#WW:💸Does letting go mean I can’t be rich?

#WW:💸Does letting go mean I can’t be rich?

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

Is it ‘unwholesome’ to be materially rich? Especially from all the ang bao we have just received? As this month wraps on Chinese New Year, we reflect on the nature of wealth and how we use/earn our money. We tap on the late Venerable Sheng Yen’s wisdom on Buddhism & Money.

1. What is our relationship with money like?

2. Don’t rely on motivation

What is our relationship with money like?

person using laptop computer holding card
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What’s going on here

The late Venerable Sheng Yen, a famous Taiwanese monk, shares about money and how Buddhists should approach it. Earning money and greed cannot be treated as the same thing.

Why we like it

Venerable Sheng Yen shares his answers to different questions regarding money like ‘If I donate away ill-gotten gains, is it bad Kamma?’ ‘What if I lie as a salesman to get more sales? Is that right?’

We love it for how practical Venerable’s advice is in terms of needing money in this world but also using and obtaining it correctly. While the video is definitely dated in terms of format, we found it as a refreshing break away from the current era’s formatting.

“Greed and earning money should be treated as two separate thing. Greed means to consider one’s own benefits and gratification. “

Wise Steps

Evaluate how you feel about money. Does it always make you feel fearful or greedy that it is not enough or are you not thinking about it at all? Managing our relationship with money ensures that we don’t fall into extremes of overspending or underspending (miser mindset).

Watch it here (subtitles in English!) or below

Check out our film review of his biopic here

Don’t rely on motivation

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What’s going on here

Liz and Mollie, Instagram Artists, share a really impactful image on consistency & motivation. Motivation is lumpy in helping you reach the goal. It tends to follow the action. Conversely, consistency is the system you can rely on to reach your final outcome. Which will you choose?

Why we like it

We often think that we ‘need’ that motivation, however, motivation is transient. We want to lose weight today but end up eating Bak Kwa in the next moment. Consistency requires us to lean in on small but increment changes to get us to the final goal

” I rarely want to work out, so I’ll tell myself, “Just do it for 5 minutes and then you can quit.” Once I’ve gotten going, I feel good, and it’s easy to keep going.”

Wise Steps

Trying to get a new habit in? Make it atomic. Make it easy to do & do it consistently until you are ready for next step in shaping the habit.

Enjoy the post!

We also wrote about giving up on resolutions here!

P.S. We found making our habits more consistent after reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits.


#WW: 🥺My husband’s cheating led me to the Dhamma

#WW: 🥺My husband’s cheating led me to the Dhamma

Wholesome Wednesdays (WW): Bringing you curated positive content on Wednesdays to uplift your hump day.

2 stories for you today!

The week of love is coming up! We take a creative (maybe contrarian) spin this week on sharing a broken love can lead to the Dhamma and how to love our work.

1. How my husband’s affair led me to the Dhamma

2. How to love your work

How my husband’s affair led me to the Dhamma

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What’s going on here

Venerable Pema Chodron, a famous Tibetan Nun & author of “When Things Fall Apart“, shares how she became a Buddhist! How something really dark in her life transformed her into a Dhamma practitioner.

Why we like it

We can sometimes think of monastics as people who led comfortable lives and decided to renounce all worldly possessions. However, some come to the Dhamma and monastic life from a deeply traumatic experience. This shows the humanising part of Sangha and an eye-opener to how she dealt with the pain when she was enjoying the heights of her career and life.

“What i was feeling (anger & negativity) was a key to something rather than an obstacle to something.”

Wise Steps

When things fall apart, where do we turn to? Do we allow ourselves to feel the pain or numb it away?

Watch it here or below

How to love your work

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What’s going on here

School of Life (SOL) makes a video on how we can have a better relationship with our work. The five mins video touches on aspirations and finding meaning in our work. Loving your work, SOL argues, doesn’t start with your work.

Why we like it

With 1 in 4 Singaporeans planning to resign within the next few months, this matter more than ever. This video is easy to digest and makes us think deeper about what we want. It challenges us to drop the expectations of comparison with others’ lives.

” Work cannot fix the deficit of love. We should enjoy work on its own terms”

Wise Steps

Are you in a slump? Maybe it is time to slow down and acknowledge where you feel unsatisfied about your work-life. Asking yourself much needed questions about work and career can spark new insights!

Enjoy the video here or below!

