Tag Archives: Zen

Better is not always more complex (2012.W39)

(Ending Sunday 30 September 2012)

Let me introduce you the weekly challenge by a personal story:

Two years ago, I move in with Cindy to a new flat. The flat was very nice, but there were a problem with the elevator. It just stinks, and not just a little. I have talked with neighbors and turned out the smell has always been there. It is impossible to get rid of it…

Few months passed, and I’m still annoyed with this elevator smell. I finally come to a solution. As we can see in the picture below:

I have to say I was quite proud to find this solution. And to my big surprise, people were refilling the perfume tank one after another.

The solution was not a perfect one as the refill is not cheap; and because of the small space of the elevator when pushing for perfume, the odor was quite strong.

It is only few weeks ago while doing gardening that I have the idea to use flower from Thai basilica in the elevator!! To my surprise, few branches of the basilica overcome the bad smell in a most natural way!!

I come to realize that the solution to my problem was so simple. Instead of thinking about the basics using most natural ingredients, I directly consider using ready-made commercial chemical perfume. The device used consists of plastic, metal and gas to spray the perfume. It is so much additional pollution for a small problem of a smell.

I hope I don’t bored you with my story. But it seems, when I share the story to few friends, we tend to over-thinking the problems and directly go for complex solutions, forgetting to look for simple solutions first.

So I encourage you to look carefully on how you deal with uncomfortable situations or annoyances and examine your solutions, see if there is any better and simpler solution.

Feel free to share your discovery and highlight to other reader with your new solutions.

If you want some simpler and interesting solutions/ideas for daily trivial matters: click –> 1, 2, 3.

Challenge: Examine on how we deal with discomforts or annoyances and see if there is better and simpler solution.
Extra Challenge:
Goals: Make life easier
Time required: Low
Energy level: Low
Preparation: Keep in mind the challenge as you do daily activities

* Encourage and support us by sharing this post with your friends or clicking “LIKE” if you like our post:)

Don’t forget to share with us your experiences and how your life has changed because of the challenge!!

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Weekly


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Shift Your Focus on Something that Best Works for You!!

In life, what we place our focus on is where we experience our emotions and where our energy is invested!

The ability to “Shift Your Focus” is a very powerful and useful technique in life. No one is promised with a wonderful, easy and smooth life. Nor anyone is promised with a harsh, laboring and bumpy life. Some believe destiny is pre-meditated; some believe destiny is in our hands. No matter which one you believe, one always have the choice on WHAT TO FOCUS ON in life. What we place our focus on, is where we experience our emotions and where our energy is invested. If we focus on the negative emotions, our energy is spent on experiencing the negative emotions. In this case, why not turn the situation around and optimize the advantages, choose to see and focus on the beautiful, positive sides of life which make us experiencing the positive emotions and spend our energy more productively on generating more positive energy?

Choose “What Works” for us to achieve a life we desire. Remember we have the ABSOLUTE CHOICES in the ways we want to present ourselves to the world.

When things happened out of expectation, people tends to response more negatively than positively, consciously or unconsciously. When things went wrong, it is easier to blame others than taking up the blame. When a child wants to try something new, it is easier for the parents to tell(demotivate) the child by saying, “.. listen to me, I can tell you that it will not work..”, so that the parents may in the name of protection, not to worry for their child’s failure. At home, when a wife expresses her intention to go back to work place, it is easier for a husband to say(demotivate), “ haven’t work for a long while, I don’t think people will take you..”, instead of taking the time encouraging, preparing and supporting his wife’s emotional needs. We may be the one response negatively, consciously or unconsciously; we may also be the one receiving the negative feedback.

We have no controls over others, what they will say, what they will do or the impacts they bring to us. However we have the choice to decide on which part of what we hear that we would like to accept and allowing which part of impacts into our lives. When an event happens, the event is neutral. It is our beliefs, perceptions and experiences highlights certain details for us to focus on and attach the relevant emotions onto the events. In other words, if we are not consciously aware and let our negative beliefs, perceptions and experiences leading us to FOCUS negatively on the event, we will EXPERIENCE and even magnify the negative emotions, as well as spending our ENERGY on incubating the negative energy pool.

Why do we choose to focus on things which do not serve our well being in life?

