Monthly Archives: October 2013

Focus on what you can control


I have been reading Stefan Danis‘ articles on Metro once in a while, the Lessons From the Desert. The other day, the article Focus on What You Can Control caught my eyes. I was talking with my buddy the other day about exactly the same topic.

I remember there was one Sunday morning. My kids kept coming to me asking for breakfast, while after a long busy week I was so reluctant to get out of bed. After rounds of coming back and forth, they finally became quiet. Now it was my turn to wonder what was going on. I came down and found out that they were enjoying their breakfast, cereal, bread and milk. Oh, pretty healthy. Good work, kids!

This is a simple example of controlling. Since they couldn’t control my action, they turned around to get things done in their own way.

Think about the situations when we lose control:

Got fired for no reason. We can’t control the employer’s decisions. What can we control? Rather than swear, feel depressed and worried, we’d better come up with a plan to fight or to move on, update our resume and start job search, or maybe take the chance to have a vacation; this might be a little too heartless.

Break up from a relationship. We can’t control the other person’s action, neither can we reverse the situation, but we can control our emotion. We allow ourselves to experience the heartbreak, the sadness, the confusion, the desert and all the complicated feelings. We allow us to recuperate from the hurt and betrayal. However, it can’t be forever. Life goes on and we need to move on. We can control how long we allow ourselves to recuperate.

Not being appreciated. We can’t control other people’s judgment on us, nor can we teach them to appreciate our efforts and contributions, but we can control how to react. Be it to improve ourselves or to walk away from the situation, we will choose the way that works better for ourselves.

Feeling ill. I felt overwhelmed by the tight working schedule when I first started my current job. The stress seemed impact all aspects of my life. I was dizzy, lack of energy and my blood pressure was on the verge. Since I didn’t have the control to stop the work from coming in, I decided to set up my work flow. The earth keeps running without us. I set up the priority, talked to my supervisor about my work flow, took the time to exercise… When I started to take control of what I can control, the other things started to come together.

We can’t control anything, anybody or any situation other than WE. So start from controlling the smaller and simpler things that we can achieve. Always remember to focus on the things that we can control.

When we start to take control of what we can control, the other things start to come together.

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Inspirations today

Love is an act of endless forgiveness.

by Jean Vanier


Faithfulness requires the courage to risk everything on Jesus. The willingness to keep growing, and the readiness to risk failure throughout our lives.

by Brennan Manning


Every time we make the decision to love someone, we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain.

by Henri J.M. Nouwen

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Take a look at relationship

It’s so sad that my best girl friend’s boyfriend left her for his ex. Cin and this boyfriend have been together for seven years. Actually they just celebrated their 7th anniversary. Does the spell of 7-year itch really work, globally?

When I first heard of the news, shock was far from what I felt. It was a combination of shock, sorry, confused and mysterious. He struggled for years and years with paying the alimony from his divorce twenty years ago. He kept paying the money to his ex even after both of the children were adults, even when he was paid off with not enough income to support himself.  Cin stood behind him to fight for the undue payment. Cin has a cozy house with beautiful interior decorations. It is like a palace. She provided him a roof over his head. She made his favourite dishes to fill his big appetite. She helped him to learn how to manage his finance. She created romantic episodes for their special memories. She loved him heart and soul. She thought this would be their life together.

He was also a romantic and emotional person. He is a simple-minded person. He doesn’t talk much but very warm. He is a handy person and helped Cin renovate her living room. He spread rose petals all over the house on Valentine’s day before Cin got home. He bought her flowers and gifts on her birthdays. He left notes of surprise breakfast in the fridge before he left for work early in the mornings.

All I can think of is their sweet and loving moments. Such ending is never in my mind. Cin is not crying any more, but every time I talk with her, I can still feel the pain and hurt. I don’t know what to say to her but to listen.

What’s wrong with our relationships? A seven-year stable, loving and matching relationship ended without any sign. Love is a commitment. It doesn’t matter whether it will lead to marriage. Commitment is an obligation, a promise.  It means you shouldn’t walk away whenever you want or you like. There can be tons of turbulent on the way of love. What the committed parties should do is to work together to live through those turbulent if they ever said “I love you” to each other. Love is not only romance, roses, gifts, ecstasy or fantasy. Love is being there for each other no matter what the circumstances. Love requires the parties to build.

A party may say “We are not matching any more.” No. It can’t be the fact. The fact is either one of you or both of you refuse to grow with the relationship. You give up the commitment you once made to each other. It’s a reverse in growth. Working on a love relationship is like working on any project which entails hard work, perseverance and positive thinking. Before you say “I love you.” to that person you think special now, believe in yourself that he/she is gonna be the special one for you forever.

