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COPYRIGHT 2018-2020 BY DWIGHT GOLDWINDE

Wise words? You decide...

BIG IDEAS
IN A FEW WORDS

When a child throws a temper tantrum, we recognize it as such: an attempt to get their way through anger and blame. If we are wise, we will listen and even sympathize, but we will not reinforce their behavior by defensiveness and/or by indulging it.

Many of us, however, are not so adept at recognizing adult temper tantrums, when adults use blame or threat of blame (sometimes called guilt-pushing) as a method to dominate another and get their way. We do not choose courage to listen and even sympathize, without indulgence or defensiveness. Instead, we often defend or cave in, training others to use temper tantrums again and again with us in the future. Why shouldn't they since you've trained them so well?!

One is not always happy when one is good; But one is always good when one is happy.

If you ask ten people to use your service and you get one "yes," then, if the profit of getting one "yes" is more than the cost of asking ten times, then choosing courage to ask ten times makes sense.


If you apply to 27 jobs to get one job, then, if the value/profit of having that job is more than the cost of applying for 27 jobs, then the courage to apply for 27 jobs makes sense.


Often, however, we don't know how many tries it might take for something to be successful. In this case, we might want to decide what is the maximum about of tries we would need to make before the cost of the tries will exceed the benefit of getting a "yes." And, then, if we exceed that number of tries, then the choice of courage might be to quit.

You've lost your camera. Is it a problem? Or is it an adventure?


You've had an argument with your best friend. Is it a problem? Or is it an adventure?


It's all about how you frame it? Which do you prefer?

If you've got time to be bored, then you've got time to either get curious and creative about how to enjoy the process of what you're doing or about how to do something else instead.

I, Dwight, exist to train, coach, and inspire each individual in the world to create easily their own life as a dancing journey of self-expression…a moment-to-moment and day-to-day self-expression that is both self-inspiring and self-fulfilling, together with being an authentic contribution to those around them and to the world.

Many of us habitually focus on things or judge ourselves by things that we have little or no control over (and often are not our business).


This creates upset both for ourselves and for others.


Moreover, it distracts us from paying attention to those things that we can control and in staying in our own business.

The origin of at least 99% of all violence against others starts with blame.


But what is the origin of blame?

The words "trade war" sound like "a type of war between countries." Nothing is further from the truth. A "trade war" is each country competing with the other to see which one can damage their own citizens more.


For example, the American government imposed tariffs "against" China on steel and aluminum, thereby increasing the price of all those goods for every American citizen.


Then China responds by essentially saying, "You think you can screw your citizens better than we can screw ours?! Watch us. We just slapped tariffs on 125 imports from America. We have surely screwed our citizens better than you have screwed yours!"


And the final "winner" of the war will be the country that created the most damage for its own citizens.

How to know if someone knows nothing about cats...

If they think that the cat's purring sound means "the cat is angry."

If you're tolerating a situation, a job, a relationship...whatever you're putting up with, tolerating is probably the worst option.


Choose context, creativity, and courage to:
1) fully accept whatever it is or...
2) change whatever it is or...
3) quit whatever it is.

Do others think you are selfish if you act selfishly, short-term as well as long-term…


If you do your best to see how you can contribute to the selfishness of others by dovetailing their selfishness with your own…


Even though you are acting completely selfishly, others will much more likely think you are "unselfish" rather than "selfish."

If you think you have a "long way to do," then just focus on enjoying the journey.


Then you will discover that the way is not long and it may actually be over too soon!

Some Americans romanticize "Chinese family values," the idea of the close family structure. Yes, I am sure there are benefits associated with the strong family ties that Chinese typically feel. But there are a lot of costs.


I am wondering how long those rose-colored glasses would last if those same Americans saw how many Chinese couples stay in a very unhappy marriage "for the sake of the children"? Or they saw how so many young Chinese will bow to their parents' insistence to choose majors that they have no interest in. Or how many Chinese young people who are deeply in love will say goodbye to their true love because their parents disapprove of their choice? Or how many Chinese will stay in a job they hate because their parents think it is a "good, stable job"? Or how many adult Chinese children will reluctantly live with their parents because that is what the parents want?


All this is an expression of "strong Chinese family values."

100% of suffering is caused by the habitual resistance to the fear and pain that we, on occasion, may feel. Another way to say it is that 90% of pain and fear in the world is caused by resistance to the other 10%.


Learn to make friends with that 10% and you can eliminate the other 90%.

Useless wisdom…


A "wise person" whose wisdom does not re-awaken and enliven the spirit of the child within possesses a useless wisdom. If fact, this type of "wisdom" is often used to argue for how a person of deep knowledge will necessarily have a life full of angst and meaninglessness.

Many people who make a lot of money, struggled hard to do it.


Many people who learned a lot, pushed themselves to make it happen.


Many people who became great at something, persevered through many difficulties.


That is now the old way of doing things.


If you really want to make a lot of money, find a way to enjoy the process and it will be easy.


