Friday, 31 May 2013

My unforgettable adventures in Japan: Day 2

Cherry blossom explosion

A trip to Japan fulfils a childhood dream and so much more. This is my journey to self-discovery and redemption. Welcome aboard! By Nila Sweeney

After a great day on April Fool's Day, I woke up the next morning wondering if the punch line will be delivered today...Hmm. Better make sure I have everything, I thought to myself as I rolled my futon bed and prepared myself for another day of adventures. Today, I will be heading to Osaka for a day before continuing on to Kyoto.

I haven't really made any specific plans except to visit a few temples and see lots of cherry blossoms. Ahh, I'd be right, I kept reassuring myself, as I made my way to the local train station to catch the Shinkansen or bullet train to Osaka.

Today, there's a spring in my step as I confidently navigated the train system. Even as I got squashed by the morning crowd rushing to get to work, I found myself even enjoying it, bizarrely.

I reserved a seat on the earliest bullet train and just like a seasoned Japanese traveller, I availed myself a bento box and went down to my designated platform - without asking for direction.

Yes, I was so confident in my ability to read Hiragana characters that I actually stood at the wrong platform and could have gotten into the wrong train going to the wrong place. Luckily, I quickly realised my mistake and moved promptly to the right area.

My Hikari train arrived and I dutifully settled in my seat for a 3-hour journey. I could hardly contain myself. My first bullet train ride! I didn't care how ridiculous I might have looked with a big silly grin in my face. Who cares, I thought to myself. I am about to take my first bullet train ride and that's the most exciting thing so far today!

Hikari train. By Nila Sweeney

The elderly gentleman sitting next to me was rather nice and promptly nodded off to sleep as soon as we left the platform. I contemplated striking up a conversation with him, but after the mix up with the train platform earlier, I felt less confident and chickened out.

I felt the train take off. This is it!!! Oh my, it's really fast, I thought to myself as I tried to keep my cool as much as possible.

It was overcast outside but the speed of the train was more than enough to keep me enthralled as the landscape changed outside. 

I thought Yokohama and Nagoya were pretty forgettable, but then again I only saw a small part of these areas. Surely, there's more to these places than what you can see from your bullet train windows. Maybe.

I arrived in Shin-Osaka in no time. I quickly made my way to  to Osaka itself and down to Shin-Imamiya where I would be staying. Confident that I could find my way around, I just winged it and somehow made it to my small hotel. 

But that's after taking the wrong train and then taking the right train but making the wrong turn!

Desperate times calls for desperate measures so I summoned all my remaining Japanese capabilities and successfully got the right direction from non-English speaking locals. My friend Tomoko did warn me that Osaka people don't speak that much English, which means lots of practice for me!

Feeling a slight panic that I haven't really planned anything during my Osaka stay, I quickly plugged in and went online to find the best things to do when in Osaka. I've read a while back about Osaka Castle and decided that I will spend the rest of the day exploring the area. 

So off I went, camera on one shoulder, a stash of assorted papers and sweaters on the other bag.

Osaka Castle

The Osaka Castle didn't disappoint. When I saw the sheer number of cherry trees in full bloom in one place, I nearly squealed. It was incredible! People were having picnics, getting married and generally having a great time even as it started to drizzle.

Hanami parties

To get to the Osaka Castle viewing deck, I needed to climb 8 steep and long flights of stairs. Dang, the steps were high and so steep. I was sweating like a pig when I got to the top. I took some more photos and then climbed back down. I couldn't wait to get back to those cherry blossoms!

View from Osaka Castle

I wandered around the gardens and I lost myself completely. The hundreds and hundreds of cherry blossom trees clustered along the canal, around the garden area, everywhere I looked there were cherry blossoms of so many varieties! I couldn't keep up, there were so many cherry blossoms to see and photograph!

There were no words. I was simply speechless. I felt so much gratitude to be alive to enjoy this marvellous display of beauty. I felt so incredibly privileged to be here, right at this moment. I said a quiet thank you to the universe for this wonderful moment.

