1Every thought matters

Our words and actions all follow our thoughts.

An example is relating to waking up early in the morning to meditate. I want to commit to this daily, but I have a habit of counting my hours of sleep before bed, and if it’s below four, my mind cannot commit to waking up early, and I end up sleeping past my alarm. But there were also many times when my thought was resolved and I was able to wake up at the first sound of my alarm!

2Be persistent in being consistent

Consistency is key! When it gets tough, I think up a list of reasons to give up, but I’ve learned that when I keep holding on and persist, the light at the end of the tunnel is actually never far away.

3There’s a cost to every pursuit

When we want more, let’s say, more pretty clothes, we fall into the rabbit hole of sales/promotions and persuade ourselves that we’re saving money with that new jacket we didn’t actually need. Whenever I do this, my mom would say, you’re saving when you don’t buy it. Only recently did I understand that it’s about letting go of our pursuit of more and being content with what we have.

4Keep calm and be patient

Being the fast-paced person I am, I get quite annoyed at traffic and anything that slows me down, but none of that is worth losing my cool over, and patience is the best medicine.

5Don’t be affected by other people

Have you ever voiced your opinion and got shut down? I found that only when I’m sure of myself will I be unmoved by what others say. We all go through life differently, and it’s ok to disagree, even with the people closest to us.

6Nothing happens by chance

There’s always a reason and a purpose to the good and the bad things that happen to us. I watched a very inspirational video about how each plant that grows has a purpose, even a weed that any gardener would want to pull out. I came to learn that what seems like a bad thing may well be a blessing in disguise if I give it time and understanding.

7Making mistakes is part of the journey

Maybe because I thought I let my parents (or others) down when I made mistakes growing up, so it became something I was ashamed of. But now I see it simply as a part of growing up, we stumble and we learn, and we get up again to keep going.

8Always look within

It’s pointless to debate on right and wrong, there’s always a lesson to be learned when you look within unconditionally and you can improve your character for the better. Where do you find a better deal than that?

9Remember who you are

In life, we may experience the choice of being who others want us to be and who we really are. It’s important in the adulting process to remember our inner child.

10Follow nature’s course

This is arguably my biggest ongoing lesson, to stop trying to take matters into my own hands and let nature take its course.

11Let go of material things

In our pursuits, we often seek externally for satisfaction but contentment can only be found within. I started realizing this when I volunteered at Dratabu Village in Fiji for a short two weeks but I observed how free-spirited and happy the kids were with so little. I was deeply moved by the happiness and joy they embodied with the simplest of living conditions.

12Break through mental constraints

Oftentimes, I find myself to be more capable than my mind tells me that I am. I was very introverted growing up and hardly socialized with my classmates so whenever I saw presentations as part of the class syllabus, I would go to my academic advisor to change to another class. But that’s just my preconceived notions about myself holding me down and my fear getting the best of me. Presentations are hard to escape and I knew I had to overcome it, so I “faked it until I made it”. Now, others even feel like I’m good at doing presentations, if only they knew what I went through…

13Stop judging

There’s always more than meets the eye, so we shouldn’t use our limited perception to judge others, including ourselves.

14Be humble

I’ve learned that what I think is right is not the absolute truth and it’s practically impossible for us to see the whole truth, so I should always be humble and keep an open mind.

15It’s not hard to be kind

When we fight and contend with the world, it can be really tiring, but life is not so hard if we just choose to be kind and considerate. Liu Bei, the ruler of the Shu-Han State said to his son before he died, “Never do an evil act just because it is trivial; never leave a good act undone just because it’s small.”

16There is an eternity in a moment

It’s hard to explain this in words but I realized this as I was watching the falling Autumn leaves. The gist is to treasure every moment we have because time is the most precious gift of all.

17Water is better than any other drink

I know, bubble tea is a delight, and lemonade is a treat, but for a refreshing drink to quench your thirst, I’ve genuinely come to appreciate the good ol’ water!

18Sincerity is a virtue

What is sincerity to you? There are times when I catch my mind wandering elsewhere when I’m supposed to be listening to someone and that’s when I realized that I lack sincerity. Being sincere in everything that I do shows the appropriate respect to others and to the present moment.

19People choose to see what they want to see

No matter what you say or do, people will always view it through their own lens and there’s no need to overexplain ourselves as long as we have good intentions.

20There’s nothing to worry about

I’ve never seen worrying as a solution to any problem so as long as I did the best that I possibly could at the time and I’m true to myself, the rest isn’t up to me.

21If you need help, ask for it

All that’s ever stopped me from asking others for help is fear of judgment or rejection, and thinking that I can handle everything by myself – all of which I now understand to be my ego, something that is often working against rather than for me. Believe me, others want to help, you just gotta let them!

22Don’t shy away from responsibilities

It may seem daunting at first but it only helps you grow to be who you’re meant to be, and the world needs that.

23Suffering is subjective

The pains of one person may be the joy of another. Let’s say Winter and snow, for example, it’s a bitter cold for some while others can finally enjoy the fun of skiing down the slopes. This just goes on to say that suffering is subjective, it depends on how you look at it.

24The truth may be hard to believe

Sometimes the truth is hard to believe but you should still try. Open your mind to knowledge!

25Believe in the divine

The universe believes in you, even at your lowest. Just as there’s a purpose for every plant that grows, you also have a purpose, and you’re living it every day. Always keep the faith!