I was looking at the calendar recently and thinking, shouldn’t it be the anniversary of the Weekly Wisdom Blog soon? Then I realized the anniversary was last week! Oops. But wise people always look for the good in everything, so I guess the good in this is that I must be enjoying the process so much that I forgot time.
Anyway, in honor of this five year anniversary, I’ll highlight my favorite five posts in the previous year:
- My 21 Day No Complaint Challenge
- The Under-Appreciated Heroes
- How to Not Get Upset at Misunderstandings and Criticisms
- Notice People’s Good Intentions
- Wise Principles For Great Decisions
Special Mention: Soul (Movie) Learnings
What’s uncool to do, a burden to hear, and common everywhere?
I’ve done many personality tests, and they all say that my personality tends to complain a lot. My biggest reason for writing these weekly wisdom articles is to improve myself, and this article hit one of my core problems. Through this experience, I learned that my most common triggers are being interrupted, being misunderstood, and facing others’ unreasonable behavior. Through those 21 days of vigilance, I saw noticeable improvement in myself. If you tend to complain a lot, this is a great challenge to try.
Afterwards, I slowly lost my vigilance, and my habit of complaining slowly came back, though not as much as before. Around three months ago, I decided to try a new challenge called the 90-Day Always Think Of Others challenge. Whereas the no-complaint challenge directly focuses on not complaining, this challenge focuses on thinking of helping others, in which case I definitely wouldn’t complain about them. It’s quite an interesting experience, and I will write about it after I’m done.
The Weekly Wisdom Blog focuses on self-improvement and cultivating virtues. According to Confucius, of all the virtues, the first and foremost one is filial piety, which means being loving and respectful towards parents. After all, we owe the most gratitude to our parents; if we can’t even treat them with love and respect, then how can we truly love or respect others?
I find that I am usually able to treat my parents well, but when conflict arises, I still get moody and blame them for their faults. It’s no wonder I criticize people other than my parents in my head, which is a form of disrespect to them. If I truly want to improve myself, I have to start from here, and this article tackled this problem of mine.
I remember my mentor telling me that we can start practicing filial piety by thinking of all the hardships that our parents willingly went through for us. Then we will naturally feel bad for not treating them better. And when we feel their love for us, we naturally want to return it.
The theory is not that complex, the problem is we often forget. Thus, constant reminders are extremely important.
As mentioned above, one of my triggers for getting angry is being misunderstood or unfairly criticized, and this happens most frequently with my mother. Thus, this article is extremely important for me to review.
In short, I should remember that being misunderstood is extremely normal for everyone in life, so I shouldn’t get so worked up over it.
Next, if others misunderstood me, I must have done something to cause them to misunderstand me, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to jump to that false conclusion, so I should still reflect on my own faults first rather than blaming others.
I should also remember that treating others nicely when they treat us nicely is nothing special. Treating others with respect and humility even when they jump to conclusions is true virtue. Finally, if I truly care about them and want the best for them, I wouldn’t get angry at them. I would say “yes you are right” in that moment to help them calm down.
When they are in a better mood, I could discuss the situation calmly with them and try to clear up the misunderstanding.
Everyone works hard to have a happy life. Unfortunately, too many people think that happiness will come once they get all the things they want, whether it be a house, a car, a nice body, a person, or whatever. In other words, they seek for happiness from the outside. The problem is, outside factors are out of our control, which leads to our stress and suffering. Fortunately, I started learning ancient philosophy, and all ancient philosophies teach us to seek for happiness from the inside, by changing our attitude.
I’ve noticed that people, including myself, tend to notice when others have negative intentions, but we rarely take the time to notice and appreciate other people’s good intentions. It’s no wonder that one of the most common workplace complaints is “You can do 100 things right and no one notices. But you do one thing wrong and they’re all over you.” In other words, we have a habit of neglecting the good and focusing on the bad.
Thus, I decided to focus on noticing people’s good intentions, starting with my family, because family members obviously want the best for us. When I started to focus on their loving intentions, what used to be normal, everyday gestures turned into great moments of joy. For example, when I noticed that my mother really wanted to cook something tasty and healthy for me, I appreciated her cooking so much more. When I noticed people are all doing their best to do what they think is right, I became a lot more understanding towards them.
Changing our attitude is free and doable by anyone. We just have to have the awareness to do it and the perseverance to practice it. After we get good at it, we can always access inner happiness and peace regardless of our outside circumstances.
Billionaire investor Ray Dalio said,
“The quality of your life ultimately depends on the quality of your decisions.”
The article summarized six decision making principles:
- Focus on the side effects not just the intended effect, on the long-term not just the short-term, on the bigger group not just one person
- It’s never just option A or option B. You can find options C, D, E.
- Don’t think there’s just one factor to the problem. Consider all the actors and their relationships.
- There is rarely ever a perfect decision
- When making decisions with others, factor in their feelings
- Make decisions from a calm and pure mind
I won’t bother explaining them again here, so you can review the original article if you are interested.
Runner-Up: Soul (Movie) Learnings
It’s quite hard to find a movie that teaches virtues and not vices nowadays, but this year I had the pleasure of discovering Soul. This movie is suitable for all audiences and teaches us to cherish every day.
Whether you are a long-time reader or a new visitor, I appreciate you, and I commend you on seeking wisdom to improve your life and the lives of others. We are not alone in our mission to improve the world, and I will continue doing my small part. Cheers to another wonderful and wise year to come!