
“Uh-uh,” she protested,
“You are most beautiful when you smile.”
A daughter’s bias took me back 20 years, when
My sisters asked my son, 5-year-old,
“Who’s the most beautiful of us three?”
“My mom,” he answered without looking.
“I mean it,” my daughter kept saying,
“I wish I had your smile. I do.”
Now, she reminds me from her Boston dorm.
“My sweetest daughter, I will, because
Forever, your word will warm up my heart.
PS. when I shared it with a friend of mine, he said, “Your daughter is right, smile is beauty… You know it for long, but when it comes from your daughter’s voice, it tastes better.”
On 9/14/2014, one day after my birthday, I thought I would spoil myself a little bit by spending an afternoon at Barnes & Noble’ bookstore. I often visited this place when my daughter was home. This was the first time that I went there since she left. A strange feeling.
Among others, I read this one “The Power of Reflection: Insight into our own thoughts, or metacognition, is key to high achievement in all domains,” by Stephen M. Fleming, on Scientific American Mind 25, Sept-Oct 2014. Here are the main ideas.
1. Metacognition is the ability to make judgments about our own thoughts—for example, assessing whether a memory is accurate or a decision is appropriate.
2. People vary in the accuracy of their metacognition. Certain psychological disorders, including dementia and schizophrenia, can impair this ability.
3. Several strategies appear to shore up metacognition, including meditation and taking breaks while studying to reflect on one’s own learning.
Reading Time magazine, 9/22/2014 issue, “10 Questions, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.”
Q: If you are stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?
A: Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I am that kind of person. I do want to make sure I am progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”
Q: Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?
A: When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.
Q: How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?
A: It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to …. But don’t let life happen– make it happen.
In other word, no matter what your goals are, do something to make it happen.
When you are disturbed by something or somebody, focus on yourself, instead of on someone or something that disturbs you in the first place.
When you find yourself helplessly locked in a seemingly hard-to-change undesirable lifestyle, the best tactic is pray. Pray is to focus, to trust, and to surrounder yourself. It forces you to look inward and connects you to your inner self.
I wrote it in my notebook a long long ago, so long that I even forgot when I ever copied it. I must love it at that time when I copied it. My handwriting was still neat and clear. Here’s the whole poem. Hope you like this one.
“Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.
The little poem will sing to you
the little picture bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance to you
at night when you’re in bed.
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.”
I am not busy at office, which is a good thing. Because I will have more time for myself to do what I enjoy.
I used to enjoy helping people at other sites, but I have changed my mind after I learned from the manager that one colleague of mine complained of the mistakes that I made while helping her, saying that I had created more work for her than not doing it at all. This is of course a very unfair judgment. I made no attempt to argue with her. Peace, this is all I want.
I finally figure out this simple division of labor under the sun: your job, other people’s job, and God’s job.
The world would be a wonderful place if you only focus on your job and let others and God take care of theirs.
This should be nothing but common sense to all men. The fact it is posted online in Chinese and passed around as a popular post emphasizes the severe and sad lack of it. I translate it to English for my son and will forward it to him someday.
A man says to his wife.
“I am thankful to you, because
— you agree to be part of my life. You might not be the perfect one in my life, but you are the only one.
— You agree to allow me to be part of your life. I might not be the perfect one in your life, but I will try my best.
— You love me. You might not be the first one I fell in love, but you are the last and the best one.
— You allow me to love you. I might not be the first one you fell in love, but I am confident that I am the last and the most loved one.
— your way of thinking, even if you think differently from I.
— your expression of love, even though it might not be the best one.
— your family, even though I value my family more than do yours.
— your privacy, even though I want to know more than you want to share.
— your friends, even though I don’t know them.
— your hobbies and interests, even if I don’t enjoy them.
Continue note sharing.
I know there are many ways of attacking a problem. Here’s something that I wrote years ago. I think they still help.
