Friends Should Pay Full Price

Someone once told me that his worst customers are actually his friends. Whenever a friend calls, the person would always demand the cheapest price for the highest quality product or services.

A good friend opened a restaurant, decided to pay her a visit with my family. The food was good and the service was better. When the bill came, the appetizers was actually free. I returned the bill and asked for the appetizers to be included into the bill.

She was shocked and came out to ask why. I told her that

“Friends should pay full price.”

In any business, its only purpose is to make money for the owners. I went to her restaurant is because I know she needed the customers and the promotion for her restaurant.

If friend opens a business and I know I have a need for their goods or services, I will become their customer and I aways pay full price. If the owner wants to return the favour, I would prefer better customer service, honest sales opinion or feedback.

I am not a business person but I understand that running a business requires a leap of faith and loads of support. For me, seeing a friend becoming successful is the best thing that we can do for them.

This is how we surround ourselves with successful people.

The One Sentence That Everyone Should Say More

It is report card day, my kids and I was sitting in the classroom waiting to be called by the teacher. We sat near the door and we can see other parents and children walking past discussing the report cards.

I saw a parent in a firm tone telling the child,”This is just not good enough.”. The poor kid was trembling in tears, she was biting her lips and shaking her head. At that time, I felt tears well up in my eyes as well.

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You are just not good enough.

We are all never good enough. Every day, the world tells us that we are not good enough. In the office, at home, on the internet, on the radio, and on the TV.

“I am sorry, I do not think you are suitable for this position”

“Your exam results could be better”

“You could have written a better report”

“Buy our toothpaste, your teeth would be cleaner and  whiter”

“This brand new car model is definitely better than your daily old ride”

We are not good enough, so we need to buy more things to improve our life. We are not good enough, so we need to be more productive to achieve more with our hours. We are not good enough to get what we want, we need more money.

No one would deliberate made an effort to screw up. No one would deliberate made an effort to disappoint you.

We can never be good enough for everyone. That’s a fact. A good enough parent may not be a good enough employee. A good enough student, may not be a good enough friend. My good enough is not the same as your good enough. Yet, everyone has an expectation from everyone.

“Not good enough” has given us technology, wealth, and comfort. Yet, has “not good enough” brought us happiness?

Have we ever said to others and ourselves, “You have given it all, you are good enough”?

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It is my turn, the teacher called my kid’s name. I wipe the tears and sat in front of the teacher. I cannot remember what was discussed between myself and the teacher.

As I was walking out from the classroom, I told my kids.

“As an individual, you both have worked hard. Of course, there are things to improve. However, as for today, you are good enough.”

What A Lost Little Bird Thought Me About Life

A little bird flew into a room and hit the window. It tried flying up, it did nothing but pressing against the glass. It tried flying sideway, it did nothing but pressing against the glass.

I witnessed it all. I tried to lead it back to the door where it flew in. Now matter what I tried, the little bird  kept flying against the glass. The bird is getting desperate and so was I. The little bird may have hurt itself. I decided to switch off the lights in the room and see what happens. Hoping that the outdoor sunshine through the door would attract its attention.

It works! The bird saw the door and it flew out.

I do not know what inspired me to switch off the lights. In fact, I was worried that it will only make the little bird more desperate.

Is there a lesson here? Since young, many of us grow up listening to stories of grit and resilience. Work hard enough, you will soon overcome the obstacles. I even listen to podcast everyday to keep myself motivated. Do not give up. You can do it. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

What if we are like the little bird pressing against the glass? It is a no win scenario. By the time we realize it, it could be too late. We are too broken and too tired to try an alternative solution.

The glass can represent many things in life. A hopeless relationship. A dead-end job.  A bad investment.

Who can help us to switch off the lights in life to show us the path to liberation? Maybe, we need a retrenchment to realize that the job is going nowhere. Maybe, we need to be heartbroken to realize the relationship is not worth the pain.

We all need a loud wake-up call. To wake-up from the false dreams, take another path and start living. It is never easy and downright painful but it is something that many of us need. Someone, something to throw us into darkness, so that we can see the lights from the exit.

The Story of A Young Girl and Her Plant

It is the end of the school year, a teacher gave her class of students each a pot filled with soil and seed.

“Each of you is unique and special. I have given you each a pot with a seed in it. Each pot represents each one of you. Please look after the plant and grow up like the plant”, said the teacher.

