How To Be Happy Again?

Jim Carey acted in a movie called The Truman Show. It is a show I think about when life gets rough. In many instances of my life, I felt manipulated especially going down the road most travelled. Like many people, I always seek individuality but the feeling that there could be a possible manipulation in the way I make certain decisions in life seemed to frustrate me.

My cousin shared an article with me recently that seemed to confirm the existence of a certain matrix or system that most of us are trapped in. The only consolation for me is that, I am not the only person feeling that way and there are a huge majority of people out there who feels the same.

The few blog posts that I have written recently seemed to be less positive and indeed, I am feeling a little down lately due to many reasons – changes in life mostly. I somehow fear that I will get trapped in the spiral of sadness again and the possibility that I will never again regain my foothold.

The fact that I am bombarded with so many negative news and challenges from all around can be quite overwhelming. On top of that, the world requires that I do not let my emotion show especially my weaknesses can be a daunting task. In order to conform to the standards of the world, I am left with a huge void.

I have forgotten how to be happy.

I have lost all recollection of how true joy feels like. Not remembering how happiness and joy felt like, I no longer know how to seek such feelings I once enjoy. Every day seemed to be just submitting to the demands of the world. Achievements are meaningless without happiness.

As I seek to find happiness again, I was told that expectations have a way in controlling happiness.

Just like how I have always wanted to take a photo of lighting during a rainy day, the opportunity recently present itself. I was in the meeting room with huge windows around me overlooking part of the city. The clouds were forming and I watched as a few lighting hit the ground. With my mobile phone at hand and with camera mode turned on, I waited, and waited, and waited. My expectation was that the mobile phone camera would be as fast as the speed of light. Throughout the 20 mins wait, I had a few frustrating moments missing some beautiful lightings. After a few minutes, I started feeling frustrated because up to that point, I was randomly clicking the shutter button and clearly the method was not working.

I guess changing my expectation did change my feelings. From being absolutely sure that I was going to capture a photo of a lighting taking place, I told myself that it would be fine if I did not.

I then changed my strategy. Instead of randomly clicking the shutter, I held onto it for continuous shots. A few 100 images cycle later, I finally got my shot. Not perfect but it was a shot nonetheless. It made me happy that I was able to achieve the objective – a case of under-expect and over-achieve. Just like when a customer is being under-promised but over-delivered, I was very pleased with my achievement.

I then realized that perhaps to be happy, I must expect less of myself or at least do not be so hard on myself. At the same time, I should give myself a pat on the back each time I achieve something good be it great or small.

“I hope you are happy today”

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The Droste Effect

Below is my amateurish attempt in creating a photo with the Droste Effect – the subject that seemed to be within itself.

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In the computer programming world, I would think that this is called an un-terminated or infinite loop – something that all programmers would avoid at all cost because it is a state where the computer program executes endlessly.

Today is one of those days that I felt depressed, trapped, and lost all reasons to be happy. In fact, I just couldn’t find that little tingling of happiness in my heart. I felt that I was going in circles just like an infinite loop. It seemed to happen more often now and worse, each relapse seemed to be getting much more intense. There is a great sense of mixed feeling and at some point fear.

The fear of fearing the fear. In other words, infinite loop of fear.

I guess it started yesterday.

Yesterday gave me reasons to believe that cybernetic organism will never ever happen. My mind as it already is very random. My days can be very emotionally charged and to a point of turmoil. The reason being, each time I see something familiar, my mind flashes an image from the past. You can imagine that most of the time, there are thousands of images that flashes through my mind. The worst part of it all is that, each image comes with an emotion. In short, I go through so many emotions in a day, it can be very draining.

Now back to the reason why I think the concept of cybernetic organism would fail. What sets us apart is the emotional aspect. A computer have the Random Access Memory (RAM) that allows it to access information in fractions of a nanosecond. What if an emotion is attached to each piece of information that the computer accesses through the RAM? Imagine how emotionally fuelled a cybernetic organism would be. Will it be able to withstand such intense emotional charge?

And so, the struggle continues to gain focus and catches the little happiness in the midst of this emotional spiral turmoil…

Monotony Kills Creativity

If you grew up in between the 80s and 90s, you will notice that the cartoons produced these days do not come close to what we used to watch back then.

I always wonder if there is a huge “elite” group that governs and manipulates the masses into jumping into bandwagons and hypes. So much so that we have failed to activate our creative faculty. I have reasons to believe that this caused us to have fewer good leaders in the world today compared to before materialism took over the world. We are now asking ourselves to “think out of the box” when thinking out of the box used to be our natural talent as human beings.

