Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happiness, friends, clutter and life purpose


It is not hard to realise that the older you get, the more unhappy a person seems to be. When I look back at my own life and think about the period that I am genuinely happy, I can't reach a conclusion except perhaps of when I was young.

The funny thing was this I got unhappy the time when I started to give myself goals because I realised I am not such a perfect person as I thought I want to be or rather simply the fact that I have to sacrifice in order to achieve.

I had always felt that JC period was the best period of my life, simply because I felt that I had achieved the most both in terms of activities as well as relationships with friends. Well, the fact is this: It was probably possible because JC had this biased system whereby everything you were preparing for was much for the A' levels at the end of the 2 years. In university, I felt that I didn't have a good time – it was probably because I did not achieve a reasonable standard in studies or in personal activities.

This probably got to do with the fact that university life is in a short intense four month period and I have allowed myself to be negatively influenced by what I experienced. When I first got into NUS, the rampant copying and subsequent pre-examination “distribution” of answer just got into me and I was turned off by studies in certain areas.

When am I happy? I am really happy when I read a damn good book, I can feel the excitement rising inside me. I am damn happy when I cycle or do a certain outdoor activity – it just excites me. I am damn happy when I laugh out loud with friends or family.

Soon, you also come to realise that happiness is an attitude. There is a lot of sense in the Buddhist thought that no desire equals contentment. If you want to be happy, you need to be prepared for the downside.

Friends. Does friends change? Types of friends?

Before JC, I felt that I was not talking enough to people. After JC, I felt that I was talking too much to people, hearing people talk about the minute small little things in their lives. Now, I feel that I need to choose the right type of people to talk to. It is important to talk to people. To understand your friends and to share. There are some people whom you just want to hang around in a group just for fun, and very few whom you feel comfortable enough to be alone with. At times, you do not want to just sit around and talk about what has been going on in your life but rather discuss some life greater issues or just societal issues.

So I guess, the 2 types of friends I really like hanging around with: 1, Friends with whom I have lots of fun and 2) Someone with whom I not only talk about what has been going on in your or my life but rather also discuss about issues at large – be it as small as about relationships or as big as about the world issues. And I got the feeling that someone special in my life has to be able to do a bit of both. Clarification :having fun is not only about having a sense of humour but also being able to enjoy lots of outdo or/ exploring activities.


Recently as I read more about Branson, I come to feel that my life is too clustered. He doesn't use a palmtop, no internet etc and he does not run his organisation with a flowchart and/or organisational chart. Sometimes I feel that by my varied interest – reading into so many things and trying to do some review of them, I give myself so much tasks that I don't complete and then feel unhappy with myself.

Life Purpose

Now is the time to starts looking for jobs. What kind of job do I want? I want to educate the public about the environment but at the same time I feel that corporate is the way to go to attempt to change the world. Perhaps, also my experience in a non-profit makes me want to try for a corporate environment just for experience. Do I want to do a real engineer job? Do I want to try for a management trainee? Or for all that matters, do the companies even want me in a certain post given my type of grades. Questions and questions.

In the end, let me end with a question that was posed to Richard Branson:

Are you saying entrepreneurs should go into business without the bottom line in mind?

Ideally, since 80 percent of your life is spent working, you should start your business around something that is a passion of yours. If you're into kite-surfing and you want to become an entrepreneur, do it with kite-surfing.

Look, if you can indulge in your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you're just working. You'll work harder at it, and you'll know more about it. But first you must go out and educate yourself on whatever it is that you've decided to do - know more about kite-surfing than anyone else. That's where the work comes in. But if you're doing things you're passionate about, that will come naturally.

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