The Anger First Aid Kit

We all know what usually happens when we allow anger to get to us. We say things we do not intend to say. We fight. We throw things. We get worked up and stressful and cause havoc to everybody. And usually we regret after that.

Thus it is important to remind ourselves to keep our cool when we’re instigated.

Here’s 3 things we can do to when we feel like we are going to blow up:

1. Take a deep breath

Immediately after hearing spiteful words, remember to take a deep breath. The result is that you will feel less angry immediately. After that, continue with taking breaths until you reach a much calm state. Works well with closing your eyes.

2. Chanting

When you’re provoked, chanting is a really useful method. You don’t need to go attend chanting sessions but for anger management purposes, just chant “Amituofo” repeatedly and visualize Buddha’s peaceful demeanour and him sitting in a lotus position. Seeing his calm state will help to reduce the anger immediately.

3. Walk away

Imagine yourself as a wall. Nothing can affect you no matter how the other party bangs at it. Go to a park. Go and sleep. Meditate. You don’t need to deny that you are angry. The fact is that you are angry and walking away can help to cool our heads.

The best way to deal with provocation is not to react. 

The Beauty of Giving

When we give, we should give with our heart.

Nowadays, big corporations give to the needy. They hold a huge ceremony with all the press. Their names, CEOs, directors, are splashed all over the newspaper and internet.

Their companies gets awards for being charitable. They get tax cuts. They get a say in how the charities are run. They get publicity. They get more businesses.

Sometimes, we should try to give. Give without expecting anything in return. Give when nobody is looking. If we can do that, then we can truely experience the meaning and joy of giving.

The 2 Disadvantages of Minimalism

Like everything, there’s always 2 sides- the good and the bad. Minimalism is the same. By recognizing the problems, we can avoid falling into the bad side of it. So here’s the 2 disadvantages of minimalism:

1. Addicted to Minimizing

Hoarding is unhealthy as we continuously seek to accumulate stuff which result in physical and mental clutter. This is exactly what minimalism is preventing, as it believes that clutter is mostly detrimental to our happiness. 

However, on the other extreme, someone who strongly relates themselves to minimalism may become obssessed with items. Just that in this case, it is constantly thinking of things to rid, rather than keep.

Which causes the paradox of not being able to achieve a clearer mind, which practising minimalism usually promotes.

2. No Back-up

Many minimalists out there advise that if we do not need an item for a certain period of time, or if the item cost less than a certain amount, we should sell, give, or throw it away. Usually failing to address the “what ifs” and “just in case” situations. Instead, just brushing these problems off.

Throwing away and find out later that it is actually useful and important is real for many minimalists. 

When is Enough?

I grew up thinking that life is about constantly growing bigger, faster, stronger. And also accumulating more and more. But nobody ever taught me what is the benchmark? When is enough? 

It always seemed like there’ll not be a definite answer to enough. Is 1 million enough? 2 million? Seemed like noone really knows the answer. 

Obviously, everybody’s enough is different. And it is very difficult to give a standard. It also seemed like few people have the courage to advise on an amount (if we are talking about money here). Most expert writers will take the readers for a ride around 2 pages of article and arrive at a non-conclusive conclusion.

Do a research and you’ll see most studies find that an annual salary of $75,000 seemed to be the optimal happy number. Meaning, not working to our death for anything more while having less may affect of desired lifestyle.

My definition of enough is when we can have food on the table, shelter above our heads, take care of our family, able to give and help people who need our help. Other necessities like transportation fees, education, medical, clothings are taken care of. We also need to have savings and have allocations for our investment funds. 

Lastly, what’s life without a little travelling, coca-cola, and french fries.

Should I Carry Credit Cards?

Credit cards have become a society norm in this generation. Not only are they used for convenience purpose, the heaps of benefits, rebates and cashbacks have made carry them only sensible.

On the other hand, financial guru Dave Ramsey’s outright rejection of using them due to fear of misuse and financial collapse makes people question whether we should or should not carry them.

My point of view is that if I am buying a $3,000 thing, for example a diamond ring, or a laptop, and my credit card gives me a 3% cashback, which is $90. It is hard to say “No” to $90. What if I am spending $10,000 or what if the cashback is 5% instead of 3%? Isn’t it make more sense to utilise the credit card?

However, I know the suffering of the consequences of not being able to pay our credit card bills. The debt snowballs and turn into an avalanche in a blink of an eye.

So, should I or should I not carry a credit card?

I have devised a solution to this question. Yes, you can carry credit cards if you can follow ALL the following 4 commandments:

1. Pay back your usage on the same day

This will not allow you to forget about your purchases and forgot to pay your bills.

2. Pay only what you can afford

Do i need to say more?

3. Keep track of what you spend with your credit card on a separate spreadsheet

This will ensure that you are aware of what you have paid and not. Sometimes, the charges do not reflect immediately or the next day. This will address the problem of forgetting about your charges.

4. Have a bi-weekly “Check Your Credit Cards Day”

Do a run through on all your credit cards. Bi-weekly so you will not miss any annual fees that you need to waive and forgot about. Or any payment charges that you may miss and have late charges incurred.

If you are unable to ahere to these rules, then maybe you should think twice about carry credit cards.

Happy Vesak Day

Throughout my life, Vesak Day is just another public holiday. I never understood the significance of this day.

2000 years ago, Buddha spread his teachings and made the world a better place. And Vesak Day became a day we celebrate this great man and all that he gave to us.

A day we should remember to give. A day we can spread our love. A day we let go of our sufferings. A day we should practise compassion.

So, while I spend my Vesak Day reading Dhamma, eat a vegetarian meal, meditate, and give, I wish you a happy Vesak Day.

What Can We Change?

Recently, a hardworking colleague of mine was asked to leave due to redundancy. Today, one of our chiefs decided to ride into the sunset.

These scenerios causes panic as suddenly, people come to realize that their jobs aren’t permanent. When companies decide to move their departments to a lower cost territory. Or outsourcing. When technologies replaces people. When old people are replaced by younger, cheaper ones. When new bosses come in and want to leave a legacy and make huge changes.

All these did not happen just last week. These has been an on-going process since the birth of mankind- Change.

We cannot stop changes. The only constant is change. We cannot stop the new CEO from replacing the old one. However, we can do something. We can continuously try to improve ourselves. We can contribute as much as we can. We can upgrade our skills and knowledge. We can minimalize our desires just in case we have to accept a lesser role and salary.

Moaning and groaning will not change anything. Only by changing how we think and putting in effort to change ourselves will.