If you want to become very knowledgeable, make sure you find a way to indulge in the joy of learning.


If you truly want to become great at something, find a way to make the process engaging and compelling.


Life is hard only if you believe that is must be that way.

When you blame another for blaming you, then you are doing the same as they are.


And then they will blame you back. Then we have the blame wars...like two dogs fighting.


Next time someone blames, get curious about their blame. It doesn't mean you need to change anything. Just get curious. If you are really curious, then the war will never start.


As Byron Katie said, "Defense is the first act of war."

Evolution did a patch-work job of changing us from the animals who are always "in the present" and the animals whose caring for other (or not) is instinctual to we humans who have to (somehow) span the bridge of being "in the present" and "taking care of the future," as well as "being selfish" and "caring for others." This patch-work job has left us with a lack of integrity, often with a lot of internal conflicts. It's up to us to pick up where evolution left off and create a new world of integrity between our present self and our future self as well as between our selfish self and our self that cares for others.

Let's compare prioritizing results to prioritizing process?

Putting results first means you often insist on tolerating the process in order to get the results. It also includes the idea that "more results are always better."

Putting process first means you put top priority not only on enjoying the process of anything you take on doing, but you also plan your days and your life so that everything can flow easily together and you can get "everything done."

If you put results first (which is our habit), the results you will often get are:
1) You never feel you get enough done.
2) You feel pressured, overwhelmed, and stressed.
3) Your life can feel meaningless.
4) You often feel frustrated or impatient.
5) Being persistent can be difficult.
6) You can never completely catch up.
7) You can damage your health.
8) Urgent tasks are often pushing out the important ones.
9) It can damage your relationships.
10) In the big picture, you don't get as many results as you will get if you put process first.

If you put process first, the results you will often get are:
1) You feel like you get the perfect amount done.
2) You remain stress-free with just enough challenge, but not too much.
3) Your life will feel naturally meaningful.
4) It's easy to be patient while enjoying the process.
5) Persistence is a natural by-product of enjoying the process.
6) You're rarely behind on things.
7) You're finding the time to take care of your health.
8) You're able to minimize the urgent, leaving time for the important.
9) You easily keep agreements with others and maintain good relationships.
10) In the long run, you get even more results than when you prioritize results.

Have you set up the game of life so that even when you're losing, you're still winning?

One question a day to make love stay…

“Honey, what can I do to make you feel loved today?”

And then do it. 

What are golden handcuffs?


It's when you're making a lot of money doing a job you really don't love. And you're spending that money (with the house, the mortgage, the kids, whatever...). So you "can't afford" the freedom that is needed to find they job that you'd really love.
But there's another type of "golden handcuffs," which involves time, instead of money. A much larger percentage of people are constrained by these "time" handcuffs than are constrained by "money" handcuffs. 


Their mantra is that they "have no free time." They have no free time to create and design the lifestyle they would really love because of what they "have to do, need to do, must do, are expected to do, is important to do."


Are you wearing these handcuffs?

When it occurs that someone is doing something against you (they are being a "bad guy"), assume that, from their perspective that whatever they are doing is good or fair or necessary.


Then get curious about how that is so for them. They are not "against you." They are just trying to do the "good, fair, and necessary." 

Many parents do this, do that for their kids...they don't leave their children much space to create their own "play time," to make their own decisions and their own mistakes, constantly testing out their own wings.


My mother, who had a wisdom before her time, believed that children should be raised with "benign neglect." I am so fortunate and blessed that my mother raised me with such wisdom.

If you have compassion for yourself and are good friends with yourself, it's almost impossible not to have good relationships with others.

We have been taught that to be a good person we should fulfill our duties and sacrifice ourselves by putting others first.


How kind is this?


If you thank someone for something they did for you and they genuinely reply with, "It was my pleasure," you have just completed a transaction that served the self-interests of both parties.


In contrast, if you thank someone for something they did for you and they reply with, "It was my duty," you have just engaged in a win-lose transaction (except for the relief they may feel from having done their duty), instead of a win-win.


Yet the second type of transaction has been held up as the "moral one," in contrast with the first type, which may be considered either amoral or immoral by the traditional ethicists. The old ethics is unkind.

Jesus said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's a pretty good idea. However, if we reverse it, it becomes a better idea.

"Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you."

Everyone wants love, respect, and compassion from others. Therefore, this new idea means we should first give love, respect and compassion to ourselves.

If we put this as our priority, it will be easy and natural to treat others in the same way. But, as long as we are not treating ourselves with love, respect, and compassion, it will be difficult to treat others this way.

If you have made friends with your fear (you're still resisting it), whatever you try to do is likely to be much less effective...it's like trying to do something with one hand tied behind your back.

A slave is defined as "a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them." For the most part, it seems that slavery has been outlawed in the world.

Except for one area where we don't even think to call it "slavery." Military conscription. Yes, there are some differences from what we normally think of as being a slave.