Transformers, Voltron, M.A.S.K., G.I. Joe, and the rest seemed to be making a comeback because we do not have such amazing and creative cartoons. They are still relevant and current because of ORIGINALITY!

They say that a music piece can be seen as a combination of “numbers”. I cannot agree more because songs are made up of the different combination of “chords”. When these combinations has been exhausted, perhaps we start to “recycle” songs like the cartoons from the 80s and 90s. There is no wonder that most of us still listen to ABBA, The Platters, BEE GEES, and many more. I cannot stop but to wonder how in the world these artistes could possibly think of all those wonderful melodies and tunes.

What is happening to us?

My Take On Gen-Y

I believe there are already many articles written about this topic. I am not trying to define anything and everything about Gen-Y but more of sharing what I think and my observation. Since young, I have taken interest to understand what goes on the minds of others – the psychology so to speak. As I write this blog entry, I have seen a couple of issues about the Generation-Y at large especially those born in the 1990s.

The Generation Y truly live in very exciting times. If you can relate to Transformers, Smurfs, The Land Before Time, The A-Team, Dallas, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Popples, My Little Pony, Jam, and the likes, you are probably a Gen-Y baby. Generation Y would probably be the last generation to understand what the magnetic cassette tapes and Walkman are. Those born later will probably learn about them theoretically from storage medium history books or even see them in the museum.

On one hand, they can be called the luckiest generation because most of them grew up in thriving economy after the “great depression” and “baby boomers”. Those who have gone through the depression made sure their next generation do not have to go through the trauma they had. An average Generation Y person most probably had a wonderful time growing up because their parents provided all the basic necessity they once struggled to obtain.

It was written that Human Resources department of corporations are changing policies to cater for the Gen-Y lest losing “crucial talents” in the workforce. There is definitely something about Gen-Y that causes such a change in the corporate eco-system.

I am firstly a Gen-Y and a keyboard warrior most of the time. I am very idealistic and always wish the world to be perfect (not perfectly round). If you are guessing that I am a frustrated person most of the time, you are probably right. As of late, I am frustrated with my fellow Gen-Y and please allow me to tell you why.

Can Talk but Not Walk.

I was born into an average income family. I was only able to graduate because I took a student loan while I was into the 2nd year of my tertiary education. I had to service the loan while I was studying and that forced me to get a job. I did not get a job but I had 3 jobs for 2 years while I was in college and university. I can still remember the feeling of having a quick dinner in the car whenever my girlfriend (now wife) dropped me off at work. I am grateful that she even stayed on in the relationship when it was so easy for her to get a “champ” compared to me. In a way, I consider myself lucky to have such an experience because it taught me a lot of valuable lessons in life. The outcome, I graduated by barely missing the First-Class Honours. I was so bummed not being able to be picked the Valedictorian or else I could have “delivered” an awesome valedictory (I think).

You see, that is part of the Gen-Y problem. I have some traits of the Gen-Y and being outspoken is definitely one of them. A Gen-Y plus keyboard warrior is definitely a recipe for disaster. Truly, I have always gotten into trouble blogging about my frustrations and I believe what I am going to write next will definitely ruffle some feathers. Not that I get a lot of readers on this blog at the moment, so here goes…

Most Gen-Y are encouraged to speak their minds. So much so that they overlook that they need to get the actual job done. The society continues to award people who are good at presenting points across, those who give their audiences the “feel good” feeling, moving speeches, putting on an impressive front, and many of the likes even without actually giving any tangible results. Talk is cheap as we are told but that is exactly what you can get away with most of the time these days.

The Gen-Y is that huge gap where they had it all too easy and was never made to work hard for what they want. My observation tells me that most of the successful people in this generation are those who were living beneath or within the borders of the poverty line. Those who had to work as hard as their forefathers during the great depression and thus, they are tough like their forefathers.

