A selective reveiw on

chapter8: be confidently adaptable

In this chapter, the author talks about how people should control their ego and cultivate a service mindset in the workplace. The ego part seems obvious to me, but cultivating a service mindset caught my eye instantly.

A service mindset not only applies to work, but also applies to friendship and relationships, in my opinion. Instead of thinking “what can I get out of this”, think about “what can I offer”. This way you’ll find your work, friendship or relationship more enjoyable, because you are not paying all the attention to yourself, therefore you will be less prone to be easily impatient, angry or frustrated. For example, everybody likes a good listener, who listens attentively to what others have to say. What makes a good listener then? Someone who is not thinking about how to respond, but rather fully concentrated on others. Attention is priceless, so use it carefully.

A service mindset solves more problems than you could imagine. When you have an argument with your partner, it’s no help if you shout or scream at them. It’ll only make the problem more difficult for you. The reason you are shouting or screaming is because you are focusing on yourself. However, if you want to work things out, try look at things from others’ perspective. In this case, ignore your anger or frustration for  a minute, ask “why do you think so”, and pay all your attention to them. Just listen, no interruption, no “oh, I understand, but…”. Soon you’ll find them sit back and calm down, and in no time, you guys will get past the argument.



A selective review on

chapter 6: step out of your comfort zone

People are biologically wired to stay in some comfort zone and avoid pain and discomfort. However, this tendency could lead to stagnancy in life as well as emotional stress. Still, well aware of the potential outcome, many people choose to stay in their comfort zone. Some are OK with it, some want to get out but have no idea how.

If you listen to Steve Job’s Stanfort commencement speech, you would probably still remember him talking about a quote he read when he was 17 that changed his life, which goes like”If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”. And he continued, ” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” However, the truth is, today is most likely NOT your last day of life, therefore you need a different plan, a long term one that doesn’t instantly solve questions but will benefit you in the future to come.

What does this “last day” mentality have anything to do with getting out of your comfort zone? Well, if you base your choices on the last day to come, you probably wouldn’t be able to stick to a long-term plan, partly because you want to see results fast, while counting the number of days left for you.

When you were a kid, everything was new, and everyday was a small adventure. Now as an adult, your life doesn’t seem to be so interesting and colorful anymore. All day long you dwell on the unfinished tasks on your desk; you just cannot let go of the unmet deadlines and numerous mistakes you made. The more you think about it, the more stressed, angry and impatient you become. The thing you need to constantly remind yourself is that the reason to all the mess in your life is that you stayed in your comfort zone, and that the only solution is to delibrately run out of the comfort zone, embracing the pain, the stretch, the possibility of failure. (How to make the pain bearable? You need to focus on the present.)

Remember that doing nothing is your choice to stay in the comfort zone.


A selected review on

chapter 3: the siren song of mediocrity

No one is willing to be just mediocre in life. Everybody wants to be an achiever, everybody would love to be admired by others.  However, (unfortunately) the majority of people settle for mediocrity, while making excuses why they can’t make it; anyhow, it must be because of somebody elses’ fault that they do not achieve what they “could have”.

Mediocrity takes on numerous forms. When you start a new day, you’ll bound to face new challenges, big or small. Every new challenge would be a great chance for “stretching”, that is, for you to develop new skills by doing things you haven’t done before.  Of course, you could also see it as a “problem”, something that you hate to deal with. The choice lies with you.

One thing that the book doesn’t talk about here is specific techiques on dealing with effective stretching. When you deliberately stretch, you might see “stretch marks”, which are unforseen influence stretch brings on your life. This is the time you know how to take care of these “stretch marks” and keep moving on. For instance, your goal is to be phisically stronger and you decide to a lot of training, but all the training might lead to energy deficiency, and lower your energy level at work. If you didn’t see this coming, you might be overwhelmed that you might lose faith after a few “failed” days. This is a critical time not to give up just then. Look into the reasons behind your problem, and seek possible solutions.

Some people give up easily. It’s probably not in their genes, but in thier upbringing. When you were a kid, you had no idea of failure; you tried again and again, and didn’t feel a thing. When I was 5 years old, I wanted to learn how to ride a bike. I sat on the bike, fell; climed up onto the bike, and fell again. Was I upset because I couldn’t ride the bike right? Not at all. all I wanted was to master the bike, and I wouldn’t stop until I learned how to do it.  However, as you and I grew up, we might have been told that “you can’t do this” “you can’t do that” or “you should not do this”. Some people took it seriously, and actually believed that they were incapable of doing certain things, without even trying. As time goes by, they hold the believe  that there are things they should not even try, because they’d fail anyway. Such beliefs, usually deeply rooted but not realized, are what lead people to mediocrity.

Therefore, sometimes you should take some time, look back at your life, and see if there are any patterns of success and failure, and then figure out a way to improve upon it.

A Review of “Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day”- part 1

This latest book by Todd Henry grabbed my attention instantly with the opening story, one about a wall where people put down their wishes and aspirations in the form of “before I die I want to…”. The truth is, many people have brought their best talent and ideas into the graves with them. They never accomplished what they had wished for, and thus died a regretful life.

The question now for every one of us is: what can I do about it?

In twelve chapters, the author talks about the important aspects of how not to die empty. Among those chapters my favorite ones are “chapter3: the siren song of mediocrity”,”chapter6: step out of your comfort zone” and “chapter8: be comfidently adaptable”. I’m going to do a review of each 3 chapters, and hopefully to remind myself(as well as you who are reading this) again that your time is limited, and you’ll die someday eventually, so make wise choices everyday.