Book Reviews: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

I just finished reading the “The subtle art of not giving a f*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson. Funny way I got introduced to this book…it was actually from an ex-suboxone client of mine…I saw it and asked about it when he brought it into the dosing room with him…he highly recommended reading it..and finally after about 6 months later of procrastinating…I finally read it.

He presents some interesting concepts and thoughts to really challenge my mind and thinking patterns. I like how he says, “Don’t try to know yourself”. If we get into that trap of thinking we act a certain way, then it can become very hard to change that way of thinking. We can prove ourselves wrong and surprise ourselves…

I really enjoyed the personal stories he told of his own adventures of adulthood…he also used a mixture of anecdotes from a number of well-known people…and he told them in a way that is both enthralling and captivating. His topics encompass a lot of topics including career, death, life, decisions, and love.

My personal favourite story he told was when he said he walking towards the edge of a cliff…what was only a few seconds in reality…was like an eternity for him…as he was inches away from dropping to his death…he described how he never felt so alive. I don’t think I have done his recollection justice…you have to read it for yourself :)).

This book teaches you the basics of knowing what your values are and choosing what not to give an f*Ck about. Interesting concepts that are taught in an easy to understand and jargon-free book. If you don’t normally read self-help or non-fiction, I would highly recommend this book to you. It will hopefully offer you a different perspective or way of viewing this complicated life.

I am thinking of checking out the other book he has written…!

If you have read it or are planning to, please let me know your thoughts on this book.

 

A clear room and a clear mind

I have finished tidying up my room! It took a good solid two weeks of tidying and cleaning, but it is DONE!

Do you know what benefits I have had in cleaning my room?

  1. I killed a spider
  2. I found about $25 of money in red packets and in loose change in my piggy bank!
  3. Found a lot of foreign currency I didn’t know I had! -$$ unknown
  4. Discovered socks and clothes that I didn’t even know I had.
  5. I can now pull out something from the hangers in my wardrobe without pulling out five others at the same time.
  6. I know where everything is! Because I basically went through everything!
  7. Less dust! As I finally cleaned the surfaces that had stuff on it for ages.
  8. I donated at least 10 bags of items to charity – benefit for society? HAhaha
  9. Found lots of photos, sticker photos and things from friends that I have stuck around my room – the colour really brightens up the place 🙂
  10. Everything just feels more organised! I love opening up a draw or a door and seeing everything I own at once.I have officially joined the Marie Kondo Kult- I am a life member now… Let me show you some before and after photos!

 

.These are the before photos…60154824_2368153593514804_1840298142356996096_n

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^I had over 140 coat hangers…I am so surprised I even have that many clothes to hang!!

After the 2 week cleaning spritz..

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And that’s a wrap on my cleaning spritz…and now let’s hope my mind gets cleared too. 🙂

I learnt a lot about learning to let go of things that have passed its expiry date…About things you have to let go in order to move on to better things..as Kondo says, how can you appreciate what “Sparks Joy” if you have too many things to look after?

Change will be coming soon!

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying- Marie Kondo

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So I have finished the first book by Marie Kondo “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying” and have started listening to the audiobook for her second book. I think it is too early to tell if my life has changed from tidying…well technically I haven’t finished yet.. I am still in the process of getting rid of papers and books…It’s a bit hard…I went through all my notes from my University undergrad days…and there sure was a lot of trees that were sacrificed for my sake. :(. I feel bad for chucking away all the once important informations…but to be honest…when am I going to need it again?

Things are always changing in my profession, so whatever I was taught back then is probably out of date and superseded by some new information…

Going through all my books from university, I noticed that my style of studying changed dramatically throughout the year. I started with using just A4 clear plastic folders…then this turned into those folders in which you can bind papers together and still write on them…then in my later years I discovered the “ART OF BINDING”! And I bound all my notes for a subject in one big chunk…It was awesome..But it also meant I had to carry all of my notes despite maybe only needing just one lecture note.

That aside, I had to really think, what would I like to keep?