  • What will our life be if we only CHOOSE something that works best for us and leaving no room for negative thoughts or feelings?
  • What will we be, as an individual, if we FOCUS on something that nurtures and energizes us, instead of wearing and tiring us down?
  • What will your marriage be if instead of thinking if I am marrying the right person, FOCUS on if I am being the right person in this marriage?
  • What will our kids be if we show our strong faith in them and continuously giving them the positive security, encouragement and support?

We may go on forever to explore the possibilities of “What if…” as much as we like. But we will never know until we put some actions into it!!

Let’s do an exercise right away! Take a current situation that you are worrying or afraid of. Reflect in parallel with my example. Loic is going to see a dentist in 2 weeks time. He is afraid of the sound of and the pain caused by a drill. (Actually me too!) First thing we need to realize is that FEAR is not absence of BRAVE. It’s just that we FOCUS so much on FEAR that we forget BRAVE is also there! They are co-exist! The more Loïc FOCUS on FEAR, the more scary and painful experiences he will anticipate and EXPERIENCE, so all his ENERGY will be spent on worrying and in fear. So if Loic tries to SHIFT THE FOCUS to BRAVE, to EXPERIENCE the positive reassuring of things will go well and spend ENERGY on something that best work for him, i.e. understand what the dentist will do, ensure dentist performs proper anesthesia, focusing on the ultimate benefits, a good tooth with no pain after the event, these may help to reduce and control the FEAR. Another effect way to SHIFT THE FOCUS is to focus on the beautiful dentist assistant 😛

Another recent example is a heart-breaking event from a friend of mine. After the break-up, her focus is entirely on “What’s wrong with me?”. Obviously she continues to experience the emotions of being sad, rejected, abandoned and inadequate; not to mention her energy is invested in lashing herself and on how to be a better girlfriend (for the man who did not appreciate who she is). If she CHOOSES to FOCUS on “It’s no one’s fault and nothing wrong with anyone. Things happen. I am hurt and I don’t like the situation. However I did give my best efforts in this relationship. Now I value who I am and how much I worth, despite the outcome of the relationship. If this relationship does not serve for us anymore, it is better to end sooner than later. I want to learn from the relationship, not let the relationship demotivates me.” In this case, even the negative emotions are still remain, but at least the the emotions are not being magnified and her energy will be spent more on how do I heal and encourage myself out of the situation faster.

Let’s Shift Your Focus on Something that Best Works for You!!

Be the Master of Your Own Beliefs!
Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better


Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Articles, Thoughts


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Checked on 2012 Week 1 Challenge “Getting Rid of Useless Stuff”

Don't worry, we keep our kitty

In response to our weekly challenge, we did some serious cleaning.

It was difficult at the beginning, because we don’t know where to start. But after some time we became crazy. Like you can see in the picture bellow:

We also put some stuff which we were hesitating to throwing away in the cellar [to be throw away soon]

I was concerned to have an empty feeling after throwing all the stuff; but it was quite the contrary. I’m feeling having much more free space which made the home look bigger and cleaner.

It was also quite surprising to see that we dug out lot of stuff we have long gone forgotten. A some point the cleaning was looking like a treasure hunt. We made a special bag for things to be given away. It did take some time, but it totally worth it.

Begin the year with a clean Zen home and you feel you can achieve anything! :p

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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Checked, Weekly


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2012 Week 1 – Getting Rid of Useless Stuff

Bucket Challenge:
Making Some Room for 2012!

(Ending Sunday 8th January 2012)

Stepping into a new year 2012, it’s time to make some space for the new beginning at our home! In life, we accumulate so many stuff as years go by. We have kept so many stuff that most of the time our home become messy and occupied.

In the society now days, people are obsessed with ‘stuff’. To complete the void in life, we buy ‘stuff’, we keep ‘stuff’ and we reminisce on the ‘stuff’. And yet, this does not make our lives more meaningful, but just a bigger mortgage 🙂 So why don’t we try to leave our ‘stuff’ behind and pursue a more meaningful life that is not fulfilled by ‘stuff’?!

The 1st challenge in 2012 requires us to throw away at least 20 stuffs we own. Instead of throwing away, you may choose to give away, sell on eBay, do a garage sales or donate to charities.

It can be pretty hard and emotional to throw away ‘precious’ stuffs that we have kept for ages. But let’s admit it, how many of those kept stuff are in daily use? Perhaps you keep them in the garage, basement, or bottom shelves, in case one day, you might need them… Really? The challenge here is to say farewell to these stuff. I know one quote from somewhere:”If your hands are holding on something old, you will not able to catch something new.

