Focusing on the transformative complements

The other day I watched Dr Lissa Rankin’s talk on TEDx. She said the statement below and questioned us how do we think about it?

The caring for your body was the least important part of your health.”

Based on her research and experiences in practice, she brought in the term of “the Whole Health Medicine” (this is her website) and created a wellness model (see a diagram below). It indicates that our health symptoms are often shown on our feelings of our bodies, where we thought we have problems on, however these are the mirrors of our mind and our life surroundings. One of her suggestions is to switch from focusing on battling nuisance symptoms that decrease our quality of life to seeking and enhancing our own transformative complements such as love, pleasure, gratitude and service.


(image from

In Chinese, we often say “境由心转,相由心生“, which means that our perceptions of the world will change with the changes of our mind; whereas our outward appearance mirrors our heart. When I was a kid, to stop me being cheated by strangers, my grandparents told me that if I feel a stranger is not kind and nice though they may smile and try to be friendly, very likely they are not truly kind because their face and behaviors tell. I wouldn’t say this 100% works, but it has its reasons.

Another example is that we all heard something like “the first three minutes of a job interview are the most critical”, or “first impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues”.  Spontaneously when we present who we are – the best being of ourselves, we are giving people an impressive first impression. However, this spontaneous look is not pretended. It has been molded on our bodies by our mind in every day life. (N.B. here I am not saying we don’t prepare interview and don’t learn the interaction skills)

So we are shaped by our thoughts. It’s all mirrored on our body including our faces, eyes, smile, voice, etc. To care our own health, read Dr Lissa Rankin’s advice and see if it works for you.


What are your rules of life?

It took me 4 months to finish reading the book The Rules of Life. This is because firstly I don’t like to be ruled by the book or the author’s suggestions. I wanted to discover if I have already applied some rules. Secondly, I’d like to see how much I remember if I don’t touch the book for a while.

There are many of the rules in the book that I would call habits or attitudes. They are in the person’s personality and beliefs that present who they are. We all more or less have them but we may be not aware of them.

The rules I like in particular are:

  • 2. You’ll get older but not necessarily wiser
  • 7. Be flexible in your thinking
  • 10. Only dead fish swim with the stream
  • 13. No fear, no surprise, no hesitation, no doubt
  • 49. Only the good feel guilty
  • 58. Know when to listen and when to act
  • 61. Keep talking
  • 69. Let your kids mess up for themselves – they don’t need any help from you
  • 73. There are no bad children
  • 95. Be part of the solution, not the problem

A few quotes I like:

Plans have to be realistic; dreams don’t. (p.38)

Live here, live now, live in this moment. (p.41)

If it’s dead, don’t go digging it up every five minutes to check if there’s a pulse. It’s dead; walk away. (p.74)

Happiness in academic, learn and apply it

It’s Dr Tal Ben-Shahar teaching Positive Psychology 1504 in 2008. By the view number “55,799”, we can see how many people want to know how can we become happier.

This class “is a humanistic approach … is about fulfilling our potential, clipping away those limitations”. I watched the first class video, and by my curiosity about “Why am I not happy?”, I carried on.

Tal mentioned Carl Rogers and “Self-actualization”, which sparked my curiosity even more in relation to my previous research. Recently, I was asking myself the same question “why I am not happy” when I have everything smoothly. Do I want too much? Am I not confident? What do I really want? I suppose this kind of self-reflective question is heavy.

  • Tal mentioned: “Time-ins”, “look inward”, “silence”. I suppose people can do it if they want.
  • Tal stated how to take “active notes”.
  • Information is not enough, Tal emphasised Transformation in learning.
  • He gave an example of a research study about the difference between extraordinarily successful Harvard MBAs and successful Harvard MBAs: first, believe in themselves; second, always ask questions.
  • Happiness is not binary “either-or”, 0 or 1. Happiness resides on a continuum.
  • Our perception, our focus, our interpretation of life are matters.
  • Study ourselves and sense what changed in our behaviour.

You may find more sessions from Harvard Open Courses- Positive Psychology on YouTube

It’s the culture thing

By watching the BBC “Apprentice”, Susan’s languages and ideas being joked, I can see once again that Western philosphy is so different from Eastern philosphy, especially in the way of using language to express one’s opinion.

