Category Archives: Philosophy

Appreciation and Gratitude

Being grateful is an amazing state to be in. It is also one of the harder states to be in because we live in a world of consistent consumption and advancement. There is marketing everywhere telling us that we need this or that in order for us to be happy. We must advance in our careers and accumulate more wealth. Everything we do is a means to an end, therefore we cannot and will not be content until our dreams and goals are achieved. Yet the moment we achieved our goals, we create new ones to replace them right away.

I know many people who believed in this. My traditional Asian family and many Asian families (Chinese ones that I know of) are like this. Nothing is more important than money. If you are not spending time making money, you are wasting time. If you don’t make a lot of money, you are useless and worthless. There is a huge emphasis and attention towards the future. We must make sure that our future is bright and having more money is one of the solutions that they found.

At first I didn’t understand why so many traditional Asians are like that. Why do they focus so much on academic success, money, statuses, and other material things? It didn’t make sense to me, but I gradually came to understand their thoughts and actions. They are driven by their conditioned survival instincts. Wealth and prosperity gives them a sense of security. Many of my family members, especially the old ones like my parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents all grew up poor.

I’ve heard stories from my parents and uncles about their past hardships. My paternal grandparents passed away early, so my dad had to fend for himself. He dropped out of school early and worked to support the family. My Uncle Chan slept in a car and had to split a burger with his wife when he first came to America. Continue reading

Be a Lifelong Learner

We live in an information age. So much knowledge is accessible right under our finger tips. We can search online for countless information on topics that are just as endless. It is a marvel sight to behold. I cannot stress enough how seemingly unlimited amount of resources are out there for free.

Just within the internet we have: websites dedicated to online courses and educational videos; forums for countless discussions; free e-books; and competitions. With so many opportunities for learning and growth, there is practically nothing that a person can’t learn.

I don’t know if you understand the magnitude of what I’m saying, but it is simply AMAZING.

Want to learn the technical skills that plumbers, electricians, and carpenters know? You can do that.

Want to learn a different language, perhaps even a computer programming language? You can do that.

Want to learn how to travel around the world on a tight budget, or learn how to be a digital nomad? You can do that.

Want to become an entrepreneur by creating your own company, hiring freelancers, or learning how to sell your own products? You can do that.

Any questions you can come up with, there is a very high possibility that someone out there already has the answer.

All that is required of you is to ask the right questions. Ask the questions, search them up, and learn. That is how the journey of a lifelong learner begins. Continue reading

Lessons from Death

My first encounter with death was when I was 5 years old. My maternal great grandma died during that time. I remembered very vague details from her funeral. But the only thing I remembered clearly was her inanimate body positioned upright on a chair. The funeral director had combed her hair and dressed her up in a traditional Chinese qipao. She sat there motionlessly, but her lifeless eyes stared forward.

Before her, many of my relatives stood shoulders to shoulders around her. My maternal grandma was on her knees wailing and crying out loudly. My grandpa was standing there stoic in his outward appearance, but suffering on the inside. My aunts, uncles, and parents all had their own fair share of misery, emotional outbreak, and silence. I stood there behind them, but I didn’t share in their emotion of misery and loss. I was too young to understand that, but I did feel something that day. I felt fear. Continue reading

Epiphany

“You guys know what an epiphany is right?” Mrs. Robinson, my 11th grade English teacher spoke out to the rest of the class. “It’s an experience of sudden realization when you gain a new and deeper perspective on a situation. Have any of you experienced this before?”

I slowly raised my head from my daydreaming posture, where I fixed my eyes blankly on my rectangular desk. My eyes were wide open.

“What did she just say?” I paused, trying to take in the message behind her words. I tilted my head to stare straight at my English teacher with anticipation.

“There is a name for such an experience???” I thought while waiting patiently for her to speak again.

Mrs. Robinson eyed the classroom looking for a reply to her question before continuing her story. Her head gently rotated around her neck as she made a swift, circular motion to stare at all her students.

“When I was young, I never really understood why my family members are so loud. It bothered me. Each time when they had a conversation, they would raise their volume for no reason. I couldn’t understand why they always interrupt each other by raising their voice, but one day I had an epiphany.” She paused to gather her deep thoughts.

“I realized that was how my family members communicate with others. They spoke loudly because they just wanted to be heard. They interrupt others because they don’t have the capacity to hear what others have to say. They are concerned about their own problems, and they all want to express them. So when they speak, they hope that their voices could be heard, but no one was willing to listen. Everyone wanted to be understood, but no one was reaching out to understand others. I…” Mrs. Robinson breathed deeply and exhaled. “I was no longer bothered by their loud voices anymore…” Continue reading

What is the Meaning of Life?

The hour hand stuck 9 PM on the old wooden clock hanging above the entrance door to my parent’s Chinese restaurant. As if driven by instinct, one by one everyone stopped whatever they were doing. The waiters and my parents sprinted into the kitchen. Within a minute or two, groups of them came pouring out the large kitchen door holding metal insert pans filled with traditional Chinese food. The day was almost over and it was time for dinner.

Dinner at the restaurant felt like a tradition; we always ate at the same time. But that day was different. Why? Because it was the day I asked my parents for the meaning of life. As a 14 year old kid going through puberty, I was in a phase when I was questioning my existence. For days, weeks, and perhaps months I had been pondering about the meaning of life. I wanted to know the reason for my being, the absolute purpose for why I exist. Continue reading