1. It is limited in time to two+ years.
2. You get some compensation, in addition to being fed.
You're not required to obey every type of "command" from your "boss," only some types.
But you are required to kill others (or provide support to kill others), something non-military slaves are usually not required to do.

If I had a choice between being a non-military slave or a military slave (two-year term for each), it might be a toss up for which I would choose.

So much free stuff!

Although it never gets counted in the GDP, we are becoming richer and richer everyday from all the free (or almost free) stuff that is available!

Google and baidu information searches
Wikipedia
Video calls with Skype around the world
Making payments from our mobile phones
Listening/watching streaming audio and video (e.g. Spotify and YouTube)
email
mobile chatting

And it all comes to us, not through government services (that are paid for by forced taxes), but by people trying to make a profit and/or contribute to society voluntarily.

And other things have gotten so cheap: I am using some reading glasses right now that I paid $1 for.

Long live competition, the free market, and trade!

Many people love and yearn to experience the blue sky, the sunrise, the mountain view, the water fall, and all of nature's wonders. I enjoy these too.

But what truly inspire me are the skylines of large cities with all their tall buildings, cloverleaf interchanges, airports, and modern malls, abustle with their bonanza of customers, shops, products, services, and clerks.

Learn to love the game even more than getting the results you want. When you put the game first over the results, in the big picture, you'll accomplish even more than if you put results first.

Showing respect to others and your kids, while making it easier on yourself…

Imagine you're out and about with your young child. Your child wants to interact with your friend, colleague, or acquaintance. You're worried that your child will bother them. Therefore, you try to protect the other person from what your child is trying to do.

I have noticed this happening many times when a parent was trying to protect me from their child.

As a parent, consider saying this to your friend, "If you would like me to protect you from my child, please let me know. Otherwise, I will assume you can take care of yourself. Is that okay? Will you let me know if you need my help with my child?"

Assuming they agree, then, not only have you shown respect to your friend and to your child (they get to work it out together between themselves), but you also free up yourself to relax.

The difference between a fantasy and a risk…

If you know that you will never divorce and you'll have a great marriage till the end, that's a fantasy.

If you know it's possible that you may never divorce and you'll have a great marriage to the end, then that is accepting the risk (either way) of your marriage, with your eyes open.

The Chinese society is much more hierarchical than are Western cultures. Public school postings for each class will show who is #1, #2...#31.

I have several very good friends. In mind there is no ranking of these different friends. My Chinese friend Sandy says that she clearly knows who her best friend is, the second best, and so on.

She says she likes my way better and asked me "how I do it," since it is so natural for her, as a Chinese, to create a ranking.

Westerners misunderstand Chinese tone of voice…

I am not referring to the four Chinese tones that can change the meaning of a word. I am referring to other tonal expressions of loudness and "hardness."

A Chinese friend said that her Dutch boyfriend complained that she was often complaining. When she asked him for examples of what she said when he thought she was complaining, she said what she said was not complaining to her. But I think I understand why he thinks she is complaining: Chinese often use a louder and more strident voice tone than do Westerners (with whom I am familiar). When I first arrived in China, I often thought Chinese were "screaming at each other" in public places. But, when I noticed more closely, I realized that they were not fighting; this was just their normal style of speaking that occurred as hostile to my Western ear.

A visiting Chinese friend sent me a text message, "I am at the entrance."

I thought to myself, "Does that mean 1) entrance to the entering road, 2) entrance at the guard gate, 3) entrance to my building, or 4) entrance to my apartment?"

Once my friend arrived we discussed this "lack of specificity" and she agreed (she knows western culture pretty well) that Chinese tend to be more ambiguous in their speaking than do Westerners.

We can be forgiving of bad behavior if the perpetrator feels sorry and regretful.


If they are unrepentant, however, then we will consider them truly evil.


Conclusion: if you indulge in "bad behavior," make sure you beat yourself up and feel guilty about it. Others will go easier on you this way.

Chinese are, in general, much more conservative and traditional than are Americans. Americans are more open and accepting of others as they are.


Yet Chinese are more accepting of me (and my "strange" ways and ideas) than are Americans. Why?


It's because I am from another country, another culture. Although they can be very critical of each other, the Chinese can be quite accepting of someone not born into their culture.


I call this the "cross-cultural freedom effect."

If you are using persistence to keep yourself going, then it will be difficult to determine whether or not you should continue or quit in some project or goal.


In contrast, if you're enjoying the process of doing something, it will be much easier to make a decision about whether or not you should continue or quit.


The old way, where you had to push yourself to keep going, you praised yourself if you kept going and blamed yourself if you quit.


When you don't need "persistence," because you're enjoying the process, then it is easier to assess accurately the costs, benefits, and risks of continuing as well as the costs, benefits, and risks of quitting, with neither one being "good" or "bad," just different options to serve your life and happiness.

In our default attitude that we must make the "right" decision, we delay making a clear decision. And, in doing this, we are often making the worst decision.

Survival is handled, but most of us don't notice this.


