I recently watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and being the self-improvement philosopher that I am, I couldn’t help but reflect on the life lessons from the story.

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Here are 7 life lessons I took away from the film:

For example, Katy is really good at driving, which was essential for the Shaun’s team. Katy’s driving skill actually saved them multiple times. Another example is Trevor the jester. His useful skill was being able to communicate with Morris (the little faceless creature), but that turned out to be key to the team’s success.

In life, people often…


Why do you wake up in the morning? Do you have a strong sense of purpose that gets you up? Or are you going through life without a clear purpose? If you already have a strong sense of purpose, that’s fantastic! If not, you’re not alone.

The Cato 2019 Welfare, Work, and Wealth National Survey asked Americans if they believe their life has meaning and purpose, and it found that 46% strongly agreed, 37% somewhat agreed, and 16% disagreed. That means around half the population could use some help with having a more meaningful purpose in life!

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Having a strong…


Are you happy? If you’re not as happy as you’d like to be, you’re not alone.

A 2020 survey by NORC at the University of Chicago found that only 14% of Americans feel “very happy”, which is the lowest since the survey began in 1972.

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From the chart, we can see that the number of people who feel “not too happy” has been on the rise since 1990, with a big spike starting around 2018. Clearly, most of us could use some help with our happiness. …


Did you know that around 40% of our daily actions are actually habits? Despite habits being such a big part of our lives, many of us don’t actually spend much effort to optimize them. But we should.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says,

“The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits.”

Photo by Prophsee Journals on Unsplash

Can you think of a healthy habit you want to start? Or perhaps a bad habit you want to break? Have you tried changing your habits before but it’s just too hard? …


Giving, Loving Words, Beneficial Action, Activities in Common

The Four Methods of Guidance is basically how the Buddha taught people to nurture relationships and build new ones. Most of my friends know I’m a big advocate of The Five Languages by Gary Chapman, and I was shocked to discover that the Four Methods of Guidance is basically the same thing as the Five Love Languages, minus the fifth language of touch.

The Five Love Languages came out in 1992, but The Four Methods of Guidance has been been passed down for 2500 years! I’m always excited to find when ancient wisdom totally matches with modern wisdom.

The Four…


What’s the key to a happy and healthy life? In his Ted Talk, What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness, researcher Robert Waldinger reported,

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin says,

“Ancient philosophers and contemporary scientists agree that strong bonds with other people are a key — perhaps THE key — to happiness. To be happy, we need to feel connected; we need to get and give support; we need to feel like we belong.”

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Aside from…


“The Way of Confucius is but Devotion and Consideration.”

— Analects of Confucius

(Original Text: 夫子之道,忠恕而已矣)

Devotion means to do your utmost, to be strict with yourself.

Consideration means to be empathetic, tolerant, and forgiving towards others.

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We can apply this teaching to interpersonal relationships. We’ve probably all asked ourselves, “Why won’t the other person listen to me?”

Ego says,

  • Ugh what’s wrong with them?
  • If they don’t know what’s good for them, that’s their problem.
  • They better listen to me or else…

Devotion asks,

  • Have I done my utmost?
  • Have I set a good example? …

Do not let arrogance grow.

Do not let desires be too permissive.

Do not let aspirations be full.

Do not let pleasures be so excessive.

(Bk. i., sect. i., pt. i., c. ii. Original text: 傲不可长,欲不可纵,志不可满,乐不可极。)

Maybe I have an inner poet in me? Just kidding. This is actually a translation of an excerpt from The Book of Rites, one of the classics in Confucianism. Although I did try very hard to make the English translation rhyme!

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1: Do not let arrogance grow.

Lao Tzu, the founder of Daoism, said, “He who becomes arrogant with wealth and power . . . sows the seeds of his…


I’m a pretty introverted person who doesn’t have many close friends, but I hope that I can be a good friend to those that I’m close with. Growing up, I always thought that people who share similar interests and hobbies make good friends because it’s easy for you to talk and do stuff together. But now I realize there’s a big hole in that logic. The purpose of friendship isn’t to talk and do stuff together. That’s just avoiding boredom. The purpose of friendship should be to support each other along the journey of life.

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Recently, I learned about the…


I recently heard the saying,

“You can either be right or you can be in a relationship.”

Upon Googling, I didn’t find an attribution, but I did find another version that goes,

“You can either be right or you can be happy.”

Both are very thought provoking! For a relationship to be healthy, we have to care more about the relationship than ourselves. Stated in mathematical terms,

Healthy Relationship = Selflessness > Selfishness

Our desire to be right is a sign of a strong ego, and the ego only cares about itself. Satisfying the ego may result in short-term pleasure…

Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

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