I’ll go to visit Cin tomorrow. I still don’t know what to say to her, but I just want to be there for her.

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A new page in my life

Last night, I noticed that there was something wrong in my right chest. It is like something doesn’t go away while I am swallowing or breathing. I don’t know what it is. I know I shouldn’t assume anything before seeing the doctor, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Lying in the dark, I thought a lot. I thought about my impatience with the kids sometimes; I thought about blaming family when they didn’t meet my expectations; I thought about my rage with my love when he doesn’t return my love the way I want him to; I thought about the frustrations that I feel when things are beyond my capability…Can I be more patient? Sure. They are kids and it takes time for them to grow into adults. Can I be more contented? Of course. Families are to be supportive to one another and appreciative for every one’s contributions. Can I be more understanding? That’s the way to do it. Unconditional love means not judging, not controlling, not expecting. He can love in every way he likes because you know he saves that spot in his life for you, which is everything. Can I be more relaxed? I must because I am not perfect so don’t stress about the things that I can’t control.

Yes. That’s what I will do from now on.

Let the kids be kids, because they are only young, innocent and cute for these early years. I don’t want to say “I should have…” when they are old enough and no longer want to be around me. I will give them a carefree and unforgettable childhood.

Have more family times, because it is family that are always there when I need them, so I should be there when they need me. I will create with them a tight and loving family.

Give my love more space to grow, because the more he feels being loved, understood, accepted and supported, the more he will do so in return. He knows give as good as he gets. I will be a more consistent and appreciative supporter.

Be kind to myself, because I am special; I am unique; I am me. Allow things to happen whatever they are. Control my emotions and find peace inside.

My friends, why we tend to adopt the good way-out only when something wrong might happen. I don’t want to be like that. Yes, comparing with being alive, the frustrations, setbacks or disputes really doesn’t matter.

Be appreciative. Be supportive. Be understanding. Live the moment.

I will go to the doctor’s for a checkup and turn on a new page in my life.

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Happy Hump Day!

Hump Day

The first time my co-work told me about “hump day”, I kind of got the meaning. Luckily I’ve seen camels before so I knew what hump is like. She told me it is an idiomatic expression in Canada, so I looked it up.

“Wednesday, or the hump of the week.
The absolute BEST day of the week, the day of maximum hope that maybe, you might make it out of this week alive. A particularly good hump day can last you the rest of the week, and by Doomday morning (Monday) you survive by anticipating hump day. Nothing goes wrong on hump day.”

Well, this morning, when I got to the subway station around 9:30. There were two packed trains on both sides of the platform and a packed platform in front of me. The humidity and the heat almost suffocated me. With the trains leaving one after the other, the people on the platform filled up the other empty train. Finally we got some cool air to breathe. Waiting for another 10 minutes, I could say for sure that I was on my way to work. Because of this waiting and delaying, I was about twenty minutes late for work. “Happy Hump Day!” I only realized that until the girls made fun of me when I entered the office sweaty and panting. Oh, no wonder the beginning was not a good one, because it’s hump day. Now I can relax the rest of the day as it approaching the end of the hump.

I like the above explanation. It’s the best day of the week, because you have something to look forward to – the coming weekend; it’s the best day of the week, because if you can make your hump day a good one, what follows are only better days; it’s the best day of the week, because you can blame anything on it and find the rage an exit. Most of all, it’s the best day of the week, because you’ve collected enough energy through uphill and what left is to enjoy the surfing.

It’s like the half-full-and-half-empty-bottle theory, people have different views about “hump day”. Whether it’s associated with positive things or negative thing, it’s up to you to decide. But for me – “Happy Hump Day!”


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by | October 16, 2013 · 5:26 pm

To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
– George MacDonald

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by | October 13, 2013 · 5:48 pm

A Lesson Thought Through

I do feel the positive and negative sides of being a perfectionist. From the positive side, being a perfectionist, I have the perseverance and practice it to get the best possible results that I want, at work and at home. I still remember my supervisor’s comments about me when I first started working. He said that I was strict on my work, on paper, over the phone or in person, all of which were without doubt exceeding the expectations. I take his comments as compliments and stick to it all these years. I keep perfecting my professional skills, detail-oriented, eager to learn and take on more responsibilities. I keep perfecting my parental skills, at the moment with my kids, active listening and continuous learning.