Consequently, our behavior is avoidance and stress based. After you have enough to eat, everything else is a game. And you can set the game up to that you're loving the game and you're winning. That's called thriving!

In our interactions and transactions with others, the best generosity is when we can give selfishly, when we are giving and, at the same time, taking care of ourselves. And the other person can feel great about accepting our generosity because that know it benefits us also.


If you are being "generous" but in a way that damages or takes away from you, you are creating a win-lose world. In this world, we all end up losing.

If you ask all those you know who have gotten divorced, you will find that the vast majority will regret that they didn't get divorced earlier rather than that they didn't give their marriage enough chance to work.

Much wisdom in life involves remembering and bringing present into our awareness what we already know, especially at those times when that remembering could be most valuable.

The quality of the present moment completely rewrites your life history.

 

If you're basking in ecstasy and you think back over your life, you will have no regrets and you will feel everything miraculously lead you to this perfect point.

 

If you're super depressed and you think back over your life, even your happiest earlier moments and experiences will occur as nothing and meaningless.

“Are you busy?”

 

Whenever I'm asked this question, my reply is honestly, "I am leisurely busy."

 

This is because I put as a #1 priority my lifestyle and enjoying the dance of the journey. I put results as a second priority. Most people do the opposite and "enjoying the process" might not even take second place.

You have all the time in the world to be happy, if you're being happy now.

I love my job as a life coach so much that whenever I am watching a movie or TV drama, I find myself automatically coaching the protagonists so that they would have better relationships with each other.

I know, however, if the drama was written with the characters listening to my coaching, then it would not be a drama any more and no one would want to watch it.

We love watching dramas where the characters are always getting into trouble.

I love my job as a life coach so much that whenever I am watching a movie or TV drama, I find myself automatically coaching the protagonists so that they would have better relationships with each other.

I know, however, if the drama was written with the characters listening to my coaching, then it would not be a drama any more and no one would want to watch it.

We love watching dramas where the characters are always getting into trouble.

Which of these two types of transactions contribute more to the world?


Transaction type #1: two parties exchange goods, services, and/or money because each party decides they will be better off after the exchange than before. This type of transaction is called trade or commercialism.

Transaction type #2: one party gives goods, services, and/or money to another party without receiving anything in return (except perhaps "thanks" or good will or having a good reputation for being generous, or getting to avoid others thinking they are miserly). This type of transaction is called charity or philanthropy.

The first type of transaction (trade) is sustainable, since each side is made richer by the transaction. The second type of transaction (charity) is ultimately unsustainable, since the giver's resources are depleted for every transaction engaged.

Trade is competitive. As such, it tends towards better services and products and towards lower prices. Charity is non-competitive (except for a charitable organization's competition to attract donors). Therefore, there is little push for less expensive and higher quality services and products.

Trade tends towards creating a sense of empowerment for all the parties and people involved: "What I provide is valuable enough for others to pay for or to give me services or products for." Charity can create a sense of empowerment for the giver: "I am so powerful that I can afford to make a difference in the lives of others this way." However, it can be dis-empowering for the receivers: "Yes, I need this or can use this. But I didn't earn it. And, why should I make the effort to earn it in the future since I can get it easier this way?"

Both trade and charity have their place in a free society.

However, I have always been puzzled by the disdain and suspicion many (especially "intellectuals" and many artiists) have for trade and commercialism. Most often, the villains in movies and TV series are the "money-grubbing businessmen." Businesses and business people are often dishonored and criticized because they profited by their ability to provide goods and services in a competitive society where each individual that traded with them decided they would be better off after the transaction.

In contrast, we glorify and praise the alms givers, those who sacrifice their own benefit, and the Mother Teresa's of our world.

Yes, we need both types of transactions in this world. But let's be clear that, whenever possible, the first type (trade) should be used and encouraged whenever possible. It is the type of transaction we should honor first and foremost. One dramatic example: charity did not raise over a billion Chinese out of abject poverty and starvation. A dramatic shift in the Chinese government (spearheaded by Deng Xiaoping) that sanctioned relatively free trade to arise, allowed the Chinese people and Chinese businesses (in a competitive market) to accomplish ever-increasing prosperity through trade.

Today, much more than decades ago, the real expect is not so much one who knows the most answers or the one who can quickly take the steps to get the results. It is the one who knows how and where to find the answers or knows the process by which the results are likely to occur.

The expert of today keeps less "end knowledge" in his or her head and relies more on their ability to find the answers when needed.

Am I lucky or unlucky?


If I look for how I am unlucky in my life, I can find it

If I look for how I am lucky in my life, I can find it.

Since I always look for how I am lucky, I never notice if I am unlucky.

Beware of those (including yourself) whose kindness and generosity is motivated by an expectation that it will be returned in kind by you.

in basing their generosity on this expectation, they are risking that they will feel betrayed by you.

How can each one of us be happy? This is the most important and fundamental problem of life. All other problems are an attempt to solve this problem.

This problem diverges into two other fundamental problems. How to be happy with ourselves (to be our own best friend)? And how to be happy in our relationships with others?

