A quality life is a happy life. A happy life is one of satisfaction. Where does the satisfaction derive from, then?




Good health is the foundation of a happy life. When health is lost, life ceases. Good health is ensured by food we take, exercises we do, and a right mentality towards the world.


In our age, life has become so fast-paced that some people skip meals for work. Some of my teenage students do not eat breakfast or supper because they have to meet the deadline for their schoolwork. When our eating habits are in disorder, life will turn messy. Whatever we do and wherever we are, we have to take our three meals seriously and eat them heartily. Meals are to us what gas is to cars. Can cars run on an empty tank?


At the other extreme is overeating. One human weakness is to succumb to temptations. Good food can always find its way into our bellies unless we are strong willed. Abundance of food paves the way for an ever increasing incidence of obesity. We Chinese are a very interesting nation as far as eating is concerned: We eat more than to fill the belly. There are numerous occasions when we have to go and eat—weddings, baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, housewarming parties, funerals, business lunches and more. Overeating does as much harm as, if not more than, skipping a meal.


A balanced diet is the key to good health. Fruits and vegetables are as important a part of our diet as staples like rice, bread and noodles are. Drinking plenty of water keeps us hydrated and helps our circulation run smoothly.


A labourer does not need to go to the gym. His physical labour exhausts his body. An office worker with a sedentary lifestyle needs to take a walk, visit the gym, or work out every day to exercise his body. Sitting down for a rest is to a labourer what stretching his arms and legs is to a clerk. A large proportion of urban dwellers today have to exercise off the extra weight that they put on because of an excessive intake of food.


Good health would be impossible without optimism, tolerance, or generosity. We have to believe that tomorrow is better. Stop dwelling upon the unpleasant. Be kind to those who disagree. Be generous with our help.




A good life is guided by a mission. A life without purpose is a life wasted. People may have different missions to accomplish, but if one were to lose the purpose of his life, he would put an end to it. Why do those guys commit suicide? Because they cannot see any point of their existence in the world.




Every day we are faced with a myriad of tasks and jobs. List all of them mentally, and weigh up the importance of each. Try to work out how much time is at our disposal and how many of the tasks and jobs we can get done within the time.


Prioritise our tasks. Queue them up in order of importance and urgency. By the time we arrive at the workplace in the morning, a to-do list is already there on the mind. A word of caution—we must learn to give up those tasks and jobs that we cannot finish within our time and that we do not deem important. Should we attempt to please everyone, our life will be out of hand, and we will find ourselves enslaved. A candle that is burned at both ends extinguishes itself sooner.


When we have settled on the tasks and jobs for the day, we have to work on them with passion. Stay focused on the tasks and do not get sidetracked by anything irrelevant, like a chat in the office, a tone on the phone, or an incoming message on the IM. The secret of efficiency is to seize the moment. Focus on what we are doing and think about what is being processed. Human thinking goes on in one direction at any moment. At this very instant, our mind is thinking one thought and our attention is on one item. Screen out distractions, and we will be a fast worker and an efficient one as well.




Whatever walk of life we are from, we can all improve ourselves. A good life is a life of constant progress. When we start our trade, we learn the basics. After we get to know the ropes, we learn to do faster and more accurately. We can be a master of our trade no matter what we do, as long as we hone our skills. When we feel our daily progress, we find meaning in what we do and then we do it better. A sweeper finds the same joy in his job on the street as a scientist in his in the lab.




Life follows a pattern—the rhythm of nature. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. We get up in the morning and retire at night. When we follow a routine that goes in harmony with nature, a sense of complete bliss wells up in us. A life pattern that goes against nature will definitely worsen the quality of being or shorten the duration of being.


Routines can bore a restless young mind. But sooner or later, as one matures, he will fall into a routine. Routines are not a synonym of boredom. In our daily existence, we can still come up with a novel way of doing an old job. A little change in some aspect brings freshness to the accomplishment of a regular task. Change for the better is what creativity is all about. By the time our life is freshened up by innovation, we will have reached a higher level of being.


A routine works the way a template does. A template of a work defines the boundaries and skeletons rather than its contents and the final product. On the one hand, a routine sets a limit on what we can and cannot do. On the other hand, it leaves out the hassle of building a framework from scratch every time we start a new task. Taking advantage of the template and resorting to our originality, we will produce a neat, concrete, and constructive work at the end of the day. You may find, my reader, that all the employees of a firm work on the 9-to-5 template, yet not everyone is as productive as everyone else.




An emergency crops up from time to time, when we are taken ill, when we lose a family member, or whatever. We tend to feel frustration or despair if we fail to accomplish what we normally can. When we are sick, a simple thing such as walking up and down the stairs will get harder. A backlog of work will get piled up because we cannot process it as fast as before.


We have to adjust when an emergency arises. We are not expected to perform as well when we are sick as when we are not. Emergencies are times when we take a step away from work and deal with the immediate and the urgent, in case they should further disrupt the stream of our life if left unattended.


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