1) Don’t underestimate
2) Don’t exaggerate
3) Don’t wait
4) Don’t aggravate
5) Do illuminate and describe what it is
6) Do motivate
7) Do set date for keeping problem under control
8) Do communicate
9) Do insulate and isolate
10) Do Divide and conquer
“To every man his chance, to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity–to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him–this, seeker, is the promise of America.”
from The Promise of America, Thomas Wolfe
Continue my note sharing.
Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind. — William James
A man is what he thinks about all day long. — Emerson
The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.” –Diderot
There will never be another now–I’ll make the most of today.
There will never be another me–I’ll make the most of myself.
For winners, life consists not in getting more but in being more and knowing more.
Winners do not get their security by controlling others. They do not set themselves up to lose.
There is never a scarcity of opportunity; there is a scarcity of resolution and determination to realize your dream.
I have many responsibilities, but I don’t worry about them. I plan, I work hard, but I don’t get anxious about results.
Children who grow up without hearing no from their parents will be terribly brittle when they have to take no from life itself–and worse, they will have a hard time saying no to themselves.
The very best way to change someone is to begin with your own example. You behave in the way you expect others to behave.
“To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons” or cook dinners or clean their bathroom. — Marilyn French
Continue from sharing my notes.
Have a self you respect.
Turn disappointments into strength.
Enjoy life’s process, not just life’s rewards.
Marx’s favorite maxim — “Nothing human is alien to me.”
His favorite motto — “One must doubt of everything.”
Become involved in something bigger than yourself.
Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade…Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image…always picture success, no matter how badly things are.
If your mind tells you that you are tired, the body mechanism, the nerves, and the muscles accept the facts. If your mind is intensely interested, you can keep on at an activity indefinitely… By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind, it can increase energy.
Do what you love; Focus on what you do. But be detached from the results while you are doing it.
According to your faith in yourself, according to your faith in your job…this far will you get and no further.
The greatest factor in any undertaking is one’s belief about it.
Keep calm. Tension blocks the flow of thinking power. Your brain cannot operate efficiently under stress.
On 9/9/2014, I told my daughter that “I must do something that will make both of you proud of.” Yes, I am still trying to be a good mom to both of them.
More from my previous reading notes,
“Man ultimately decides for himself! And in the end, education must be education toward the ability to decide.” — Viktor Frankle
Achieving autonomy is the ultimate goal in transactional analysis. Being autonomous means being self-governing, determining one’s own destiny, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and feelings, and throwing off patterns that are irrelevant and inappropriate to living in the here and now.”
“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear of newer and richer experiences.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.” — Henry Adams
Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.” — T.W. Higginson
“The man who has daily inured himself to habits of concentration, attention, energetic volition and self-denial in unnecessary things, will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him, and when his softer fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff in the blast.” — William James
“Most men fail, not through lack of education, but from the lack of dogged determination, from lack of dauntless will.” — O.S. Marden
The secret of Victor Hugo is his stupendous energy and self-confidence, enabling him to hurl the whole of himself into whatever he has on hand.
No doubt his egoism was monstrous, but a man who thought less well of himself could not have risen,…to heights at which he seems to be expressing.
We build up the feeling of insecurity or security by how we think.
Practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what…
“They conquer who believe they can.” — Emerson
I felt excited when I read this paragraph during my youth years. Today, the paragraph still serves as a reminder. That is, I should not waste time, my precious life, on trivial in life.
“Man’s dearest possession is life, and it is given to him but once. He must live so as to feel no torturing regrets for years without purpose, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, when dying, he can say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world…” — Karl Marx
“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.” –O.W. Holmes
When you read, try to find out the part that can challenge you to think deep and get rid of the rest. This way you can unburden your brain and avoid distractions.
(1) Clean your room or house. The old stuffs can remind you of the past which is here no more. It can only aggravate your sadness. The best thing to do is to leave the place that is associated with the past and get into a place totally new and unrelated.
(2) Look at old pictures. In fact, stay away from anything that is associated with the past. Don’t do this unless you think you are not depressed enough.
