Tag Archives: Life

Light Up a Dark World: Help Others

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.
-Buddhist saying

We live in a largely individualistic society. Our culture emphasizes self-sufficiency and control in the pursuit of achieving individual goals. We must make an effort to guard against the tendency to focus on ourselves to the exclusion of our fellow human beings. The tendency towards selfishness rather than giving.

I’m not saying we all follow this, it simply happens, through busy work schedules, stressful events, and just our hectic lives in general. Even for those of us that follow a self-centered approach, helping others has its own advantages:

  1. It makes you feel better about yourself.
  2. It connects you with another human while helping them.
  3. Improves the state of the world.
  4. Your good deed could lead to a chain of good deeds.
By no means does helping have to be a production, simple signs that we acknowledge the existence of other people might be enough to make someone feel a little better. Volunteer, donate, teach, help, listen, smile, and most importantly, love. Let’s make this world a better place, put a smile on someone’s face.

8/18/08 – 4.1 miles in 00:35:18
8/16/08 – 6.42 miles in 01:01:21


Being wealthy does not equate to the easy life

Most people strive to become financially stable to the point of spending all their time on leisure activities. Money paves the way for such a lifestyle… freedom — from work, money worries, household chores and screaming kids. Free to veg out, watching a large-screen plasma TV or playing golf all day. 

According to research by Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist, quoted in an article in the Washington Post, “being wealthy is often a powerful predictor that people spend less time doing pleasurable things and more time doing compulsory things and feeling stressed.”

People who make less than $20,000 a year… spend more than a third of their time in passive leisure—watching television, for example. Those making more than $100,000 spent less than one-fifth of their time in this way—putting their legs up and relaxing. Rich people spent much more time commuting and engaging in activities that were required as opposed to optional. The richest people spent nearly twice as much time as the poorest people in leisure activities that were active, structured and often stressful—shopping, child care and exercise.

It turns out that wealth is a predictor (i.e., not necessarily a cause or effect) that people will spend less time on passive leisure activities (such as watching TV).  

A few things to note from the study:

  • Poor was anyone making <$20,000
  • Even though the wealthy spend more time with stressful activities, they report being happier in general (though not by as much as one would expect).
  • Past the point of poverty, one’s happiness stays relatively stable throughout the $30,000 – $100,000+ income range.
  • Increases in income are expected to raise well-being by raising consumption opportunities but these material possessions only offer short term pleasure
  • People’s aspirations adapt to their possibilities (people always want more).
  • There is a weak relation between income and global life satisfaction.
There are several holes in the study but in general, people with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, they also tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities (though I argue that active leisure is extremely pleasurable and I don’t find watching TV that pleasurable).

I say all one has to take from this study is to focus less on income and live life to the fullest (whatever your definition of fullest is). Here’s a little tip though, no one achieves goals by sitting around a television set.

The entire journal article can be found here.

Bicycles on the rise

A vicious comeback! Commuters around the country are dusting off their old two-wheelers — or buying new ones — to cope with rising fuel prices. Bill Nesper, the spokesman for the League of American Bicyclists said, “People are riding bicycles a lot more often, and it’s due to a mixture of things but escalating gas prices is one of them.”

I went to a local bicycle store the other day to fix my old bicycle and all customers were talking about the high gas prices. I for one am glad to see people willing to make changes that will increase their well-being as well as help the environment. I am one that has joined in this new ‘fad’ and have been biking to work for a solid week and plan to continue. Besides the obvious health benefits I have seen a chunky increase the money I save.

The increase is apparent but according to the League of American Bicyclists, less than half of 1 percent of Americans ride a bike to work. I for one will be excited to see this number rise.

7/07/08 – 2.4 miles in 27:10 (slow run with Paulette and Sparky)

Temporary ‘New’ Member of the Family

Things have not improved much. Sure I feel the financial strain due to the rising cost of EVERYTHING but the dismal spirits do not stem from this. Since coping with my grandfather’s death, my girlfriend’s brother hit a low point in his life that he wants to change. I cannot disclose any further information but I now have a full grown 25 lb pitbull, Opal. Initially difficult to deal with 2 dogs, it has become progressively easier.

Further depression crept into life over the weekend because I did not complete tasks for renewing my green card. My gf pointed out critical flaws in my character. I rarely let what other people say get to me but coming from someone I cherish, it’s taking a negative toll on me. I hope to cure the emotional sickness in the coming days.

In other personal news, I have not been working out or running at all. With a 5k planned at the beginning of next month, I will have to return to racing shape. I am now 8 weeks cigarette free!

Death of a Grandfather

This will be a personal post. My beloved grandfather, Paul Dhas, passed away on 10 May, 2008. The most unfortunate part of the situation being the fact that I have not seen him in 3 years and was not be able to make it back to India for the funeral. This is one of the first family deaths that affected me this deeply.

His influence remains sprinkled throughout many aspects of my life. From an early age I enjoyed taking care of animals he had (cows, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, mongoose, and more). His love for animals drove me to obtain my Bachelor’s in Zoology. Besides this, his influence in how I live my life can’t be explained in words.

I am currently at my parent’s house and this has provided me with some closure into the whole situation. I will get back to writing more since I am at a better place now.

5/18/08 – 4 miles in 36:50

5/19/08 – 4 miles in 35:00

Stress Rising

Another weekend down, more disappointments. Though I did not smoke any cigarettes (9 days cigarette free), the depressing thoughts that flood my mind stem from my excessive drinking and smoking of reefer. My mindset spews hatred which should lead to change. I also grow tired of my friends’ (2 being my roommates) attitude towards drinking and their general lack of appreciation for money or keeping a house clean.

The coming week provides several challenges, hopefully I will hurdle over those to a lovely vacation the following week. My girlfriend and I will be spending a week in Fort Lauderdale at a hotel on the beach. The anticipation and excitement appears to be smothered by the stress rising for the week ahead. Without challenge, there is no life, BRING IT ON LIFE!

4/19/08 – 5.5 miles in 56:09

Purely Motivational

Blogs serve several purposes, this one might be considered selfish. It’s all about me and my goal to improve my life. If anything, it will be my determination that might help others, but other than that it is simply an outlet for me to document my success.

I will divulge certain aspects of my past, but for the most part I will try to focus on the present and the future. Having foregone any form of planning since high school, I live life for the now. This has led me to lack real goals, I am willing to change that, albeit slowly.

Small general goals

  • Get fit
  • Invest savings and get educated financially
  • Improve my career

Wish me luck…