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Posts Tagged ‘perspective

How not to feel bad about doing dirty work?

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Sometimes in our lives,
we have to do dirty work for others,
cleaning the mess that others have made.
How not to feel bad about doing dirty work?

Once, S was sharing with me that her tenant used their common toilet and left stains of shit near the toilet seat.
S had to use her hand and toilet papers to clean the toilet bowl.
S told me that if she complains to her tenant,
she may lost her rental income.
S shared that she just reframed her perspective that cleaning the toilet bowl without bad feeling means securing the rental income to support her family living.
S can also pray that a better tenant,
who is willing to pay more and practising more personal hygiene will come in the future.

Currently I am living in Singapore.
Here, I have encountered a number of elderly (about my parents’ age or older) works as janitors / toilet cleaners.
Although the public toilet condition in Singapore is much better than in China in general,
sometimes I encounter dirty toilet cubicle due to previous inconsiderate user.
It is easy for me to move on and go for a cleaner toilet cubicle or go to toilet at other levels.
However, these elderly cleaners have to clean them, e.g. removing stains of shit left by inconsiderate users.
Without these cleaners, we will not have clean toilet; they are really our heroes and heroines!

Then, I think of main motivators of why people choose or end up with (if they have not other choice) a particular job.
Quite often, money is an issue, although not always the issue.
To people who have no money,
they have less choice on what work they can do.
Sometimes, people find satisfaction from doing a job that others may dislike.

Chip Conley illustrates a story of Vivian Van Quach who came to San Francisco from Vietnam in 1987.
She has been working as a main in an inner-city motel in San Francisco owned by him.
According to Chip,
Vivian had sort of a joie de vivre (a French term for the joy of life) in how she did her work.
Although Vivian did not find joy in cleaning toilet,
Vivian has formed the emotional connection that she has built with her fellow employees and the motel’s guests.
Vivian is inspired to take care of people who are far away from home, as she herself is far away from home.

The story sounds like we should try our best to discover goodness in every job, including a mundane one.
When we seek, we will find.
When we seek joy, we will find joy.

However, to some people,
after working some time at a particular job,
they seek a room to grow.
People’s need varies from survival, success, to transformation.
We need meaning in our life.
If one wants to change a job / undertake a new career,
it is important to be educated and skilled for the next job / career.
Preparation matters.
While you are preparing,
affirm the followings:
1. I am grateful for my current position / job that gives me an income.
2. I am grateful for the environment of my jobs (the bosses / the colleagues / the food court / the toilets).
3. I am aware that my current job is only a stepping stone on my pathway of life to contribute to this world through my work.
4. I am happily releasing my current job to the next person who will be delighted to have it.
5. There are people out there who are looking for what I can offer (my skills, my service) and the universe will match us.

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All the best!

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Written by blueroselady

July 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm

What is next? the art of detachment

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A mentor from Singapore sent me a transcript by Dr Richard Teo Keng Siang.
He was a 40-year-old millionaire and cosmetic surgeon with a stage-4 lung cancer.

Below are what I learned from the sharing which I integrate with my growing thoughts.

Medical aesthetic is a growing field. Richard viewed his patients (sources of income) as vain women, but I empathize with women with low self-esteem. Some people simply do not have the opportunity to grow their inner strength, to detach from the influence of media that worships celebrities and the superficial opinions of other people around them. Sadly, the other people can include parents, spouse, lover, and friends. I remember how my mother’s sister suggested that I should go for a surgery. I was just a primary school kid, and her words did hurt me. Fortunately, I did not listen to her! Later in life, I learned that my attribute is desirable by men whom I am attracted to. Of course, there are also people who have not grown to the stage to accept themselves as a gift from universe. I do not mean to judge, but I respect that different people have different perspectives in life.

A good friend is a gift.
Richard’s friend, Danny offered to extract Richard’s wisdom teeth, went for a 2-day fast for Richard’s recovery.
Danny is a man that goes all the way for his friend.
I want to be like Danny for my friends.

Hebrews 12:7-8
"Endure hardship as discipline as God is treating you as His children"

Cancer patients told Richard that many times, people tell them to stay positive.
But those people do not have the same experience as the cancer patients.
However, Richard, being a cancer patient himself, has the license to encourage cancer patients.
While we have positive intentions to encourage people, sometimes our words / actions may not be received well.
Sometimes ago, I volunteer to work with cancer patients. A lady told me that she needs not help after finding out what my profession is. I felt slightly discouraged, but I respect her perspective.
I also remember when I wish someone "Good Luck", and she said "no need".
Similarly, we often hear angry mothers telling their husband "you will never understand the pain of labor".
In contrast, in countries like Singapore and Switzerland, we also hear angry men telling their women "I have to waste n years of my life doing military services, while you enjoy faster progress in education and career".

It is important to have a trust / belief / faith. For Richard, Danny, Blueroselady, and many people, this includes the belief in God. There are people who do not believe in the religious God, but the act of respecting nature / universe, is a form of belief as well.

