3 years, 8 months, and 19 days. Fight the urge to be self-indulgent.





(The last picture has nothing to do with today’s topic, but I like Dalh and his statement that “[w]e are the music makers, and … the makers of dreams.”)


My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I hope you are still reading and continuing to immerse yourselves in the joy of discovery through reading.  Books introduce us to new worlds, different people, and endless possibilities.

If you have a free moment, read.  Reading will do you a world of good.  It will inform you about the world and the ways of the world.  For examples, books written by Plato more than 2,000 years ago are still being studied today for his insights on the human conditions.  It will improve your vocabulary tremendously.  http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/readingline/pdfs/ProfessionalPaper.pdf.  It will help protect you against being closed-minded.  For example, in The Negotiator, the character played by Kevin Spacey said he doesn’t read just ONE BOOK about the subject he’s interested in; he reads ALL THE BOOKS he could find about the subject.  Being exposed to a variety of viewpoints on any one particular subject is the only way you can fight against the biasness inherent in each book/author.

Quick condemnation of all that is not ours, of views with which we disagree, of ideas that do not attract us, is the sign of a narrow mind, of an uncultivated intelligence. Bigotry is always ignorant, and the wise boy, who will become the wise man, tries to understand and to see the truth in ideas with which he does not agree.

Annie Besant

(Biasness and balkanization are major threats these days when we lead more insular lives.  Further, almost two-thirds of Americans get their news from the social media of their choosing.  http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/.)

Fight the urge to indulge yourselves in what is easy or feels good at the moment — at the expense of doing what is good for you in the long run.  In the above example, people today indulge in surrounding themselves with Yes-men,  sycophants, or like-minded individuals to avoid having to deal with anyone who might question their values, ideas, and actions.  Such self-indulgence hurts them in the long-run because it prevents them from being exposed to new, different, or opposing ideas, and denies them the opportunity to enrich themselves and grow as a person.

Every second of every day, we are bombarded with choices that will cumulatively make us healthier and better beings, or that will only offer empty satisfaction of short-lived desires.  For example, right at this instant, you can choose to read, exercise, play video games, watch TV, or, among other things, continue reading this post.  Some of these choices will lead to your betterment while others won’t.  For lunch, you can eat the spicy instant ramen noodle you love, Shosh, or a healthy meal, consisting of the different food groups.  The former would fill your stomach and satisfy your taste buds, but the high sodium and chemical contents would harm your body.  The latter would also fill your stomach and would give your body needed nutrients to grow healthy and strong.  Choose wisely.

The alternative to choosing wisely is not pretty.  One of your aunties is a perfect example of what happens when you exercise no self-discipline but indulge your every whim.  She does what she wants, when she wants.  For example, she’s been known to yell at her bosses, throw things at people, flip off other drivers on the road, etc.  As a result, she’s been unable to hold a job, has precious few friends, and has enraged drivers who have followed her home in their cars.  When slighted, she has even threatened to burn down the homes of those who have tried to help her  Needless to say, she is not the picture of success.

Do better.

A smart person knows what to say. A wise person knows whether to not say it or to say it. Unknown source

Be kind in your words and actions, even when you don’t feel like it.  It will help you build relationships and a sense of community.  As discussed previously, studies have found that happiness can be measured by the strength of one’s social relationships.  See, e.g., http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/raising_happiness/post/happiness_is_being_socially_connected/; and, http://universe.byu.edu/2015/01/27/how-social-relationships-affect-our-happiness/.  Try to understand others and treat them as they want to be treated.  Taking a moment to think about someone other than yourself has the added benefit of helping you gain better perspective about your own life.  For example, not getting to buy that new game no longer may no appear so tragic after you discovered that your friend is losing his home because of family illness.  Be kind and think of others.

Those who do not study are only cattle dressed up in men’s clothes. Chinese Proverbs

Study and improve yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.  It will benefit you in the long run and will afford you greater opportunities for your future.  Look at your cousins on your mother’s side who chose to indulge their desire to not pursue an education beyond high school.  What kinds of jobs do they have now?  Well-paying jobs, working in air-conditioned offices?  Who are their spouses or significant others?  Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals who have bright futures for themselves and their families?  What does the future hold for these cousins?

The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of these things. Riches and honors acquired by unrighteousness are to me as a floating cloud.      Confucius

Do what’s right, even when — especially when — you don’t feel like it.  Character is not a matter of convenience.  Doing the right thing when it’s hard is precisely what tests your character, and defines who you are as a person.  I know you are good boys of good character.  Be true to your character.

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessing.     Hippocrates

Get up and exercise.  Do it, even when you don’t feel like it.  Don’t debate or give yourself an excuse.  You have only that one body to last you a lifetime.  Take care of it.  Don’t do drugs or abuse alcohol.

Be good.  Be happy.

All my love, always,






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