When we believe that there must be someone to blame (either others or ourselves), we end up with a faulty set up options. Yes, it can feel good in a certain sense when there is "someone to blame," even if it is ourselves. But the long-term costs of blame and/or guilt (not seeing things clearly, damaging relationships, difficulties in coming to a better resolution, creating personal stress) are enormous.

Instead of indulging in fault finding, it's more powerful to think of contribution.

"How did my actions or lack of actions contribute to this unwanted circumstance?"
"How did their actions or lack of actions contribute to this unwanted circumstance?"

Overall, this approach will result in more benefit and possibility, with less cost and less risk.

Is life perfect or imperfect?

It's perfect that not everything is yet perfect.

If everything were already perfect, the game of life (and life itself) would be over.

The quintessential nature of life is that it is a game. Every game has benefit and the possibility of winning, as well as cost and the risk of losing.

Inside the perfect game of life, we will win sometimes and lose sometimes. It's perfect that things are not always perfect. Let the good times roll.

For millennia religious leaders, philosophers, and cultures of the world have lionized giving to others and working for the future.

They have given little, if any attention, to the importance of each one of us taking care of ourselves and making sure that we love the present. In fact, they have often villainized being selfish and seeking pleasure now.

Yes, giving to others and working for the future are important. But equally important (and sometimes more important) are taking care of ourselves and enjoying now.

We need a balance, a partnership, between all four of these intentions and needs.

I am an advocate for every one of us to take care of ourselves and to enjoy now...to bring a much needed balance and respect among all four of these great intentions.

Who you think you are is 99% machinery of default thoughts and beliefs…

When you say, "I think you should treat me better," it's your machinery that believed that thought and then automatically repeated in out loud.

You did not consciously craft that thought as an accurate reflection of reality and then decide consciously on the benefits, costs, and risks of speaking it out loud.

Your machinery co-opted your language by using the word "I" as if you currently had something to do with believing it or speaking it.

There is, thankfully, that 1% of you that has the possibility of not being that co-opted "I," that can think and act proactively with full responsibility. This proactive "I" has the power, through persistence and playfulness and compassion to modify some of the beliefs and thoughts of the machinery, thereby creating an updated co-opted "I" that will be more happy, both with itself and with others.

After considering the short-term and long-term benefits, costs, and risks for me if I say "yes" to your expectation/request/demand/desire in this circumstance, I am clear that it in my selfish interest to say "no."

However, if I add in my unwillingness to accept and make friends with my fear that you (and others) may/will either blame me, and/or think I am a bad person, and/or be disappointed in me, and/or withdraw your approval/liking/love for me, then the costs of saying "no" are too high and therefore, to avoid feeling this fear, I will sacrifice part of my life for you.

This is the horror of self-sacrifice, which has been preached as a virtue by many.

Do you choose courage to turn your mobile phone off?

"Oh, my God! What if someone needs me!? What if someone is upset if they can't reach me!? What if I miss an opportunity because I wasn't available?!"

Yes, it's possible that any of these could occur. But at what cost to the quality of your life?

I turn my mobile phone off whenever I go to sleep at night (I actually just put it in airplane mode). I turn it off whenever I take a nap. I turn it off whenever I am visiting with someone. I turn it off whenever an interruption would detract from whatever I am doing.

The rest of the world will do okay without me for that time.

Here's another bias that hasn't been documented yet. It has some similarities to the Endowment Effect bias and the Loss Aversion bias. I call it the Attachment Bias.

We tend to become attached to and focused on keeping or gaining some particular object (or person) than we are of focusing on the essence of what we want and how there are many different forms in which those essences could be expressed or satisfied.

Examples: we become attached to the country we happen to live in rather than get clear about the qualities we would like to have in a country and choose our country based upon that.
We become attached to the person we're in love with instead of being clear about the essences of love that we're interested in and knowing that we have a lot of options (even though we may have decided to focus on one person for now).
We become attached to the job, or career, or the skills we have now rather than remaining aware of the essences we like to express in our job and knowing that we have many possibilities always before us.

Being clear about the essences that are important to us (like adventure, playfulness, and connection are important to me) and knowing that it is not helpful to be attached to any one form of our essences is a key to empowerment and freedom.

I've never read about any scientific studies about this bias. Nevertheless, I am confident scientists could easily confirm its existence.

I call it the Remember Bias. It is the mistaken belief that we will remember something that we just thought of at a later time when we will need to act on it.

To avoid being the victim of this bias, I have developed a habit to immediately write something down the moment I think about it...if I think there's even a 1% chance I might not remember it at the time that I will need to remember it (always having a pen and paper in my pocket, in case I'm out and about). I have developed the systems and habits to make sure that each recorded memory item will "confront me" at just at the time when its memory will be useful. Todoist.com is just one of the systems that supports me in this regard.