The students got very excited, all of them wondered what kind of plant that the teacher has given them. Many of them did their best to look after the plant during the school holidays.

As days passes, the plant started to sprout. One leaf, two leafs. It is growing!

Litte Debby is one of the students. She is not exactly the brightest of her class but also not the bottom of her class. She has a big heart in helping her friends and teachers. Not a popular girl but has a healthy circle of friends. In short, she is a simple regular girl.

Everyday she would compare the plant’s progress with other kids in the neighbourhood. Many of them mentioned that their plants started to flower. There were all kinds of colored flowers. Red, yellow, pink, purple.

Little Debby listened to the updates with great interests. She often wondered what color of her flower would it be. Right now, there is no sign of any flowers yet and the plant looks healthy.

She would make sure her plant get watered and put under the sun every day.

Time passes, the interest on the teacher’s pot has died down. Many children have stopped sharing their updates. Many of them have even stopped taking care of their plants.

Not little Debby, every morning she would check her plant. Still no flower. Every night, she goes to bed telling herself, maybe tomorrow there will be flower.

Time passes. Still no flower. Little Debby could not take it anymore. She put her plan on the kitchen table and started the cry.

Little Debby’s mom heard Debby crying and came into the kitchen.

“What’s wrong? Debby”, ask the mother.

Little Debby cried even harder, “I did my best to look after the plant that teacher gave me, there is no flower. Other children’s plant has flowers. This is so unfair!”

Debby’s mother take a good look at the plant. After some thoughts, she smiled and said:

“I think we better ask dad to move your plant into a hole outside in our garden soon.”

Wiping tears from her eyes, little Debby ask, “Why? By putting it into a hole outside the house will it flower?”

Ever gentle and loving, Debby’s mother touches Debby’s cheek, “No. Your plant will not have any flowers. Instead, it will grow into a big tree.”

Thoughts to ponder: Not everyone will blossom like a flower. All of us are in an ecosystem called Society. We may not be rich or famous. But we can be a big tree providing shade and support for others.

A 15 USD Gadget That Owns My Life

I have an 18 USD fitness band. It is probably the cheapest in the market.

My friends told me that I should not aim for such cheap brands as the readings is not accurate. I do not mind as I am just using the device as a guide to my daily activities and sleep.

This “guide” has taken over my life. At night as late as 11Pm, I would get into my running gear and go for a run.  The tracker says I have not reached the day’s target and I have to hit my target. Right now I am on my 10 days streak. The longest was 49 days.

Will it kill me if I miss a day or two? Of course not. Yet, I would feel horrible if I miss the day’s target or the streak has been broken.

I have let things that I own owns me.

I do not mind giving up a little bit of freedom to stay fit and healthy. Where do we draw the line? How do we know we have become the slaves to the things that we own?

Is happiness a good guide? Possibly not. I remember the excitement when my band arrived. I remember how good I felt when I wear it. I was happy! The happiness did not last long as the band quickly become part of my life.

Dig deep within yourself, is there anything that you think you cannot live without? Are you a slave to it? Things that we own should not own us.

This post is not about giving up everything and live like a monk. Rather, it is a self-reflection on how much freedom we are willing to give up on things that we want to have.

As for my band, I could have just taken it off. Yet, I can’t. At least not now….

Life Is Perfect But It is Not What You Think

I hate my job.

I am overweight

My husband is cheating on me

My kids will not listen to me

My country’s leader has low IQ.

Complaints. Complaints. Complaints. We hear a lot of complaints every day. We have also grumbled and made our share of complaints too. Our life should be perfect!

I enjoy trail walking. Getting onto trails helps me to recharge and let the stress of life bleed away. I always tell my family and friends, mother nature is perfect.

Broken branches and crooked tree trunk, perfect! Yellow tree leafs and long tall grasses, wonderful. Uneven lined of trees and fallen trees, beautiful. In fact, the jungle is a chaotic and a messy place. Yet, we all see its beauty through its chaos. fect. We meant to have problems. We meant to have issues. We meant to have challenges.

Marcus Aurelius, once the most powerful person in his time as the  Roman Emperor. He too suffers from the challenges of life.  If he too faces life’s challenge, who are we to deny our own challenges?

Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so.
~Marcus Aurelius~

Life is perfect. Life is meant to have frustrations and challenges. Live life and accept life.