It is important to love and make service / contribution to others.
To quote Lusi Lim, "while we are celebrating the glory of human success, we must not forget: One day, our wealth, fame and power will all become irrelevant because it will all come to an end…"

According to Richard, many people are blessed with good wealth, but cannot handle them. The more people have, the more people want.
According to Matthew 19:23, Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
Hard does not mean impossible.
In the mass that we attended on the same day we celebrated our anniversary, I learned from the priest that church teaching does not forbid us to accumulate private property, but we must not be attached to our materialistic wealth.
Therefore, Blueroselady strives to master the art of detachment.
Wealth on its own is neutral, but the master of the wealth can use it for different purposes, e.g. to build hospitals, schools, to help the poor versus to show off by purchasing lavish luxury things (cars, bungalows / villas).
Moreover, there are also different kinds of wealth, we need to achieve a balance in acquiring each aspect of wealth.
Too much focus on materialistic wealth may compensate the growth of spiritual and wisdom wealth.
If one has dependants e.g. children and old parents / relatives without sufficient social security, a total neglect on the acquisition of materialistic wealth (in the basic form of money) is also against our God-planned purpose.

Written by blueroselady

October 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

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This article is inspired by John Gurdon’s experience on criticism. He received Nobel prize in 2012. Though I have never met him, I counted a blessing that in a period of my life, I walked / cycled passed the Gurdon Institute (named after him) regularly.

An Eton teacher of John Gurdon wrote that the then 15-year-old John Gurdon wouldn’t listen, couldn’t learn simple biological facts and, horror of horrors, "insisted on doing work in his own way". In one test, Gurdon scored a miserable two out of 50.

The report made John Gurdon disheartened, but fortunately one of John Gurdon’s early decision on not to listen to non-constructive criticism indeed played an important role in his subsequent research work, including the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells (and ended up winning a Nobel prize).

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

1. Be prepared that in life, no matter what we do (including noble actions), some people will criticize us. To protect ourselves against these peace robbers, we can
# enhance our inner strength by reminding / focusing ourselves on our strength
# have a thick face

2. Be aware of the reasons why people give non-constructive criticism

# jealousy and justification attempt. They are jealous of our achievements and attempt to gain self-importance by criticizing us. They justify themselves at the expense of us. Do not fear those who criticize us because of their jealousy. Perhaps, those who criticize us suffer from low self-esteem and meet their need of having self-importance by criticizing, instead we can be kind by giving them empathy and sympathy.

# ignorance and inexperience. For example, you want to attempt a new venture and you seek advices from people around you. Those who never start up a company or those who have failed will project their fear and criticize you. Do not listen to these naysayers. Instead, consult those who have successfully achieved what you want to achieve.

3. Be mindful of your perspective (mind), emotions, and body

# Must be able to see the BIG PICTURE
When I was a primary and junior high school student, I accept the fact that teachers are role models. I did not question their authorities. They were the grown-ups with more knowledge and wisdom than me who was only a fledgling individual. I did not realize that teachers are also human beings, subjected to human conditions (both positive and negative attributes). Few of my teachers had ego and misused their authorities. They criticized students who refused to follow them, e.g. if a student refused to learn bad words, he would be labeled as self-righteous. Fortunately, I moved to a better school and I learned a lot from my kind teachers – those who teach for the passion of teaching and nurturing the next generation more than for earning an income (of course everyone has to earn a living). Looking back, those teachers who criticized things I thought as right, did no longer matter.

Then, when I started my study in a famous place, an unhappy professor told me that the only reason I went there was because of the fame. Well, while that reason honestly contributed to my decision, I had bigger reasons why I fought all my ways to gain admission there. At that time, when such a professor with his authority / power and perceived superiority (in knowledge, ability, etc) said such things to students, the impact could be huge. However, I did not listen to him. I shifted my focus to my purpose (FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSES). I managed to work with more successful (and more generous and kinder) professors, produced results, and graduated. My mentor CNC loves to say that success is always the sweetest revenge (without harming our past offenders).

My learning journey then brought me to meet inspiring entrepreneurs. In some aspects, I look up to entrepreneurs who create jobs for many people and excellent products / services with great values, more than to professors who care only about their tenure, publications, and self-importance in their fields (of course, there are always kind professors, I was fortunate to meet and work with few of them). My experience with the entrepreneurs unleash an inner desire of me: to be an entrepreneur. That is why I am working everyday to prepare myself for my venture, to provide values to my customers. I believe that I will be invited to teach / give talks at universities because of my expertise, instead of having to apply and fight for limited faculty positions.

To summarize, I have met more people and seen the world, my perspectives have changed. When you climb a mountain, your standpoint / perspective has elevated, you can see wider and hence the bigger picture.

# Must be able to be the master of our emotion
Often, when one is criticized, one will end up feeling sad, shameful, worried (worry is a kind of fear), or angry. All these emotions are of lower consciousness.
Be aware of your emotion, then you can shift those of lower consciousness to those of higher consciousness (e.g. courage, patience).
For example, you can manage your anger through techniques such as loving yourself, Siberian North Rail Road, and detachment.

# Learn to relax our body
Criticisms from people whose matter to us (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, or even peers) can result in racing heart, sweating, shaking, flushing face.
When you are aware of these physical reactions of your body, use relaxation to calm down. Breath deeply. Visualize / imagine serene places that you remember from your travel. Recall prayers that you have said countless times.

"Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
all things are passing.
God is unchanging.
Patience gains all;
nothing is lacking to those who have God:
God alone is sufficient."
St Teresa of Avilla

Related:
How to Handle Criticism and Nonconstructive Feedback by Nicole Wolfe
*Davidson_not_hopeless* (in my ref folder)

More readings:
http://www.economist.com/node/21564525
http://www.talentsmart.com/articles/