Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The pursuit of happiness

Are the pursuit of happiness and success mutually exclusive?

It is oft heard that one has to be contented with one’s achievement to be happy. Popular media portrays the ambitious to be unhappy and lonely people. Likewise, others who crave material wealth and status symbols are depicted to be in a rat race, doomed to run forever in a event that has no finishing line. The Native Red Indian chief noted wisely that the craving for possessions will doom the white man. Does that mean that happiness will always elude those chasing success? 

The common wisdom goes that happiness belongs to those who’re happy with what they have. Yet social conventions demand that we should always seek to upgrade ourselves and aim for loftier targets. These glaringly conflicting goals seem to indicate that the modern man will always be caught in a bind between attaining personal happiness and satisfying the social expectations, and cursed to be in a constant state of unhappiness. Damn if you’re satisfied with the status quo, and damned if you’re not. 

As such, many people believe that the modern man is caught in a conflict that cannot be resolved, but I feel otherwise. You can still pursue material success and yet be happy, but two criteria have to be fulfilled.

First, success (material or otherwise) should be defined from within and not imposed upon by social expectations. Of course it is neither easy nor even possible, but one has to attempt to analyze one’s personal goal and listen to his heart, to discover whether you truly crave what you are aiming for. Be true to yourself and seek the goals that will make you happy, rather than meeting social expectations and making everyone else happy.

Secondly, rediscover the statement that “one should be contented to be happy”. If contentment runs counter to your personal agenda of upgrading and aiming higher, perhaps that knot could be easily resolved by thinking “one should always be happy with what you have”. You should always be happy with what you already have, be it material wealth, health or relationships. But that doesn’t stop you from seeking higher levels of your own targets. What is important here is that while you seek bigger goals, you should always be happy with what you have around you.

The problem most individuals have is binding happiness with contentment – they are not contented with what they already own and thus seek higher targets, and thus they are unhappy with the status quo. But think about it – if your entire life is spent chasing higher goals (and that is a good thing), wouldn’t you be eternally plagued by unhappiness if you are miserable with what you already have? Is there truly an end point to this race? Wouldn’t life be much better if you can separate happiness from contentment, so you can reach out to greater goals (by not being contented) and yet remain happy while reaching higher?

Think about it – the commonsense approach to happiness and contentment intertwines both irrevocably. But it should never have been so. The pursuit of contentment and improvement is a never-ending process, but the pursuit of happiness is a state of mind. And it is one that you can achieve right now.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Taiwan's answer to Susan Boyle

Remember Susan Boyle? The unattractive and frumpy lady who got sneered and giggled up when she strode up the stage in Britain Has Talent, and then blew the pants off everyone when she sang an incredible rendition of "I dreamed a dream".

Well, Taiwan has talent too! A tubby boy with a odd bowl-shaped haircut stunned the crowd and judges of a talent show "Super Star Avenue" with his rendition of Whitney Houston's "I'll Always Love You". Now most of us are familiar with that song, or rather how difficult it is to sing that song well (if at all). So here... go ahead and see for yourself how talent transcends prejudices...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Launch of new photo website and photo forum!

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of two major projects I've been working on - my revamped photography website and a new photography forum!

Nelson's Photography Website

My photography website at has been around for quite a while now, but this revamp gives it a brand new look to bring it up to date. In addition, you will also find new articles online as well as some reviews I've done lately. If you know someone who wants to learn photography, be sure to visit the website because I've a great new syllabus to help anyone pick up photography online!

Photomiki photography forum

My buddy David Ng (of GoDigital fame) and I decided to do something for the photo community, and what better ways are there to build knowledge than to build on the immense experience of the photo community? So after much huffing and puffing, we managed to set up the Photomiki photography forum! Remember to visit the photo forum to share your knowledge or ask some questions, or just to buy and sell your camera gear!

Leave some comments on you like my new projects!

Video of new Alfa Romeo Giulietta!

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. The new Alfa Romeo Giulietta (pronounced Juliet-ta) looks absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, especially in white. If you are looking for a compact car, I implore you to check it out when it arrives. Forget about cars without soul and passion - this Alfa Romeo is the real deal!

Still uncertain about it? Well.. check out this gorgeous video of the Alfa Romeo Guilietta!