Want to dive deeper and get something tangible? Check out School of Life’s Gratitude cards or Confidence flashcards


Having the courage to quit my job and start again. #Mindfulchats with Yanda

Having the courage to quit my job and start again. #Mindfulchats with Yanda

TLDR: Why quit your job during a pandemic? How do we help our friends who are thinking about quitting?

When the pandemic plunged the world into recession, university graduates felt nervous. The fear of not finding a job or having your job offer rescinded was real.

Hence, to land a job and then quit your stable, full-time job during a pandemic makes you pause and say “Huh, why?”. Yanda has a different take. He asks ‘Why not?’.

Sipping coffee as Yanda shares his story

The Job Hunt Hype

Yanda, a final year student in 2020, took his time to enjoy university while it lasted. He mentioned that “everyone was rushing to secure a job. There was great hype for job hunting.”

It was definitely not an easy climate to be in. Rather than worrying about uncertainty, Yanda volunteered for Buddhist Organisations such as NTU Buddhist Society/ BYN (Buddhist Youth Network). He then took on the job search in his own time.

(No. Yanda doesn’t come from an uber-rich family where a job falls on his lap. He didn’t see the need for an all-or-nothing chase.)

Eventually, Yanda obtained a few offers in the engineering space and took on a role he thought he might enjoy. That is where things changed.

Is This It?

Work soon became monotonous and a routine for him. He noticed a routine of “working, going out for lunch, sitting back down and going home.”

This made him wonder, “Is this it? Is this how I am going to spend my life? What do I want? If I lived to 60 years, will I be content with doing 40 years of the same thing?”

In response to his musing, I mumbled: “Definitely not me.”

His attempt at sharing work struggles with some friends did not yield something he could relate to. They alluded to “finding meaning in your job rather than have the meaning come to you.” It was cold comfort.

I could see his thought process unfold and why that advice didn’t sit well. Yes, there was this sense of job security during a pandemic but it brought little meaning to him. That meaning was nearly impossible to find.

The turning point came when this question popped to mind, “If tomorrow, I am going to die, I would only remember that I did paperwork here and there. That’s it”. That spurred him into action. He tendered his resignation and left the company to the shock of his peers. New hires are usually expected to stay in that job for at least 2 years, but he stayed in that role for less than 6 months.

The Pains Of Change

“I had fear and felt scared”, he gulped when recalling the moment he quit and had no job offer on the horizon.

“So what helped you through the uncertainty?” I quizzed.

The fellowship of his Buddhist circle who listened patiently was what brought him to a brighter state of mind. Friends that were slow to advise but quick to listen to his pain helped him greatly. “That is what matters…being there for me,” he concluded.

“Confidence in the Buddha’s teaching, knowing that all these negative emotions would fade,” he added, gave him strength when he was alone. He viewed the transition as “uncertainty at its very core.”

Over the years, having done mindfulness practice enabled him to watch his emotions and to make  necessary changes without attachment. That gave him the conviction that it was not an impulsive move but an informed one.

Starting Again

Smiling as he recalled his Buddhist work, “I have done a lot of Buddhist work that brought joy to me. If this (engineering) job doesn’t fit me, what can I do?”

As causes and conditions came together, Yanda didn’t need to wait long for an answer.

“A friend told me that she had an opening at a preschool where they wanted a Dhamma friend to help build the school’s curriculum.” He recalled. He mulled on the idea of facing kids all day and decided to take the plunge.

Yanda is now studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood Education while working to help build the preschool’s curriculum.

“Uncertainty,” he answers immediately when asked what he loves about his job. “What the children can bring to you every day with every interaction presents uncertainty,” he added.

When he dived deeper, he felt lifted about being able to help kids appreciate this ‘thing’ called the mind. Letting them know that there are ways to develop their minds. Equipping them with Buddhist concepts, techniques and emotional awareness to thrive in a stressful world really motivated him.

“Kids are easy to teach, as they are free of concepts,” he quipped. At that moment, I recalled being an inquisitive child, something I felt I have lost along the way. It was interesting to see how uncertainty could bring us pain (job transition) and joy (teaching kids).

Helping Others Start Again

I was curious to hear Yanda’s take on how we can help our friends’ transition from one job to another.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but what I can say is that this is something cliché,” Yanda shared.

“Listen to them and be genuinely happy for them. Recognise that they took a courageous decision to step out of something that did not fit them,” he added.