The way somehow Susan speaks is related to how she naturally translates her thinking and expressing it in English. I can see her English is excellent and she grew up in a western culture environment. However, for me, she pretty much has the effects from Chinese culture. Her way of thinking and talking is in a Chinese way, to some extent, it’s easy to be understood by Chinese and a Chinese will not really think what she asked “Does French drive?” type of question is because she is lack of common sense and stupid. In a Chinese conversion, this type of expression is everywhere. The question is positive, French people do drive! Susan knows that, the question is just a way to express it. In normal Chinese coversations, the question contains an answer already.

If Susan does not avoid the way of expressing her ideas by translating her Chinese way of thinking, she will be collected more silly questions in the show. I know it’s not easy for her, but I am sure Chinese people, who watch this show, have realised this issue.

I like this young girl, her business sense is good and she is young enough to learn, to grow. Gook luck.

14 Tuesdays

睡觉前, 我是不应该看这么感人的小说的, 特别是关于死亡.
I know it’s not a good idea to read such a touching book before go to sleep, especially it’s about death and life.

A lot of time, we see nice people left us in a young age, but those bad souls live well.

几年前无意看到了Professor Randy Pausch 的一系列讲座.他得了胰腺癌,还很年轻.当看到一个人面对死亡,从鲜活到远去,很长时间心情都不能平静.
A few years ago, I watched Professor Randy Pausch‘s presentations and read his book. I felt sorry for his loss though I don’t know him at all.

最近又无意看到了Mitch Albom 的书«Tuesdays with Morrie»,讲述Professor Morrie Schwartz得知自己得了肌萎缩侧索硬化症后的故事(Profeesor Stephen William Hawking 就是得了这种病) .
Recently, I came across Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morries. It tells a story of Professor Morrie Schwartz’s last 14 weeks.

Mitch is like us, and Morrie is like someone close to us.

It’s an inspiration book. I put some nice quotes below.

14 Tuesdays, 14 lessons about life.

Learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Love is the only rational act.

I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life.

The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die.

Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

第五个星期二,关于家庭. 有家庭有子女是人生不应该缺少的经历.
This is part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out from them.

Detaching yourself from the experience.

If you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.

第八个星期二,关于金钱.金钱和地位不能给你真正的生活真谛. 奉献和给予爱心能让你更快乐.
Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between people… Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house.

Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own.

第十个星期二,关于婚姻.婚姻没有一个简单的规则. 婚姻中需要尊重, 折衷, 敞开心菲交流和类似的价值观.
They don’t know what they want in partner. They don’t know who they are themselves – so how can they know who they’re marrying?

第十一个星期二,关于文化.看待他人如同看待自己, 我们会发现文化中的互帮互助必不可少.
We need others as well.

Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Don’t wait.

How could he find perfection in such an average day?

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

再摘抄几段吧 (More wonderful quotes):

The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

Everyone knows they’re going to die… but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently… To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.

If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.

There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.

When you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture.

The little thing, what we value – those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone – or any society – determine those for you.

Look, no matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don’t see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can become. There is no such thing as “too late” in life.

Heart touching movies

Some films for today.

有一些电影总是百看不厌,比如说,Roman HolidayTom and Jerry
Some movies are too enjoyable to not watch them again.

无私伟大的爱是一类,让我哭的稀里哗啦。如The notebookP.S. I love youVita è bella, La (Life is beautiful)。
Some movies make me cry but I still watch them again.

动物与人类之间的情感是另一类禁不住哭的题材。如 A tale of Mari and three puppies; Hachiko: A Dog’s Story 是在旅途的飞机上看的,好在是夜里,大家都窝在座位上睡觉。没人注意我红肿的眼睛。
Some movies make me cry in a different way and I will try not to watch them again as I know I will feel sad again.

Like these conversations:

(The Notebook)
Noah: I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.

Duke: That’s my sweetheart in there. Wherever she is, that’s where my home is.

Duke: Science only goes so far and then comes God.

Allie: Do you think our love, can take us away together?
Duke: I think our love can do anything we want it to.

(P.S. I Love You)
Patricia: So now, all alone or not, you gotta walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.