Many of us think that a "good lifestyle" requires a lot of money, as expressed in the phrase, "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

It might be better said, as "What the Rich and Famous can Buy that most of us Can't." It doesn't say anything about whether or not the "rich and famous" are enjoying their lifestyle and the process of their life.

In fact, many who are rich are not enjoying the process of their lives because they've never learned to prioritize that.

After you have enough to eat, the issue of having a good lifestyle depends very little on how much money you have. It depends, instead, on designing and implementing the everyday process of your life so that you're enjoying the journey and smelling the roses.

The good life is about priorities…

Yes, many things are valuable to have...but, if you have your priorities reversed (as many of us do), then life be hard.

For example: we want our future to be good, but if we sacrifice enjoying the process of getting there, life will be hard. If we prioritize enjoying the process of life (yes, the results are still important), then life will be easy.

Another example: we want to help others and for others to be happy with us, but if we sacrifice taking care of ourselves for others, then our life will be hard. If we prioritize taking care of ourselves (yes, taking care of others is still important), then life will be easy.

Do you think that suicide is sad or a tragedy?

It's true that anyone can misjudge whether it is better to commit suicide or not. But the misjudgment could go either way.

If truth be told, many people would confess that they wished they had killed themselves earlier.

The purpose of life is to be happy, to enjoy it, to dance with it. And sometimes we can reach a point in our life where our best options are not for happiness, but to avoid suffering. Yes, you could always argue that a turnaround could occur. But, at some point, making the judgment in favor of staying alive becomes a fool's fantasy.

Whenever I hear that someone has killed themselves, I am sad for the pain they went through, but I happy that it is now gone. And I have full compassion for their decision, even if it was misjudged.

If you find that someone new likes you (or even loves you), do you admire their good judgment?

Or do you wonder what they can see in you?

The first indicates you think well of yourself; the second shows that you need to learn to be your own best friend.

Many of us think that we must understand someone or something before we can accept it.

It is much more effective, peaceful, and powerful to accept things first and, then later, if we like, see if we can understand them.

I don't understand why governments have many of the laws that they do. But I accept that there are these laws and I act accordingly.

I may not understand why someone is upset with me. But, if I accept that they are, without need for defense, then I can act effectively and am more likely to understand more about their upset later.

If we insist on understanding something before we accept it, then we insist on fighting with reality until we understand it. This formula creates a lot of unnecessary upset and saps our power.

A friend was observing cynically how all the religions started out pure and were then corrupted by human greed.

But what he didn't see was that religions got corrupted only because they saw greed (and such) as the bad guy. They set themselves up to fight against greed.

Commonly religions (and culture in general), in looking at the internal conflicts that can occur for us humans, took the side of generosity against selfishness (with greed being one expression of selfishness). They also took the side of working for the future against being happy and comfortable now (with sloth being one expression of trying to be comfortable now). Greed and sloth (in Christianity) are two of the seven deadly sins.

The creators and maintainers of religions did not recognize that they created the conditions for corruption by their stance of making two important parts of human nature to be the bad guys.

Yes, generosity (giving to others) is good; but selfishness (taking care of oneself) is also good and is actually more fundamental. If religions had focused on finding ways to have these two important parts of us BOTH be happy, they would have not sewn their own seeds of corruption.

Similarly, planning and working for the future is important; but enjoying and being happy now is equally (and arguably even more) important. If religions had focused on finding ways to have these two important parts of us BOTH be happy, again, they would not have put a rotten apple in the batch.

Generosity without including selfishness can cause major problems. Short-term selfishness without including generosity will also fail. We need to find ways for generosity and selfishness to work together, so that both can win. Always working for the future without taking care of being happy now is a formula for a dissatisfying life. Letting feeling good now always trumping taking care of the future is a formula for dissolution. We need to find ways for taking care of our future and loving the present to both win.

Religions provide many supportive ideas and practices for us humans, which I applaud and appreciate. But they have missed in the mark by seeding the ideas of conflict between "me and others" and between "now and the future." This is why they (and society in general) have always had a problem with corruption.

Spin doctors don't have a very good reputation. But being a good spin doctor for the circumstances of your own life is centrally important.

In fact, you are already a spin doctor. But the "doctor" may be spinning things backwards:

"Life is hard."
"You have to be careful."
"People are unfair."
"I did something wrong."
"Life is borning."
"What's it all for, anyway?"

You need to change the spin on things:

"What is the adventure in this?"
"How could this be a gift?'
"Look at all the things that are working in my life!"
"How could this be fun and enjoyable?"

Since you'll never get out of life alive...

...it makes it very clear that the purpose of life is happiness.

And, a very important part of happines is to have some interesting goals so that you can enjoy the process of moving towards them.

Just one idea contains the fundamental key of how to be happy (it can be expressed in two different ways):

Happiness comes from loving what is.
Suffering comes from resisting what is.

Our habit, however, which is culturally encouraged and approved, is to resist what is and to not even notice that we are resisting it.

We resist our fear. We think we should be different. We think others should be different. We blame ourselves and we blame others. We approve of some things and disapprove of others. We are almost always resisting something that is, which means we are fighting with reality.