In the end the things that I kept were things that I thought maybe I would use in the future..for me personally it was things pertaining to Clinical Trials and Opioid Substitution therapies in which are the areas I work in at the moment. I also kept some mock oral exam scenarios…just incase I ever am able to get into teaching! I would love to be one of those on the other side of the examination table…

Marie Kondo said there are two main reasons why people find it difficult to discard things...
  1. 1. They are worried they might need that item in the future
  2. 2. They are afraid of letting go of the past and the memories attached to those objects.

    This really struck me hard. Why had I kept so much stuff? Was it because I wanted to remember the past? While cleaning up my room, I found letters, cards photos, random keepsakes of places I have travelled to and postcards…What was the point of keeping all of these things? I honestly don’t ever even look at it! They only get found by cleaning. ..Marie Kondo says many people say they want to be able to grow old and then have all of these memories to reflect back on the past... But what about living in the moment? Why do you want to live forever in the past? What happened to making good memories right now? Reminiscing greatly does not help in my opinion…unless you just want to remain stuck in the past.

I did find it hard to let go of all the excess items that I have hoarded. These things looked perfectly usable…HOWEVER, I did not use them. Marie Kondo also said, “If you look after your things, they will look after you”. I honestly do not think I look after most of my items well…No wonder they look sad and worn out! She stressed the importance of treating your things with respect and making sure that the items return to the home that they came from. She also shared in her book that she thanks her items for the hard work they have done for her for that day…that may sound crazy, but who knows…maybe your items will work for you longer :O..I personally think t doesn’t hurt to be grateful for what you have…

This clean has made me realise that I am just as bad of a hoarder as my parents…but you probably would not be able to tell at first glance at my room…It’s relatively clean…Minimal items on the floor..I have boxes, cupboards, and wardrobes that hide all my excess items. It looks clean, but it really isn’t…I’ve just created that illusion by putting all my things away behind closed doors…It made really think about my life…and have I also been stuffing all my true intentions, emotions, and hiding how who I am and what I truly feel behind closed doors?

So, I do believe that the tidying that I have been doing has really challenged the way I think about problems…am I really solving them ? Or just temporarily hiding it out of sight? In which they will resurface again each time I do a “Clean”…

How about you? Are you going to take the challenge and get into the  Life Changing Magic of Tidying? You never know what sort of life lessons you might learn from it!

 

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What’s in a name?

I’ve been thinking lately (what else is new?)- about the power of a name..

There are so many uses for a name! People associate themselves with names, land marks and buildings have names, countries have names, and also illnesses have names.

Flowing on from the last post about introductions, I wonder…can you know someone without knowing their name? Like why does it matter what their name is? Yet, it DOES matter in terms of having an identity that you are who you are. If we didn’t have names, would we just be described by our behaviours or how we physically look like? That blind man over there…That fat old lady sitting there…I guess we may that to an extent if we didn’t know their names…

It’s really amazing the stereotypes that we associate with certain things..be it a gender.. “I am a boy, so I should be strong, I should not cry!”…”I am a girl, so I should know how to cook and clean!”. It could be a race, “I am Chinese, so I should be ashamed about the fact I do not know how to use chopsticks properly!”. Sometimes I feel like, due to all the names and labels that are put on us, we feel like we have to be or act a certain way to fulfil other people’s expectations of us. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think you should act a certain way, therefore you act that way…and then you think it is because I thought I had to act that way so I did, or did I naturally want to do it? I hope you understand what I mean.

So, in particular I want to highlight why naming has such a big level of influence on someone ‘diagnosed’ with a mental illness. I will explain shortly why I put diagnosed in quotation marks. If you haven’t heard of the DSM, you can check out this link here basically it is a bible of all the known mental illnesses of mankind at this point of time. It is always changing, things are added and things are taken out. For example, homosexuality used to be in the DSM, until people rallied to have it taken out. I imagine it would be a terrible time to live in if you were homosexual…if you revealed to a doctor you had homosexual tendencies…you would be subject to various, often painful, treatments in order to ‘cure’ you and make you ‘normal’ or heterosexual.  Sadly, often these treatments did not work and caused terrible trauma and pain upon those individuals.