On the other hand, I do get punishment from the negative side of being a perfectionist. I believe that it means so much to be there with my loved one on every critical moment, buying a new car, looking for a new house, getting a promotion, reaching a life goal, changing in mindset and many more. How sweet it will be when looking back, we have a lot of shared memory. If I can’t be there, I feel depressed, weak and cut-out. I then start to punish myself with the things that I can’t control, that I can’t do.

In a perfect world, anything can happen. However, life itself is not perfect. I shouldn’t be that stubborn for chasing perfection. If I can’t be at the moment for some reason, I should cherish and enjoy the moments when we are together, rather than to create tension between us while discussing those impossible moments.

Life is not perfect. It never has been and it never will be. It means we can stop chasing perfect skin, the perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect kids, or the perfect spouse. We just need to learn to find freedom from our imperfect live, embrace life’s beauty and weakness and create the harmony to live meaningfully in both.

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  • An act of becoming fully aware of something as a fact.
  • The fulfillment or achievement of something desired or anticipated: “the realization of his dream”.

I have this brilliant, brilliant buddy. We exchange business ideas, life ideas, work ideas and almost any idea. He has awesome ideas about his business to help people keep motivated, get committed and act diligently to realize their dreams. He is an amazing inspirational speaker and has that irresistible charisma. He is like a magnet to the people around him. Once he starts to talk to you, you can feel that energy goes around you and through you. You always can get that “Wow” moment listening to him.

His strength is that he has so many ideas. His weakness is that he has so many ideas. He can always sense what kind of motivations people need in their lives and integrate them into his business. As a result, what he wants to do with his business expands at an unimaginable speed. He turns out to be overwhelmed by all those things he wants to do.

Yesterday he came to me and told me something he just realized. He said that in general it took 10 to 12 months for those builders to set up a solid foundation for a condo building. After that, the building is up in no time. We notice that the building around the corner is completed within months right in front of our eyes, which is a miracle. But have we ever realized that all those miracles are rooted in those 10 to 12 months of silence in setting up the foundation. He realized that it’s the same theory with his business. No matter what he decides to do along his business goal, he just needs to do it, build it and accumulate it, all of which are setting up the foundation for the business giant. When the accumulation comes to a certain point, just like the fusion, “BOOM!”, everything comes together by themselves. It’s similar to this motto – 200mAction. I was impressed by my buddy. It’s not easy to admit something you should have done. But realization is the starting point of changes. I’m impressed.

Last night, I was on the phone with my other buddy, who is a good father of two young kids. He sends them to school and picks them up every single day. He plays with the kids and buys toys for the kids. Before our talk, he just made his 5-year-old son in tears when he rushed him to wash himself and go to bed. “I am so impatient sometimes.” he signed. I said, “You know what, buddy? It’s so important that you realize this. So you know what to do next. Keep reminding yourself what you should do and do it. It’s gonna be a problem if you don’t realize. For realization, it’s never too late.”

It’s never too late.


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Face that fear

Right before we finished work today, I started to talk with my co-work about what she would do had she not accepted the current job. “I was seriously thinking about medical field.”, she said. “Really? So coincident. I was thinking of being a nurse, too.” So we started the “nurse” talk.

She told me a major reason why she didn’t pursue that route was that she had severe needle-phobia since early age. She would totally pass out at the sight of the needle, and started to shake the moment she stepped into the clinic. It was a pity that she couldn’t fulfill her dream to be in a profession which is regarded as most helping. I remembered something I was reading and told her about the story.

It was in the book When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. Pema had a friend from childhood who kept having nightmares of being chased by some monsters. The friend couldn’t sleep, felt exhausted all day and depressed by the frequent occurence. As a Buddhist master, Pema asked her friend if she knew who was chasing her. The friend said no as she absolutely didn’t have the courage to find out. Pema further told her friend not to run when the dream came, but turn around and find out who were chasing her, so that she could help her find a way out. Being persuaded and fed up with the nightmare, the friend decided to try. The dream did come. When the friend felt the chasing start, she gathered all her courage, stopped running and faced the chasers. They were not some monsters but some animal-like things. When they saw her facing them, they stopped chasing, shocked and finally disappeared. That was also the end of the nightmare. Pema’s theory was to face the fear, experience it in person and get over it.

My co-work kept nodding her head while I was telling the story. She continued to talk about her needle-phobia, which no longer exists. It turned out that she had a high-risk pregnancy with her two kids two years apart. Therefore, she had to take injections to intervene during both pregnancies. She passed out undoubtedly at the beginning. But as the procedure went on and on and on, her body finally decided not to react. Now, in her words, “Bring the needles on!” What an experience! What a transformation!

We might not be able to experience the same transformation, but at least both the book and the reality show that there’s a way to conquer that fear in us:


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