The great majority of the Gen-Y are weak, always looking for an easy way out, couldn’t care less to get their hands dirty, not resourceful, unable to take ownership and responsibility of challenges, and needs to be told what to do most of the time. Yet, they are picky and whines unnecessarily. Often times, they are oblivious that “an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s job” whether it is hard labour or just desk bound. They easily forget that corporations are paying for their time, the time they churn into tangible results. Results that are substantial and yields proportionate profit for the organization. Ideally, some would like to undercut the corporations so to get their true worth while others prefer to offer their services in exchange for the exposure large corporations are able to offer besides the regular wage they earn. Whatever it is, majority of the workforce are providing their “service” in return for a fair wage. This fact is easily forgotten by the Gen-Y because somehow they have the innate instinct or are built to only be motivated to lift a finger AFTER being shown or given the “feel good” pills. They want the funky Games Room with the latest game consoles, the juke box with the latest records, and all these impressive factors which are in my humble opinion not practical. I have been in a company with such facilities and they are pretty much useless to me. Companies want results and I have no time for games in office. I have a family to tend to after work so good bye dancing in front of the TV screen after work. But the Gen-Y yearns for all these candies. They want to be cuddle and if workplaces can provide a drop dead gorgeous bombshell nurse for breastfeeding, these organizations will be given the Employer of the Year award – just kidding!

Get Real, Burst The Bubble!

The good news is that, “make believes” do not last forever. The easy way out that they boast about will almost never last and eventually, they find themselves struggling in life after wasting valuable time that they could have used on harnessing, sharpening, and practising their talents through a profession.

I guess in life, there will always be a moment when one come into one’s own. Some may never have that opportunity and that would probably be the case for many generations to come. Some brush it off as the rat race and accept their fate as such while others prefer to carve their own destiny. Whatever it is, when push comes to shove, survival instinct will kick in and one will be forced to grow out of the loop.

And if you are truly a Gen-Y, you will know and like Superion…

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Embracing Unique Individuality

In slow motion, a set of teeth sinking ever so slowly into the soft warm bun with the mouth watering juicy piece of beef patty.

What a familiar image that never fails to send us scurrying to the nearest fast food joint to experience that same euphoria that our taste buds send through our neurons telling our entire body we have almost achieved a “food-gasm”. That is the success of images conquering our emotions.

Have we actually conditioned our minds to react to such thought provoking images?

Frank Outlaw once quoted the following:

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

At times, I feel strongly how our senses has been exploited by so many different types of media – each wanting us to believe the propaganda its content creator/owner wishes to materialize. It seemed as though many have found a niche in manipulating the masses through media across multiple platforms and in various technological means.

I am often left to wonder what happened to creativity these days. Back in the days we have the likes of Edison and Einstein who are truly creators – they have less technology back then and definitely no social networking media. Today, we have vast information at the tips of our fingers and yet, we no longer create. At best, we innovate and we recycle ideas the creators have left us with.

Stereotyping and herding mentality have killed creativity. We are first made to believe that we are followers and then, we are forever controlled by those in position of power so to speak. It is not uncommon to see that in our world today, we have more followers than leaders. We are so fearful to try new things and something news means challenging the status quo, ruffling some feathers, and leaving our comfort zone. Even before trying something new, our minds create so many images of how the new idea will never work – so we settle for second best and submit to our pessimistic thoughts.

We are also very often shaped by our surroundings be it environment or the people in our lives. It is not uncommon to receive criticism for doing something out of the norm. By conforming to the norm, we are limiting our minds to wander the uncharted waters.

In our society today, it is so difficult to accept the uniqueness of each individual borne into the world in various shapes and sizes. When someone speak his or her mind that stirs, provokes, or challenges our beliefs system, we become reactive and confrontational. We also create laws to further limit the things people do or say that may be perceived as seditious. The definition of sedition is so vague most of the time. If the majority felt offended, it can be passed of as seditious. But that is not the case because certain people may agree or accept what has been said or done and thus, the saying – “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”.

We have indeed evolved into very complicated beings and too complicated to be contained by laws of old that are used to limit the expression of thoughts. Just how limiting are we in today world? We have the usual constitutional laws and on top of that, most of us are also “governed” by the religious laws.

I hope that the world at large will continue nurturing creativity by allowing young people to share their ideas freely. To build more platforms for them to debate on their thoughts in a constructive manner and maturely.

As of late, there has been a lot of chaos due to the many things that are said by people young and old, prominent and ordinary. Words seemed to be able to spark off so much resentment and anger. There are also a lot that has been said that tickles our rational – some acceptable while others are not. Taking a step back to think about all that has been said and done, I realized that freedom of speech works both ways. It is really up to us to accept or disagree and move on with life whether or not we are able to do something about our acceptance or disagreement.

Whether or not I agree with the words utters or actions taken, I have learned to appreciate the expression of ideas and thoughts as long as they do not physically harm anyone. As much as we have the rights to expression our opinion, someone else deserves to express theirs as well. If we suppress such expression of ideas, we might miss out something new which can be improvements to what we currently perceive as something good.

The question is, are we comfortable where we are at the moment or have we shut down our creative faculty?

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