Not just Bad Luck

“Experience teaches nothing, but evaluated experience teaches everything”

~ John C. Maxwell

Once in a while, bad things happen to us. We might suffer. We might feel upset. But most of us would say it's just bad luck.

But when bad things happen over and over again, then it is no longer bad luck but is the result of bad thinking processes.

As Einstein has once said, 'We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.'

In order to develop better thinking, we need to rely on reflection. Reflection is not a sexy word and it certainly isn't an easy task. It is often at the bottom of our priority list as it takes time, energy, and the courage to admit that we did wrong. To admit that our judgements are after all flawed at times.

But it is a necessary process to take in order to avoid suffering again, to change and to grow.

 

 

Just Sing

Have you ever wonder when two people are having exactly the same experience, one might enjoy it so much more whilst the other completely hate it. What sort of mindset separates them? How come different people would have completely different feedback regarding the same thing.

Back in school, I joined something called the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

To obtain the Gold award, one has to complete the following sections:

I know that's a long list of activities to complete in one year. On top of that, I was probably out of my mind at the time and did not anticipate walking 80-96 kilometers over the course of a four day / three night expedition in the wilderness.

On the first day, I literally thought I was not going to survive the journey. After navigating, hiking and treading 20 kilometres of mountains and hills, with over 16 pounds worth of supply and tents, we finally arrived our first campsite, which was actually in the middle of nowhere. We didn't think much but just built our tents on somewhere that looked flat. We then cooked our own food and the water took forever to boil. Finally, you got to cramp in a small tent with three other people. As I laid down my sore, sweaty body (no shower of course), hoping for a nice rest, it turned out the piece of grass had three dried, harden cow poo on it. My back felt like it was punched after a full night's sleep.

So you get the idea. Our lives were basically just hiking, cooking and sleeping. We lived to survive. Dragging our bodies along just to get to the end.

That's one way of looking at the journey. That was the way I looked at it at the time.

But recently I have learnt something.

Singing.

Singing changes our hearts and minds. It can somehow make everything seemingly better. It allows us to enjoy the journey in a different light. An art in which to make the process a valuable experience instead of simply aiming to reach the goal or the destination.

Our lives are a bit like the Duke of Edinburgh Journey. We didn't anticipate it to be full of challenges and obstacles. We cannot make the trail shorter, or make the weather better; those are external factors. But whatever it is that you are faced with, just sing. In no time, we will arrive our destination.

Mistakes 

The saying goes if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t make anything. 

I would go as far as saying if you don’t make mistakes on a daily basis, you aren’t really living and learning.

But simply making mistakes isn’t going to make you better. 

Reflect and do better next time.

Having a teachable spirit would take us a long way in life. Let’s keep learning and making mistakes! 

Most satisfied when…

When do you feel most satisfied? I mean feeling confident after doing something? 

We can fulfil our desires when having the green tea ice cream with your friends in a long while or buying a new designer handbag or getting a promotion. These things make us happy. 

But only for a short while. 

What I realised is that I feel the happiest not when I have gained anything; but when I have given my best. 

What about you?

One-buttock Player

Life isn’t just about hitting the right keys.

If you ask young people if they play any instruments (especially in Hong Kong), many of them would say–yes, but not anymore. In fact, you might find many eight graders or diplomers (Is that even a word?). But why don’t they play anymore? Too busy?

Our society finds short-cuts to success and quick-fixes to problems. To many parents, playing an instrument was just another card to get their kids into their desired schools.

The great American conductor Ben Zander coined the term one-buttock player. He explains that the term is used to describe the transformation of a kid from simply hitting the keys at the right time; to loving music.

What if playing a piece is actually telling a story; a way to connect with and move the deepest emotions of your audience. What if everything we do isn’t just about hitting the right keys. What if we start treating life like an adventure rather than a game to win.

What would happen to the world if we all start becoming one-buttock players.

 

Link to Ben Zander’s inspirational TED talk: