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

1, Sep 6, 2014

How to live with less material, part 3

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:26 am

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.

1, Sep 5, 2014

How to live with less material, part 2

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:24 am

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.

On work
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.

On health,
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.

1, Sep 4, 2014

How to live with less material

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 2:20 pm


Going minimum
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
Be yourself
You are what you say. No dirty language
Studying is just a tool, not an end
Don’t take.
Don’t buy.
Don’t store
Give up
Ok to do without

— More details tomorrow

1, Dec 21, 2011

Gift Idea — Tangibles and Intangibles

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:51 am

Too often we equate gifts with materials;
Too often we ignore the spirit of Christmas;
Too often we forget the meaning of giving;
Too often we are trapped in this sense of entitlement;
Too often we measure the depth of love or friendship by the amount we receive;
Too often we fix our eyes on what we want even though we don’t need;
Too often we choose to ignore those really in need;
Too often we forsake an opportunity to serve and to reach out;
Too often we overlook the long lasting value of the intangibles;
To the world of shallow, materialistic life, I say,
Enough for this madness of Christmas shopping
All in the name of celebrating the birth of Jesus!

1, Dec 24, 2010

“You’ve got enough crap, I’ll see you next year!”

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:36 am

On 12/21/2010, while I was working at our west site all by myself, I felt being cut off from the rest of the world. At that moment, in came a nice break when I opened an email from a colleague of mine at our central business office. I immediately sent back one to her, sounding out my loud agreement. Here’s what she sent me.

Twas the night before Christmas, I’m decorating the tree.
I’m wondering what Santa will bring just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or a quilt kit, I thought, with a smile on my face.
And that’s when I heard him, “Hi Santa” I said.
“You know, good old broads should be in their beds”.
“I know I should, Santa, and now I’ve been caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought.”
“Well, let’s take a look in this room where you work.”
He shook his head quickly, and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear,
“You’ve got enough crap, I’ll see you next year!”
—Unknown author

1, Dec 11, 2010

The Material Obsession of some American Women

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:11 am

On 10/24/2010, I posted an entry, “Women, Shopping, Holiday Mart at Convention Center.” The only thing that was free at the holiday mart is a magazine Herlife, Keeping Women Connected.

A lady greeted us at the door, eagerly distributing this magazine to us. It was a thick one, full of colorful pictures. I took it over, curious to learn what is it about Her Life. The content includes health, beauty, food cravings, shoes, fine things, trendsetter, pets, shopping, love and relationship, travel, and working women.

The magazine is crammed with commercials for hair salon, skin massage, nail, baby clothes, Experience the Square — shopping …Uptown boutique, Home Decor and design, Medical Spa, AesthetiCare (skin, hair), Fashion Attires, Hercity Guide, Vintage Market — clothes and jewels, Arista hair solution.

Is this what her life is preoccupied with? If that is the content of her life, no wonder there are so few female high achievers! They never talk about how women do business and making money. Where do women get money to go shopping spree? This type of magazine creates tons of trivial desires for unlimited possession and the pursuit of outward attraction, even if one is hollow inside.

I feel more than sad after flipping through it. I certainly wish Her Life is richer spiritually and intellectually than this.

1, Nov 26, 2010

Black Friday Shopping: Do We Have To?

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:01 am

Last week, after the monitor finished her work with me, she started chatting about Black Friday shopping. She was at loss as what to buy for her son. “His room is like a daycare,” she commented. That means he has all sorts of toys in his room. That is a huge amount for a two-year-old! “He has everything. What else can I buy for him?” puzzled this monitor. I was tempted to tell her this, “Buy nothing. If you do incline toward getting him something, get him the value of not-wanting-too-much. Indeed, get him Christmas value!” Well, I know better than sharing it with her.

This reminds me of another colleague’s dilemma over buying Christmas gifts for her relatives every year. I am amazed at people’s inability to think out of the box and to question the sanity of the so-called norms. Common sense tells us that we should not buy anything that we don’t need, holiday being no exception. We know Christmas is the season of giving to the underprivileged, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, instead of indulging people’s insatiable desirable for material possession.

On the positive side, this shopping season is good for our consumer-driven economy.

1, Apr 1, 2009

Too Much Freebies Are Not Always Good

Filed under: Materialist culture — admin @ 12:11 am

Last Friday, I took my daughter to a buffet, only on her birthday. Normally I am against eating buffet because of the potential to overeat and its possible undesirable consequence. This prompted me to think again of this concept of free.

First, you tend to eat more at buffet because it is perceived as “free” for the given amount of money. I never have good feelings after too much indulgence in food– feeling of guilt, of being wasteful, shame of lacking of self-control. I seem to be punished in more than one ways — physical discomfort with overblown tummy and mentally with self-inflicted guilty feeling.

Second, in fact by your second serving, you don’t enjoy it as much as your first serving. Let me put it this way — a chocolate candy tastes sweetest when you have only one per day or per week, but the taste decreases as you have more. Imagine how you feel by the time you can have unlimited chocolate candies. When you don’t appreciate your food and you still cannot stop eating, you are in reality doing nothing but wasting food. Same can be said of anything that is “free,” like free coffee, creme and sugar in your office.

Third, we no longer value anything that we think it free. Many children quickly lose interest in toys bought by their parents because they have too plenty of them and also things from their parents are like freebies, costing them zero cent. When both of my children were young, I used to give them the money and let them decide if they wanted to keep the money or buy the toys or hold the party. They often ended up keeping the money. When without any choice, they would stand firm on having whatever toys they had in mind.

It reminds of the old medical system in China. I don’t have the detail but I do remember the huge waste back then mainly because everything seemed to be free, taken care of by the work place that you belonged to.

Too much Freebies are not always good, from “free” toys coming from Santa or parents to free bonus for AIG’s big bellies — huge waste of all kind of resource. In fact, I cannot think of anything good about anything free. Can you?

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