To change this habit takes awareness and compassion and persistence. Although we can become better and better at loving what is (which results in happines), it's a recurring labor of love, like washing the dishes everyday.

Welcome to the game of life!

“The Good Place”

I highly recommend this deep-thinking Netflix comedy TV series that humorously upends the impossibilities inherent in the old ethics. There are two seasons now and it's been approved for a third season.

Recommended: an excellent article about stereotypes: https://quillette.com/2018/09/12/stereotypes-are-often-harmful-and-accurate/

Do you put city and country first?

I don't mean "first" in a loyalty or nationalistic sense. I have no loyalty to any city or country.

I mean, "Loyalty and patriotism aside, do you explicitly choose the best city and country for you, given a clear set of criteria of what is best for you?"

I didn't use to do this or even think of doing this (except maybe the "best city" inside the USA). It all started when I moved to Tokyo from Los Angeles in 1999. It seems to me that very few people in the world (assuming they are not excessively blocked by governments from leaving their native country) seriously consider doing this.

I have a relatively small set of criteria for determining the "best city/country in the world for me." I have done serious research in trying to find a better city/country in the world than Kunming, China, to no avail.

Here are my deal-breaker criteria for choosing the best city/country to live in:
1) Good weather all-year-around, with not-bad pollution.
2) Cost-of-living is on the low side.
3) Large city (minimum two million people).
4) I am living outside my own culture so that I get the movie-star effect and the cross-cultural-freedom effect.
5) A recurring visa is not too hard to get.
6) Good Internet is available.
7) The government is relatively stable and public safety is not bad.

Just in case you think you know of a city/country in the world that is better than Kunming, China using these criteria, let me know! I am very happy here, but I'll check it out.

I'm curious: if you're not putting city and country first, why not? (I realize that many people have family and job-location ties that I don't have...and those might be the reasons why not).

How thinking we know more than we do makes us feel safer (but is actually more dangerous)...

We think it's difficult to get a job...
...so we don't have to risk the fear of being rejected for a job.

We think it's difficult to get a girlfriend or boyfriend...
...so we don't have to risk the rejection of asking for a date.

We think the best way to secure our future is by getting a degree...
...so we don't have to think and act for ourselves in creating our future.

We think that quitting is bad...
...so we don't have to risk that others will blame us.

Yesterday I hit my thumb and it hurt. Heidi asked me, "Are you okay?" I replied, "My thumb is not okay yet, but I am."

We could apply this way of thinking in many circumstances of our life:
"My left breast is not okay yet, but I am." (if one had breast cancer).
"Some of my thoughts are not okay yet, but I am." (if one were depressed or discouraged).
"My job situation is not okay yet, but I am." (if one had just lost their job).

Try it. Notice what happens when you think or speak this way.

I find it very curious that we honor people for:

fighting or dying for their country
winning an election
protecting others (policemen and firemen)
making a new scientific discovery
inventing a new technique or product
building a company
getting a job or getting promoted
winning a race or a game
working hard
making a lot of money
studying hard or making good grades
getting a degree
and many more types of accomplishments.

But what we rarely honor people for is the accomplishment of just being happy (which is the purpose of everything anyway).

If you're learning something new that doesn't challenge something you think you already know, then the learning can be fairly easy. For example, if you're just learning that a water molecule contains two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, it's not a big deal.

However, if there is some new learning that could be quite valuable to you, yet it questions or challenges something you already "know," then the likelihood of your learning this new very valuable knowledge is small.

For example, suppose that you already believe that...
"Life is hard." or
"My brother is stupid." or
"People should be kinder to each other." or
"There is no way to fix this problem." or
"Republicans are heartless." or
"People should do the right thing." or
"It's difficult to get a good job."

...then you are not likely to look for information that would question your belief and replace it will a much more accurate and empowering belief.

A wealthy lifestyle can be much more easily achieved by how to spend and use the money that you already have than by making more money.

Everyone I know who makes more money than I do do not begin to match my wealthy lifestyle.

I have a friend who quit her job at Motorola (which she disliked). She started her own service business which she loved. But she felt so guilty for charging people for what she would "do for free," she had to return to her job at Motorola where it was "okay" to get paid for a job she didn't like.

Our cultural belief in "equality of suffering" and our fear that others will blame us for charging for what we would "do for free" can make it unlikely that some of us could even allow ourselves to become aware of what we might love doing that we could also be paid for.

Suffering is always caused by the beliefs that are not true (for example, "He should love me.") and by what you resist that is true (for example, resisting the fear that you have that people won't like you).

Joy can be caused by believing some things that are not always true (for example, "Everything that happens in my life is a gift to me.")

There are many ways to contribute to others...each of which is important:

-Providing goods and services for a fee (successful businesses are masters at this; as an employee, you are doing this)
-Inventing new products or services
-Protecting others (governments can sometimes do this well)
-Giving money, products, or services to others (personally or through charities)
-Showing appreciation, liking, love, or admiration to others
-Taking care of others physically
-Teaching others some knowledge or skill
-Providing entertainment
-Listening to others
and many more...