Alternatively, an easy interim step to throw away stuff is to create an interim purgatory. Gather all the stuff together which are to be throw away in your garage or in boxes. Leave them for 3 months (or less) for final reminiscence; then when the time comes, just close your eyes and throw them away or give to friends.

Challenge: Throw away at least 20 stuff
Okay, cleaning your computer folders counting as 1 😛 You still have 19 other things to trow away 😉

Extra Challenge:

Throw away old unhealthy habits or beliefs! Leave room for the new ones!!


Be more detach with ‘stuff’ and focus on true things.
Time required: 1-day
Energy level: Low to medium
Preparation: Spare a day, get some trash bag, close your eyes and ready to throw, create an eBay account, make some advertisement for garage sales…etc.

For More Reading:

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Weekly


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Be the Master of Your Own Beliefs!

In fact every day, we response to the events in our lives based on our conscious or unconscious beliefs. When is the last time you have a new belief? Or create a belief for yourself? Were you aware when you adopted or created that belief? Or just let the new adopted belief dictates what and how you suppose to be?

Are you the master of your beliefs or the beliefs dictate who you are?

Chances are high that we all had one or many heart breaking experiences with our ex-lovers. When the relationship ended, amongst all the negative feelings and thoughts we had, we took up new beliefs unconsciously while we were making statements like, “all men/women are the same, they are selfish and only care about themselves…”, “I shouldn’t have believed him/her, whoever cheated before would cheat again…” or “I can never trust man/woman again, it’s just full of lies and excuses…” and many other more. So we enter our next relationship with these new beliefs and hoping the outcome of this new relationship will be somehow different from our beliefs. We in fact having contradicting beliefs to what we really want to believe; at the same time, these contradicting beliefs are limiting us to give 100% of ourselves to this new relationship.

Beliefs in relationship is just one aspect of our lives. There are beliefs related to family, health, work, personal development and money. Not to mention if you have a religious background and associated beliefs.


Beliefs that have been given to us as a child can be further embraced, modified for better or removed. Human beings are social animals, sometimes compromising in beliefs could happen (just to make others happy). If you CHOOSE to compromise, be happy about your compromising. No complaints or back firing afterward. Be responsible! If you really don’t want to compromise, MAKE A DECISION to adopt a new belief that will give you self-assurance on your beliefs. A belief like the below might be helpful:

Once you take on the above belief, ‘compromising’ will not appear as the only way; and you will need the courage to stand firm for what you believe in and make it clear to others.

I believe: “Everything is possible, as long as I give my very best.” There is a hard truth that it is just not the case in some circumstances; however I am always encouraged by this belief to go an extra mile, to find more alternatives, options and not to stop or give up at the first obstacle. And I still choose to stand firm on this belief.

The limiting aspect of a belief
There are always two sides of a coin. Beliefs that I take as positive influence may have their negative aspects too.

Just take the belief I have above as an example, “Everything is possible, as long as I gave my very best.” when I don’t achieve my goals, I start to judge myself on not giving ‘my very best‘; otherwise I would have achieved the goals. I lash myself to give more efforts (normally on the same actions which I have been doing already, instead of smart thinking and find other solutions). I become more and more stubborn in achieving the goals and start blaming myself for still not achieving the goals! It’s all just because I believe I am not giving ‘my very best‘! The belief has limited myself from being open-minded about my results, from seeing a new possibility of alternative solutions, as well as recognizing and appreciating ‘my very best‘ efforts.

And yet, I have not mentioned when I impose the same beliefs over others and start thinking they are not giving their very best… Just try not to copy what I did, imposing own beliefs over others… life will be much easier if we just accept others’ beliefs which we are not necessary agree.

Our Beliefs are Our Perceptions
Our beliefs reflect our perceptions which sometimes might not be true and may be distorted according to our own past experiences and unconscious wishes. We need to fully understand the source of our perceptions and make a clear distinction on if the source is factual or based on emotions and past experiences. To drill down to the source of our perception enables us to release ourselves from false perception we had, hence to alter our beliefs.

The main message of this article is:
to know our own beliefs, the limiting aspects of the beliefs and to make new choices. So that we may grow strong with the beliefs we consciously choose and at the same time not to be limited by these beliefs! How to Examine and Challenge Your Own Beliefs?!