(3) Keep everything to yourself. Instead, find some outlets, like sharing your feeling with your friends or someone who faces similar situation. A great camaraderie is very essential here.
(4) Lock yourself in your room. The isolation only serves to make you more focus on your sad sorry existence, which is suicidal. Don’t do that.
(5) Writing can be cathartic and therapeutic to some people, but essentially writing is a lonely act. It sometimes makes me feel worse. If you are like me, stay away from writing until you think you feel better.
I had nearly the whole weekend doing cleaning both inside and outside the house. Yard work is back-breaking, made especially miserable under the hot weather. Indoor cleaning is physically comfortable but emotionally painful. I am more dreadful of indoor cleaning because the sight of old stuffs brings back memories of the past when both of my children were small and with me. I’d rather either leave things as they are or throw them all out of door. But I can’t do either of them.
In one corner, I found a notebook that I wrote in 1994, exactly 20 years ago. Oh boy, time flies! To be sure, the notebook is filled with reading notes. Here are one of them.
“…I think on the whole that the sort of method adopted by Descartes is right: that you should set to work to doubt things and retain only what you cannot doubt because of its clearness and distinctness, not because you are sure not to be induced into error, for there does not exist a method which will safeguard you against the possibility of error.”
7 habits that help keep things to minimum
1. Don’t take. If it is free, it is perhaps not valuable.
2. Don’t buy. Impulsive buy seldom bring long-lasting joy
3. Don’t store.
4. Abandon. Old books, magazines, beautiful packaging, etc.
5. Replacement. If you only use it once a year, don’t buy it. Create a temporary one to avoid another addition to the house.
6. Borrow or rent. If you cannot make it by yourself, consider borrow or renting.
7. It’s ok not to have it all. Before any purchase, ask yourself if the new purchase makes real difference in your life.
Here are more details from yesterday’s posting.
26 ways to a life unburdened by materials. Note I only copy 24 of them.
On material and money,
1. Simple and creative. Don’t allow materials block your vision.
2. Beauty of nothing. Say goodbye to useless materials and to your past.
3. Going minimum. Get rid of the habit of storing stuffs
4. Pay forward. Give your stuffs to those in Get rid of the habit of not wanting to give.
5. A little makes a big loss. Small purchases build up a mountain of hard-to-removed stuffs
6. Avoid impulsive buy. Listen to your clean soul. Do you really like and need it?
7. You are what you buy. It’s not the matter of thrift but of choice.
8. Choose natural beauty instead of using accessories.
9. Choose minimum life cost instead of constantly seeking for higher living standard.
10. Find your best fit instead of chasing fashions.
11. Make your time creative and learn to find point of creativity in your work. Leave the job you are not good at.
12. Focus on the task on hand instead of trying for multi-tasking
13. Look at yourself. Don’t over- and under-estimate yourself.
14. Sing for one if that’s the right one, instead of following the crowd.
15. No change, no future. Don’t use other people’s rule to restrict you. It is you who eventually restrict you.
16. Trust your instinct, instead of relying on the old map.
17. Now is the time. Now is the chance. No procrastination.
18. Be a specialist instead of a jack-of-all trades and good at none.
19. Rise and shine. No midnight candle burning. The key of a day is in the morning
20. Be hungry and rest. Avoid poor quality slumber.
21. A hungry dog hunts best. Don’t overeat.
22. Be yourself. Don’t be a slave of other’s opinions.
23. You are what you say. Get rid of profanities.
24. Studying is a tool. Do not study for the sake of study.
A little makes a big loss
You are what you buy
Make your time creative
Focus on the main task
Look at yourself. Don’t overestimate yourself
Sing for one instead of following the majority
Follow your own pace
You are the only restriction on yourself
Trust your instinct
Now is the time. Don’t procrastinate.
Be a specialist, not an all-arounded
Rise and shine. Avoid staying late
Be hungry and sleep well
A hungry dog hunts best
You are what you say. No dirty language
Studying is just a tool, not an end
Ok to do without
— More details tomorrow