It was truly a paradise. Even though there were so many trees, their quiet elegance made it such a sensory delight.

I strolled around the garden, admiring every single tree, not discriminating any. Everywhere I turned to; there was beauty at its purest. Small, dainty and incredibly beautiful, cherry blossoms are truly one of nature's masterpieces.

I've walked and walked for more than 6 hours. I didn't want to leave the garden but the guards told me they're closing down some parts of the garden already. I thought about staying further but decided against it as darkness started to descend.

With so much hesitation, I made my way to the train station to Osaka. I wanted to check out the famous Osaka City Station that I heard so much about. It was indeed a work of art. I walked another half hour before deciding my legs had enough walking. Time to retire these tired feet. I grabbed a nice bento box of cod and rice and headed back to my hotel.

After dinner and a shower, I typed my handwritten notes about my Osaka adventure, knowing full well that words can never fully capture the spectacular beauty that I've witnessed today.

Stay tuned for Day 3:-)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My unforgettable adventures in Japan: Day 1

Tokyo April Fool’s Surprise

A trip to Japan fulfils a childhood dream and so much more. This is my journey to self-discovery and redemption. Welcome aboard!

By Nila Sweeney

After nearly ten hours flight from Narnia, otherwise known as Sydney, I excitedly peek through the window as the Qantas plane slowly came to a halt. I was almost dismayed not to see much but a few airplanes,  and then realised how silly it was to expect anything else. This is an airport, of course there's really not much to see, I muttered to myself chuckling at the silliness of it all. 

Surprisingly, I felt quite refreshed. I’ve forgotten how quiet and considerate Japanese passengers are! I’ve gotten so used to the rowdy Aussie crowd that seemed to invade every flight I’ve taken recently. It was certainly a very welcome change from the last flight I took going to Manila where I endured an excruciating 8-hour flight with a couple of drunken Australians sitting in front of me.

I took my first breath in of the Japanese air and instantly regretted it. Why are people wearing masks? Was there something nasty in the Japanese air? I found out later that they were protecting themselves from the Beijing smog. Yup, I thought it was a joke too, but my Japanese friend assured me that on a bad day, they get the smog from Beijing. Hmmmm..

So I proceeded to the immigration lane where I queued up for more than an hour. I was beginning to wonder if the famous Japanese efficiency has been replaced by the love of paperwork. Nevertheless, I waited patiently, even as the Indian woman behind me kept on complaining about how she's going to miss her train. Really? This is Japan, lady! Trains come pretty frequently, I nearly blurted.

The upshot of the long wait was that my bag was already waiting for me when I got out to collect it. So far so good! 

Next stop, I needed to get a temporary SIM card. Well, what do you know; I can't actually use my own phone in Japan! So I rented one, except that it's an older style phone which means I can't browse the internet. Oh well, that would do, I thought to myself as I nervously tried to figure out how to send a text message. 

Next, I went to collect my JR Pass. I bought the JR Pass voucher before I flew out of Sydney as it wasn't for sale in Japan. 
Narita Express

After collecting my JR rail pass, I took the Narita Express train to Tokyo and excitedly settled in my seat as the train zoomed out of the airport. I peered outside and saw my first cherry tree. Wow! They're everywhere! I almost jumped out of my seat when I noticed the amused look by my fellow passengers. In my broken Japanese, I told them, "First time in Japan" as I slinked back in my seat, feeling slightly embarrassed.

Before long, I arrived in Tokyo and into my friend Tomoko's apartment in Gotanda, Shinagawa where I'd be basing myself as I go gallivanting around Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. 

Gotanda is a hip residential and commercial area just a few train stops to the city centre. It was a perfect base.

Gotanda, Tokyo

I thought I'd know what to expect when using their toilet. Hmmm..Let’s just say it was very interesting...and weird. Really weird. 