The DSM started off as a small thin book and throughout the years it has been continually added to…there are more entries going in than out..it’s now a huge book. So, it causes us to ask the question, “Are we just putting labels on normal human behaviours?“. So basically everyone has mental illness. If we are all mentally ill, then what right do we have to called others ‘Crazy, Pyscho, and Insane?”

But my point is, are we really helping people on their road to recovery by sticking numerous labels on people?

I remember a time when I went to see a doctor about a problem… she initially diagnosed it as “XX” condition…then later she changed her mind and said it was “YY”. Did any of these labels help me to get back on my feet? The answer is N-O. It did nothing, except perhaps make me even more paranoid. I looked up Dr Google and looked up all the symptoms and things that people diagnosed with “YY” had…I went to forums and read how people’s lives seemed to be affected by having “YY”… I was confused, scared, and my anxiety was through the roof. I felt like I had a life sentence upon me, just because of the subjective, narrow-minded opinions of one individual who was useful for nothing except chucking labels. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I doubted my self to be normal and got self-conscious of every action that I did, did I do it because I have “YY” condition? Was I going to turn out like everyone else that presumably have “YY” condition..

I am so glad now, I left that doctor after realising how toxic visiting her was… I see a different doctor who does not just throw labels around. She genuinely wants to understand what I am going through and why I am going through those things…It’s not a matter of throwing my labels upon a person…it is trying to understand what they are going through and helping them explore options to why they feel that way. The first doctor had created a large chasm between me and her, she had elevated herself to be the ‘expert’ and I was just a ‘passive clueless’ receiver. Because I listed out a few symptoms that fit into the definition particular condition, she deemed I had it…it didn’t matter  that there were exceptions to the rule, that I had strengths and characteristics not associated with that condition…it was because she used her subjective, stereotypical view and saw me as ‘abnormal’ and I needed to be ‘fixed’. She made it clear something was wrong with me and that I needed to change, she gave the impression she was normal. Now I think back, she was nothing but an evil witch. She didn’t want people to get better, she just wanted herself to feel better about herself by chucking labels on everyone.

I am not saying labelling a condition is not useful for anything…certainly if you want to have mental health sessions subsidised by the government you have to be categorised into having a diagnosis of some sort…the same is needed for insurance company claims etc…but if you are trying to help someone, it is not useful for helping them in their recovery by focussing on their deficits and not their strengths.

I have been meaning to write about this topic for some time now, but put it off.. because I am not sure if I can do it justice..

I would be super interested in hearing your thoughts about this!

 

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Book Review: How to Write Good- Ryan Higa

Have you ever thought about what you want in life?

What is the end goal that you are working towards?

Or are you working towards nothing at this moment?

I have recently read “How to write good” By the YouTuber Ryan Higa..I am big fan of YouTubers who also write books! I love the heart to heart back stories and inspirational that you can draw from everyday people like you and I.

He mentions that as a young kid he had thought about becoming a radiologist or even a pharmacist! But then he decided that that was too hard or too boring respectively. I think he made a wise decision, rather than waste all that effort, time, and money to get to that stage of life and realise maybe it was all for nothing..if you aren’t passionate or dedicated enough to do it.

Higa says that as a high school kid, he got into wrestling and he was so passionate and dedicated to wrestling..so much so that he would run 5miles each day and go on crazy diets just to lose enough weight to compete in his weight class… before that he wasn’t driven to attend Judo or Basketball training..he hated it… because he had no interest or passion for it…How many of us do the things we do, just because we are used to it? Just because we are not great at it, but we don’t suck at it. We grow complacent and just do it because its familiar, its normal, its better than doing nothing right?

Well, as Winnie the Pooh once said, “Sometimes doing nothing can lead to the very best of something”…but in this case maybe it helps us realise what we don’t like and focus on what we might end up finding we like…

High also mentions how his love for making videos was for his own viewing pleasure and for a select few friends…back in the old days he had a family cam corder he would use to record at family events and do random videos with his neighbour hood friends… all successes started with small seemingly insignificant starts. Now look at Higa, 13 years later and one of the most successful YouTubers of all time…

Don’t hate the small starts, they are only the beginning of something more awesome…

I would like to hope starting and continuing this blog will lead me somewhere equally as awesome..maybe I will get to publish a book one day?

;o