On a practical side, Yanda shared that we should remind our friends to also financially plan ahead if they choose to resign without a job offer. As a rule of thumb, one should have at least 3-6 months of expenses saved in cash to weather them through their job search.

His advice was grounded heavily on the Buddhist idea of appreciative joy which is a joy in the achievements/victories of others.

“How can I support you? Do you need resources/contacts?” has been one of the most helpful questions friends asked. I instantly agreed by nodding furiously as I felt that we often are quick to develop solutions without considering our friends’ needs.

Turning Back Time

“Your first job is super important” is one piece of advice that Yanda recommends ignoring for graduating students. It adds unnecessary stress to the individual. That person may then seek out the perfect job which may not exist.

Having wisdom is crucial in helping us see the world properly. If he could turn back time to advise his graduating self, he would say this: “Have an attitude in life that let the results take care of themselves once I try my best. If it doesn’t go my way, what can I do next?” and “We are our own boss, only we can understand our emotions and the true nature of our mind.” 

Asking that question gives us the courage to be open to what life can bring. What we can do is to create conditions for success while developing a sense of non-attachment to the outcome.

“Understand we have a mind, and emotions are never truly ours. Just like a cup. The reason why we wash it is that we are confident that the dirt can be washed off. The dirt was never the cup.” he summarised.

It was a mind-blowing summary of expectations and emotions. Recognising emotions as transitory and being at ease with the unpleasant is a skill set we all need as we go through the different changing phases of life.

Yanda showed that Singapore youths are hungry for life and meaning. We need not stay in the same job just to clock a magical number of years before leaving. Asking ourselves “Is this it?” can spark conversations and paths we never dreamt of.

Yanda is currently working in Blue Lion Preschool as an early childhood educator trainee. 

Sailing The Highs & Lows of Working Life

Sailing The Highs & Lows of Working Life

TLDR: When we are at the height of our career success and plummet into failure overnight, what do we do? Gather our courage to see things from a different perspective. 

The Highs Could Only Go Higher Right?

2019 was an amazing year for my career. I achieved the coveted promotion by securing large revenues for my company, the bosses had only praise for my hard work, and I earned nearly 1-year worth of bonus. 

Times were good, and when January of 2020 approached, I had only big plans for the year. This was going to be the zenith, I knew that I would achieve my second promotion, earn even more money and shine ever bigger. 

In a natural turn of events, I knew nothing. 

The moment COVID began impacting Malaysia, my career nosedived in a single day. All the deals I had lined up were halted, and the tumultuous journey began. 

Long were the days of tough talk with the bosses; it felt almost like a consistent interrogation revolving around my presence in the company despite my lack of revenue. It was apparent how the company now saw me as a burden.

The Crash Of Change

I was entangled in a mass and mess of emotions; my mind alike to the sea that I so love, unpredictable. Fury, jealousy, melancholy, had a wonderful time consuming my waking thoughts. 

Thoughts of “Why can’t they understand my difficult situation?” and “Why are they making things difficult for me?” only oiled further anger within. 

To soothe this heat, I began plotting to create reputation damage to the company. Sharing this with a good friend, he merely asked “What is the point of harming others and oneself?”

Building Courage Again

That phrase gave my mind a sudden epiphany. For years I have heard the phrase ‘embrace change’, but now I am behaving like a temperamental child robbed of desires. 

It is odd how I welcome change with a big hug only if it is in my favour yet loathe the tide’s natural turn when my desires are unmet. What I needed, was quite simply courage. 

Courage to admit that success and failure are betrothed, there is nothing shameful about failing. Courage to refrain from blaming an external party for the source of my negative emotions, and instead to realise that I am still a lot of work in progress. Courage to embrace change, both positive and negative with grace. 

I found the Dhamma quote on being unshakeable when the winds of life blow inspiring: 

“As a solid rock

is not shaken by the wind,

even so the wise are not

ruffled by praise or blame.”

Dhammapada Verse 81

My world outside may burn with uncertainty, but I can make the conscious choice to continue my best efforts with quiet stability.

2020 turned out to be another good year for me; it was rich with life’s lessons and discovering this potential for courage. 

May this simple story help you face any challenges with courage and grace.


Wise Steps :

  • When times are good, or when times are bad, just remind yourself “This is not permanent. This is a natural part of life.”
  • Acknowledge the pleasant or unpleasant emotions that have arisen, and let it go.