I was almost too embarrassed to come out. Was Tomoko secretly giggling behind my back as I tried to figure these things out? Tip: you can use the toilet roll!

So the long-awaited Tokyo adventure began. After getting a lowdown from Tomoko on how to navigate the Tokyo transit system, I was set for the day.

The great thing about getting a JR pass is that you can use it in any JR train line, which is quite prevalent in Tokyo and other cities. You can't use it to ride the subways though so if you don't have JR Pass, get the pre-paid train ticket that you can top up at any train station.

I made my way to the local JR train station and headed down to Meiji Jingu Shrine near Harajuku and Shibuya, both known for their teenage culture and shopping. It’s interesting to see the traditional and the modern part of Japan coexisting side by side quite happily. 

The tall gate of the Meiji Jingu Shrine was quite imposing and the forested walk was equally impressive. Apparently, there are a total of 170,000 trees along and around the Shrine. Needless to say, it was breath-taking. The Meiji Shrine was bustling with pilgrims and the faithful, but it was surprisingly serene.

Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo

Meiji Jingu Shrine

After exploring the temple for an hour, I headed back to Shibuya as I was getting pretty hungry at that point. Of all the restaurants I could have chosen, I've walked into one that actually served westernised Japanese food.  Too late, my stomach has pretty much taken over my brain. I have to eat. 

“Real” Japanese food was indeed literally just a couple of minutes away. A Japanese food festival was being held in one of the citys’ biggest department stores. Despite having just eaten, I went for a second helping. I was in food heaven!  Finally, I had my fix.

I explored Shibuya for another hour, admiring the vibrancy and energy of the place. It’s really like a small version of New York’s Time Square. 

Shibuya at night
It was a lot of fun crossing the road. So I did it twice and contemplated doing it the third time but I thought better. Starbucks has the best view of the crossing, but it was like a war zone out there, so I decided to check out the back streets instead. Shibuya is definitely a shopper's paradise. It's where all those hip young things and a lone tourist from Australia hang out.

I went back to my friend's apartment and rested for a while before I decided to go out and explore the neighbourhood. Near Tomoko's place was Meguro River where hundreds of cherry trees were still in bloom.

The cherry blossoms were on their last leg and the petals have started to fall but considering I haven't seen so many cherry blossoms in one place before, I thought this was paradise! I happily spent an hour taking pictures, admiring and marvelling at their beauty. I felt almost spiritual. One of my childhood dreams just came true! I was mesmerised by the way the petals fall out, just like snowflakes as they gently and gracefully sway with the wind.

Meguro River, Gotanda

The evening was a different experience altogether. Tomoko and I joined a bunch of Tokyo friends and fellow travellers at the New York Grill in Shinjuku and enjoyed the best vantage point of Tokyo. I was kicking myself for not bringing the camera. Oh well, another time.

After dinner, Tomoko and I went to meet up with an old colleague at a bar in Roppongi,  famous for its active nightlife. We went to a trendy bar which I later found out to be controlled by the Yakuza. It was surprisingly laid back, which made me suspicious even more.

A few more drinks and I was ready to hit the sack. I only had a few hours’ sleep since I left Sydney the night before so I was getting really tired. 

But I was so happy and excited to see my old friends and to see my first cherry blossoms. I savoured the moment and thought about the people who made it possible for me to be here. I felt the luckiest person in the world to have my whole family behind me. I missed them dearly and wished they were here with me too.

After packing my backpack for my trip to Osaka the next day, I was finally ready for bed. As I laid down on my futon bed, I have a big smile on my face and thought to myself, 'life is good' as I slowly drifted to sleep, dreaming about cherry blossoms and bullet trains.

Second instalment coming up in my next post:-) 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Probably the quickest way to be happy

“What I spent, I had; what I saved, I lost; what I gave, I have.”  German motto

I’ve always considered myself to be a fairly generous person. I’ve always been willing to help out whenever I can and would often go above and beyond to lend a hand. So imagine my surprise and indignation when someone pointed out that I’m actually quite stingy. Whaaaat? Me, stingy?