But there is one way to give to others that has the potential to provide deeper and longer lasting value than all other ways:

To create, provide, and instill new ways of thinking, new ways of believing that result in happiness, empowerment, and full self-expression for every person who learns these new ways of thinking and believing.

This is a major reason why life coaching is such a fulfilling career for me.

Unless you enjoy the news as a way to entertain yourself, paying attention to the news is a waste of time and stimulates unnecessary upset.

What becomes less affordable as you get richer?


Ironically, there is at least one thing that becomes less affordable as your get richer:

Spending the time to discover or dispute questionable (smaller) charges to your various accounts.

As a life coach, people think I give others advice. I don't. I am not wise enough to do that. Actually, nobody is.

Giving advice implies that you know how someone else should live their life. I don't know how anyone else should live their life.

What I do is to ask some questions and make some suggestions if someone asks me how they can change something in their life or how they can get some result they want in their life. They tell me the change or result they want. And, with their permission, I show them how they can make that change quickly and easily.

Giving someone advice without permission is saying that you know how someone should live their life better than they do. You are getting into their business, instead of staying in your own.

The best of all worlds is a world in which your selfishness and my selfishness are complementary, a world in which you don't sacrifice for me and I don't sacrifice for you, considering both short-term and long-term.

You cannot guarantee this world for others, it's up to them to make selfish choices, to take care of themselves, both short-term and long-term.

You can, however, guarantee this for yourself, doing your best to create win-win arrangements and being willing to say "no" and set boundaries when it does not work for you.

And, through this, you will likely inspire others to do the same, creating a world of mutual contribution and added value.

I made a Kindle purchase on Amazon.com. They made a mistake and overcharged me by $3.25. 

I could have argued that the smart thing to do was just forget about it. Maybe I could have done that, but it seemed that I would still feel like the victim. 

But I also saw myself as a victim if I spent my valuable time calling them to get the charge reversed (I didn’t know how to do that with their website). I was suffering. Recognizing how I was “being the victim," I came up with a new approach where I wouldn’t see myself this way: 

I called customer service. I was able to get the charge reversed, no problem. At the end of the call, the service representative asked me (as they always do), “Is there anything else I can do for you?” I replied, “Yes, there is. I don’t know if you can do anything about it. But let me explain.

I value my time at a bare minimum of $50 an hour. All together, I will have spent about 15 minutes getting this refund handled. That means I have spent over $12.50 of my time to get a $3.25 refund. Somehow that doesn’t seem fair to me. What do you think?” Just saying this to her, in a non-blaming way, made me feel okay about the whole situation…even if she was unable to do anything about it. 

But then I got a very nice surprise. She put me on hold for a minute so she could talk with her supervisor. She returned to inform me that they were issuing a $17.22 credit to my account for my troubles. She then also showed me how, in the future, I could easily reverse an invalid charge using their website. 

Miracles can happen when you step outside of being a victim.

If you have to do something (like prepare your taxes, wash the dishes, or take out the trash), 

then your second priority is to do that thing
and your first priority is to make sure you enjoy the process of doing whatever it is.

A wechat friend sent a message asking me to read and give her feedback on an English paper she had written.

I responded with, "I'd really like to help you. But, in general, I don't enjoy doing this sort of thing. It's very important to me to enjoy whatever I choose to do. I hope you understand."

She responded with, "Why don't I pay for your splurge meal that you have every Saturday and we could talk about my paper while we're eating together?"

I was so impressed with her counteroffer, which satisfied my concern. I can certainly enjoy eating lunch with her and giving her verbal feedback on her paper. When I told her how impressed I was, she replied, "I learned to do this in your class."

Not uncommonly one of my friends or clients is being paranoid about some bad thing they think will happen. I've figured out a way to have fun and probably make some money out of this.

Once I get clear about their exact fear, I propose a bet: if it happens within a specified time frame, then I will pay them (say 500rmb or $75); it it doesn't happen within that time frame, they will pay me that amount.

An expression says, "Put your money where your mouth is." This is a variation on that expression, "Put your money where your fear is."

This new idea is so much fun for me and maybe it will help others to question their painful and inaccurate thoughts (after they lose some money).

The premises and conclusions of many scientists and philosophers say that we humans have no free choice.

Most of us everyday people, however, assume that we and others have free choice (at least in some life areas).

It seems to me, though, that if we believed that neither ourselves or others had free choice, then we would have more compassion both for ourselves and others.

A hypocrite is someone who pretends to have higher moral standards than they actually do.

A reverse hypocrite is someone who holds themselves to a higher moral standard than they hold others.

Few of us would want others to sacrifice their happiness for us. But so many of us are willing to sacrifice our own happiness for others (in the name of "being good").

Yes, I have wisdom…

Yes, I have power…

...and within the wisdom and power, I am vastly aware of my ignorance and my powerlessness.