Join us with our weekly challenge, Challenge Your Beliefs and find out more about our own beliefs!

More Readings:
“Belief Works” by Ray Dodd (A book that I am currently reading)
Examining Your Beliefs
Changing Core Beliefs
The First Step in Changing Your Belief System
Remove a Limiting Belief in about 20 Minutes
Make A Choice – Stand Behind It And Believe In Yourself
“ReCreate Your Life” hosted by Morty Lefkoe
(I go through his free online materials and find it quite useful as it gives step-by-step guidance.)


Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Articles


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2012 Count Down Week 4 – No TV for a week!

Bucket Challenge: Free yourself from the screen (TV or Computer) for one week!

(Ending Sunday 11th December 2011)
This week’s challenge don’t requires us to do something but more about NO TO DO something. It’s sometimes harder for us NOT TO DO. Will you manage to pass the challenge?

Challenge: No TV for one week.
Don’t watch television or computer streaming for one whole week. This includes watching DVD, youtube, cinema…etc.

Extra Challenge:

Spend 1-day fully on reading a nice book. (or an activity you have always wanted to do)


Realise how much time we spend in front of TV or computer; discover what we can achieve if we invest this extra time on something else great.
Time required: all the hours you spend on TV or computer and 8 hours on reading (or something you like to do)
Energy level: Low to very high
Preparation: Unplug the TV power cable and ask a friend to keep for a week; buy a nice book or find out and schedule the activity you want to do.

–>Why this challenge<–






See Hsing’s My No TV week with Many Things I did in return …

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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Weekly


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Living in the Present!

Living in the present is a skill. Even if you train all your life for this skill, you will still not truly master it, however it is worth a try. To live outside off the body with the mind off the present or thinking the reality is not to live at all, it’s all very exhausting. Some people get crushed living today whilst trying to carry yesterday and be worried about tomorrow. They become powerless, always catching up with the back logs, demotivated to take actions and whirl-pooled into these repeated vicious circles.

The only way to avoid this is by fully engaging and living in the present. It can sound quite cheesy, but how many are you really living in the present? How many are you really enjoying your holiday without thinking about work or other matters? Some even bring their work, work cell phone, laptops to holiday. Perhaps you are not like this, I truly hope so. Take me as an example, as much as I try to focus on one thing at a time, sometimes I still fall into thinking about work while having dinner and thinking about dinner while doing work. Isn’t it sad that we can’t even fully enjoy one simple thing like eating?

The frog is so right!

It is impossible to fully enjoying and mastering our life without living in the present.

You will probably wonder how to acquire the skill of living in the present. The answer is quite simple, perhaps too simple: make sure always in control of your wandering mind and have a powerful attention focusing on the present activity that you are doing, on the person you are talking to or listening to, then just practising staying present! Each time your mind wanders against your own will, practice holding it firmly back into the present! See developing this skill like developing your muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. There are also other special exercises to help you staying in focus. Just like the one exercise we have selected below.

Seated Meditation:

Here are some basic explanations about seated meditation. Let’s keep it simple.

  • Find a quiet place and be sure nothing will interrupt or bother you, so your body can be relaxed and your mind can be in peace. Switch off your cellphone for the time will help too.
  • Sit on a flat surface with your legs crossed and back straight. Try to relax your crossed legs as much as possible, so that your knee is closer to the ground as possible. You may use cushion to make yourself more comfortable on the floor.
  • Now, close your eyes. If you want, place your eye sight on the tip of your nose (eyes are still closed) and follow your breathing. Focus totally on only on your breathing. Follow you breath and when your mind starts to wander off, bring it back again and again.
  •  Do this exercise for about 20 minutes on a daily basis as a start.

    Last two points before finishing the article:

    At the beginning, there will be lots of trivial thoughts on pending tasks coming in and going out. Let them be and take them down in a paper. Better yet, list out the pending tasks before starting the meditation. Thereafter you may fully focus on the meditation itself. Additional benefit by doing this is that now you may prioritize the pending tasks and begin with your day with the most important tasks first. You will feel much more efficient in completing tasks.

    Meditation is a tool to practise focusing and controlling your mind, it doesnt apply to a seated position only. It can be applied in everything you do. Focus yourself totally in what you are doing. Your productivity will rise and your stress level will drop. Try it out yourself!

    Join us for the weekly chanllenge on Living in the Present!

    Other Websites
    Embrace the Moment


    Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Thoughts


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