Oh yes, I was rather offended. How could someone even suggest I’m stingy? Normally, I would be defensive to a point where I might even lash out to this person. “How dare you call me stingy! Don’t you know how I helped this person? Do you even know who I am and what I do?” And so on and so on. That’s how I would normally handle this situation.

However, in this particular instance, I actually managed to stop myself getting defensive about the remark. I took it in and with all the restraint I could muster, I asked why she thinks I was stingy.

She told me that I don’t share enough. “What do you mean I don’t share enough?,” I asked, with anger rapidly surging through my voice. She calmly explained that I actually don’t share enough love and affection to others, especially those that are not close to me. She pointed out that I don’t share enough of myself to others so they too can benefit from my experiences and knowledge. She also said I tend to withdraw love and affection as easily when someone pisses me off, instead of clearing the air and working out a way to resolve the upset.

Those remarks jolted me. She was right. I have been stingy. In fact, I have been extremely selfish. I have been quick at cutting people off my life when they’ve done something to upset me and I have steadfastly refused to deal with people I don’t like. A lot of times, they don’t even know the reason why I don’t like them. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t deserve my love and affection so I ignore them. That’s the messed up part. People actually have to “deserve” my love and generosity first before they get it. Wow. No wonder I’ve been unable to form lasting and meaningful friendships and relationships. 

Realising how selfish I’ve been really shook me. I realised that if I continue behaving this way, I’d end up isolated, sad and alone. Not the kind of life I had in mind.

So I started sharing, cautiously at first. But I realised that there’s really no point in holding back. So I went on a sharing rampage. Well, not quite, but I shared more than I normally would have. I have a long way to go. It’s a work in progress, but the payoff has been amazing. I’ve been a happier person as a result.

Each time I do something for others without expecting anything in return, each time I share myself genuinely with others without them having to deserve it first, I get so much more than what I give. I feel happy instantly. It’s more effective than any mood-enhancing drug you could ever take (legally). It’s so true that the more you give, the more you receive. Don’t believe me? Try it and see for yourselfJ

Thursday, 23 May 2013

3 ways to beat your fear of not measuring up

By: Nila Sweeney

I've been wanting to blog for a very long time. I know it should have been a no-brainer as I've been writing for many years.

But I was very afraid of not measuring up to the “standards” set by the prominent bloggers out there. I was wracked with self-doubt.

Who would read my blogs? Will I be able to produce compelling articles that people want to read? Would people like what I write? There are already millions and millions of bloggers out there, who would care about what I have to say?

So I spent a couple more years consuming other’s work rather than creating them myself.

Then one day I realised, I’ve been letting my fear of not measuring up run the show. It’s been holding me back from pursuing the things that I really care about.

I realised that just because I’m new and unknown doesn’t mean I should give up the idea of blogging altogether. I may not be amazing yet but I can aim to be.  I can write honest and hopefully, helpful posts that people find relevant.

So far it’s been an interesting experience. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time. So how did I make the leap? Here are a few things that helped me get over my fear.

I stopped comparing myself with others
This is easier said than done. Even as I write this, my monkey mind is busy telling me that this subject matter have been done to death and there are better posts out there discussing this topic. And that I shouldn’t bother.

I now know that if I allow this voice to rule my action, I would stop. If I allow myself to compare my writing ability with others, I’d be utterly depressed and unable to proceed.

So instead of simply ignoring this nagging doubt, I face it squarely and acknowledge its presence and I keep on blogging anyway.

I focused on the things that I’m good at
This step is harder than I thought. That’s why I find it really difficult to put together my resume. I feel uneasy talking about the things that I’m good at.

When I first attempted this exercise, I could not list more than three qualities I see in myself. I’ve taken for granted so many things that I do well because I see them as rather “normal” and nothing too special. I thought anyone could do them, given training and time.

