Lessons From my Chinese Friend

This is one of the smartest people you can come across, and very humble at the same time. He smiles all the time, no matter what. In his broken English, he can be an extremely erudite speaker.

“If I write one line about my life, I say: When you think that your life is going to change, it can come back again to start.

“I don’t want many money; I just want to take care of my parents and make my country nice.”

“When I go to my college in China, I am below average. There are 200 students in my college. But in last year, I come to top 10. So now, I never feel bad even if some thing not go nice at the start. I always know that after some time, things will get better.”

Changhong Li, all the very best to you! I am glad I came to the PSI program, and made wonderful friends like yourself.

Flow

I wrote a post on the same title a few weeks back. Flow is a state of mind filled with focus, joy and meaning. It was proposed and researched by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who describes it thus:

… being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.

The author also gave an interesting TED talk on the same subject. Many have commented on and summarized the philosophy elsewhere; I think the talk does it quite well.

I have just begun reading Csikszentmihalyi’s book: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Below are a couple of sentences from the second page :

What I “discovered” was that happiness is not something that happens… It does not depend on outside events, but, rather, on how we interpret them. Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person.

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Inspiration: ‘Invictus’ by W E Henley

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

— William Ernest Henley

More about the poem and the poet here. Many leaders have drawn inspiration from this poem, including Nelson Mandela, who had it pasted on the wall of his prison cell.