What I realised is that I can do and have done a lot of pretty exceptional things. I also became present to the vast knowledge on various subjects that I carry around and that I’ve taken for granted for a very long time. Taking stock of my strength made me aware how much more I can offer as a human being.

So try it. Make a list of everything that you’re capable of doing.  List all your strengths and accomplishments, no matter how trivial they look to you.

The aim here is not to brag about your achievements, but to get reacquainted with your innate greatness.

I learned to accept my flaws
Becoming aware of my limitation but not allowing it to control me has been another breakthrough for me.

I know I don’t have a perfect body, and I’m ok with that. I know that I have many character flaws such as procrastination and being judgmental, so I’m working on improving those areas. Instead of using these flaws to measure myself unfairly with others, I now see them as an opportunity to improve myself.

Comparing ourselves with others is completely unnecessary. It only makes us miserable, depressed and even jealous.

Instead of focusing on the things that you do not currently have, look at the things that are now present in your life, all the people in your life and the good fortune that you’re enjoying. That’s right. You have everything you need to live a happy and satisfying life, right now.

You may also want to read my article No Time To Lose for an extra dose of inspiration:-)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

A simple way to avoid disappointments forever

Living a fulfilled life could be as simple as doing more exploring and less expecting.

By Nila Sweeney

As I sit here writing about exploration, not expectation, I can’t help but feel a bit like a phony. Of course, I expect myself to come up with brilliant prose about this very subject.

It's ironic isn't it, how we set ourselves up for disappointments without even realising it. It's like an automatic setting in our brain. Every time we do something, we attach to it an expectation of a certain outcome, which prevent us from being open to other possibilities.

When we create expectations rather than exploring what’s possible, we close ourselves off from potential breakthroughs because our expectations dictate how we do things. We exclude other possibilities because we get so fixated with certain outcomes. We miss out on potential opportunities.

When we set expectations around people and ourselves, we're really not giving them, or us, for that matter, a chance. They have to be a certain way, or things should be this way or else...Yes, or else we judge it a failure.

Taking for example my yoga practice. Like many A-type personalities out there, I'm a very driven person. I want to be always at the peak of my game. I have to be able to do certain things well at all times. If not, then I judge myself as a failure because I couldn’t do certain things on certain days. Instead of focusing on being in tuned with my body just like what yoga intended, I'm more preoccupied about looking good and proving to myself and others that I can do it.

When we let our ego and desire run the show, we're setting ourselves up for disappointments or in the case of my yoga practice, injuries. We're limiting the potential outcome in a bid to control the results. When we let go of our need to control, when we soften our stance towards how things should be, when we let go of the shoulds and musts, we're opening ourselves to limitless possibilities and the joy of the unexpected outcome.

The joy of being an explorer

I love the word explorer, the same way I love the word adventurer. They connote so much excitement and uncertainties with just a hint of danger. I aspire to be one and I’m currently working on being an explorer and adventurer in my remaining life.

So I've experimented and tested the theory that you gain more by trying to let go of a preconceived outcome. I started to apply this to my yoga practice.

Rather than forcing my body to do certain poses, I start my practice with the intention of pushing myself to the edge to see how far I can take my practice, and at the same time be open to what comes up. While this may sound like I am still trying to control the outcome, the difference this time is that I do so with softness, openness and compassion to myself. This simple act of setting an intention works wonder in making my practice more enjoyable. I continue to grow and advance my yoga practice without forcing.

Finding the balance between effort and surrender comes as a result of exploring what my body can do. It’s about knowing when to push it to the limit and knowing when to pull back. When I go through my practice without 'forcing' it, I often come away more satisfied with myself. When I discover that my body can do certain things,  it becomes a celebration. It's no longer a yardstick by which I measure myself worth.

I now apply the same principle with my dealings with other people. I used to create certain expectations around my relationships with them and consciously or unconsciously, I act, driven by those expectations. Rather than be open to other possibilities, I sometimes “manipulate” the outcome by some sneaky tactics such as applying pressure onto the other person. Rather than going with however the relationship is meant to be at that point, I ‘force’ the outcome, sometimes to the point of threatening the other person to commit or do things or else I banish them from my life.

Now when I’m with others or meeting people for the first time, I consciously drop all my preconceptions and judgement. I go with an open and curious mind and be open to how things will turn out. When I treat the encounter as an adventure, there was no way for me to lose, only reap the reward of meeting another human being.

Being an explorer is a more fun way to live. It allows you to see things differently. You are in constant discovery. You see things you’d otherwise miss because you were not looking for a specific outcome. You’re open to anything. Suddenly the world becomes your oyster.

Adopting a beginner's mind

There’s something exciting about being a newbie. The rush of discovering something new is a wonderful feeling. Your mind is ready to soak up and learn new things. It prompts curiosity and adventure.

Remember when you’re young and raring to learn anything? I remember the first time I worked in a newsroom. Being a civil engineering graduate and has no previous work experience in television journalism, being thrown in the deep end as a news assistant is the most-nerve wracking yet immensely exciting experience. I was so excited; I was literally jumping out of my skin. I felt so alive. It was a sink or swim situation. So I approached the challenge with open mind and heart and learned everything that I could within the shortest possible time.

I asked a lot of questions, I asked for help. I had no expectations about myself. I treated the challenge as pure exploration and self-discovery: to see if I have what it takes to make it into television journalism. Of course I pushed myself to the limit. There was no way I would not give this opportunity my best shot. But I did it with the attitude that I have no control of the outcome and therefore deliberately didn’t set any expectations. I worked hard and learned everything that I could, out of gratitude for this life-changing opportunity.  Needless to say, I made it and ended up working in broadcasting for about 10 years. I worked my way through to associate produce/writer position at CNBC Asia and then later at CNN International.

Being a beginner can be quite scary, because it exposes our lack of knowledge or expertise in certain areas. But rather than looking at it as a weakness, a better approach will be to look at it as a great opportunity to learn new things and skills. It’s when we’re learning new things and new way of doing things that we grow as human beings.

Adopting a beginner’s mind in everything that we do help us to relax and explore. Our interaction with others becomes more meaningful. When we treat each encounter as a chance to explore, we open ourselves to anything. When we simply explore and not expect anything, we save ourselves unnecessary disappointments. We become a happier, more content human being.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

How to suffer less and live a happier life

When we’re in pain, we tend to focus on what it is that’s making us suffer, which perpetuates more suffering. Yet, by simply shifting our focus, we could lessen our pain and be happier human beings. 
By: Nila Sweeney

My favourite yoga teacher told us an interesting story the other day about this famous guru who trained among the monks. Every night, they will wake up at around midnight to meditate until sunrise. At some point this guru complained to the head monk that his left foot is getting too sore, by which the head monk responded: “Focus on the other foot, the one that’s not hurting.”

How elegantly simple, yet, effective when we take this advice to heart! How often do we focus on what’s not working in our lives, ignoring those bits that are? If you’re like me, pretty much all the time!

It’s messed up, I know. For example on a physical level, when we have a headache, we take it for granted that our legs, our senses and our heart are still functioning perfectly. We get so caught up with the pain or sensation of having a headache that we become miserable, as though nothing is working in our lives.

We also tend to focus on our “flaws”. My butt is too big; my arms too flabby, my thighs too thick or my breast are too small or saggy. We conveniently ignore the fact that our “big” butt bears the weight of our body, our “flabby” arms enable us to do things like eat or type in our laptops and our “thick” thighs take us places.

Applying this to the different areas of our lives such as family, finances, relationships or work, we can see how easily we become despondent with every bump that comes our way.

Focusing on what’s working in our lives does not mean ignoring or even pretending the pain is not there. It’s acknowledging both the suffering and the good fortune that we currently enjoy.

I know it’s not easy to be happy when you have a toothache or a splitting headache or just been separated from the love of your life. However, our misery would be so much worse if we nurture this feeling of suffering instead of looking for the things that are actually not “broken” in our lives.

So how do we focus on the “other foot”? Here are some of my thoughts and own techniques on how we can apply this to every aspect of our lives.

When you’re suffering physically, acknowledge the pain and see if there’s something you can do to eliminate or at least lessen the suffering. If there is, then there is no need to compound your suffering by worrying about it. If there isn’t, the more reason for you not to worry.

Appreciate the fact that other parts of your body are still functioning perfectly.
You still have your eyes that can see the blue sky, the beautiful faces of the people you love and the redness of a rose. Be thankful that you have a pair of lovely lips that bring smiles, ears that can hear your love ones’ laughter and a heart that works tirelessly to support your life.

When one of our family members is not in a good space, we tend to focus solely our attention to “fixing” them and making them better, while ignoring the other members who are in better shape. We tend to devout almost all our time getting this family member back on track. In the meantime, the other people in our lives are not getting much attention from us. We rationalise that they don’t need us as much as this suffering member does.

In a way, this is true. However, this creates more pain in the long run as animosity and resentment arise instead of compassion towards the suffering member.

Acknowledge the other members and let them know through your words and deeds that they matter as much as the suffering member. Tell them that they are important to you and show your appreciation by spending as much quality time and attention to them, as you can possibly can.

When it comes to finances, we tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we have. We get jealous when we see others earning more money and accumulating more material stuff than us. This drives us to pursue money endlessly and in the process sacrificing other aspects of our lives. Time and time again, this is proven to end in more suffering.

Instead, focus on what you already have. Are you earning enough to support yourself or your family? Do you have enough financial resources to do as much of the things you want to do and still help others in the process?

Then you already have more than enough to live a happy life. Giving up the feeling of “not having enough” will give way to contentment and peace of mind. Just look at how some people continue to struggle no matter how much money they make.

It’s not about how much you have but how you make what you have enough for you right now.

If you want to bring in more money, sure, go for it. But do it for the right reason. Do it because you enjoy doing what you do. When you do things out of love, you’ll sure to see good fortune flows through your life.

Bringing in focus to the things that are working in our relationship rather than those that are not undoubtedly results in happier, juicier and more satisfying relationships.

As humans we tend to focus on the negative aspects of our relationships, making it less satisfying and fulfilling than it can be.

Focusing on your partner’s “annoying” habits for example will diminish his importance in your eyes. You would get fixated with this habit that everything you do would be coloured by your secret or not so secret disdain. Meanwhile, you’d overlook his or her redeeming qualities. You’d take for granted all the other things you love about this person. As you can imagine, a relationship built on this premise can’t grow and flourish. 

It’s not about putting up with abusive relationship. It’s about accepting the small quirks that all of us have.

Yes, we all have things we don’t like about our work. We don’t like our boss, we dislike having to travel far for work or we simply don’t like parts of our work.

Guess what this makes and leaves us? You got it! Unhappy and dissatisfied. Many of us would focus on the things we perceive as making us suffer. We get more and more frustrated and unhappy because the things we don’t like get magnified. It’s true, the more we focus on the things that we don’t like, the worse they become. They become real, even if we were just imagining them at the start.

If you are employed, there are things that are out of your control. Obviously you have no control of who your boss is going to be, where your work is located and other decisions that are made by your company that impacts your work and life.

What can you do? Lots. Instead of focusing and complaining about how things are not working, look at ways to eliminate if not reduce these things. If you can’t and you’re increasingly unhappy, you do have the option to leave and look for other employment.

The point is, there may be aspects of your job that you enjoy, such as the friendships you built over time, the flexibility, the autonomy or simply the fact that you are making a difference to others.

It’s easy to ignore all these positive aspects of life when we’re too focused on the painful experiences we’re suffering. Focusing on the good fortune that we have, with our health, finances, families, relationships and work goes a long way to making us happier and more satisfied human being.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post.

You may also want to read How to Bounce Back from Failure.