#WW: 🎣 Are you a dying fish playing a social media game?

#WW: 🎣 Are you a dying fish playing a social media game?

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

Today, we look at two stories with the theme of endings. One talks about how we might inevitably kill our self-confidence. The other talks about our unwillingness to face the uncertainty of death.

1. Here’s how we unwittingly devalue our accomplishments

2. The dying fish fighting over water and the lessons we can learn

Here’s how we unwittingly devalue our accomplishments

flat screen computer monitor turned on

What’s going on here

Liz and Mollie, a famous Instagram page for doodles, shares a poignant image of how we shatter our confidence just by simply scrolling through social media. The caption provides greater reflection for those of us who consume social media before we get out of bed in the morning.

Why we like it

This post reminds us of how we can do a disservice to ourselves by scrolling through social media. We often try to use social media to distract us from boredom…only to find ourselves feeling guilty for not moving fast enough/being good enough/being smart enough. This image is an easy reminder to not over-scroll on Instagram.

“If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling and self-loathing, remember that we usually only get to see people’s highlight reels.”

Wise Steps

Set an Instagram timer using its settings to make you pause through your scrolling. This prevents you from going into a loop of self-loathing.

Read it here or below

Want a more tangible way to grow? Check out Liz’s book on embracing emotions at work!

The dying fish fighting over water and the lessons we can learn

body of water surrounded by trees

What’s going on here

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu, a monk famous for translating loads of suttas into English & his uber-low voice, talks about how the impermanence of life can really motivate us to be better people. You could die today, are you ready to go? This 12 mins talk reminds us that if we don’t pull our act together, no one is gonna do it for us.

Why we like it

Venerable Thanissaro challenged us to look at our minds right now, and see if we are like fish fighting in a pond that is being drained of water. His calm narration would lure you back to reality and see what is truly important. This talk reminds us of how things are uncertain and how we can’t control our bodies & health.

“The world is drying up and the fishes are beating each other for whatever water is left.”

Wise Steps

Contemplating the impermanence of life can ground us in the present moment and guide us to prioritise the things that matter most in life. There is work to be done and we can’t be complacent.

Enjoy the talk here or play it below!

What Really Matters In Life?

What Really Matters In Life?

TLDR: Everyone has a different take as to what they think is important in life. Three things that matter most to me are love and kindness, personal growth and development as well as purpose.

Disclaimer: my answer to this question is based on my personal experience and reflection. Everyone has different takes on this matter. Please treat it with a pinch of salt. Thank you:)

Once, I asked my dad if he had ever blamed my grandparents for not sending him to university. Out of the eight siblings, only my Ah Pek (paternal elder uncle) was given the support to pursue higher education. What made me feel indignant was that my Ah Pek did not take the opportunity to complete his degree. 

On the other hand, my dad had to give up his dream of becoming a doctor. He had to take on the role of an ‘oldest’ son (Ah Pek was the oldest). This gave Ah Pek the opportunity to further his studies. My dad was a smart boy who always scored first in his cohort despite having to work after school and during the weekends when other kids were playing.

He was also a kind brother who always gave in to his siblings. I just found it such a shame that he did not get the opportunity he deserved. However, his answer to my question was a no. I was perplexed.

As a young girl, I grew up feeling jealous of my older sister. She was always the priority. From the presents that my parents got for us to enrichment classes she was sent to, she always had the best. 

Even the main reason why I was sent to study in Singapore was to accompany her (we are from Indonesia). We are only one and a half years apart but she seemed to always have more than me. I drew so many parallels between my dad’s life and mine but why did he respond so differently from me?

He explained to me: “there is no reason for me to blame them. The condition just was not right.”

“I was glad that at least your Ah Pek had a chance to go to college.” He shared. 

“He had good kamma. Think about it, if it was not for our family’s financial difficulties, do you think I would work hard to be where I am right now? I could pay for your Ah Gou’s (aunt’s) education, help to build the temple, and send you and Jie Jie to Singapore. Life is about making the best of what you have and being purposeful with it.” He added.

There comes a time when we ask ourselves, what really matters in life or does anything in life really matter? From my reflection on the parallels between my dad’s and my response, it helps me understand what really matters in life. Here are three lessons

1. Love and kindness

My dad’s love for his family was the strength that kept him going despite all the challenges that he faced. It was definitely not easy to combine work and study at such a young age. Yet, he did not complain and remained hopeful.

He did not see his choice of helping the family as a sacrifice, but rather, a privilege to show his love and care for his family. 

Because he sees life from the lens of love and kindness instead of hatred and resentment, he lives with contentment and peace. He also gained people’s trust as well as love and respect from his children.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu

2. Personal Growth and Development

No one is born perfect and that is the beauty of it. When we are aware of our weaknesses, we learn that there is no reason to be conceited and proud.

Looking back, the reason why I was often jealous and dissatisfied was that I held on to the fixed view that I had to have more to be happy

I blamed everything on the outside world, thinking that everything was unfair. My life was in a downward spiral as I held on tightly to my victim mentality.

After learning about the Four Noble truths, I came to understand that the source of my suffering was craving. Not getting what I want to result in so much anger and hatred. The mind’s nature is to always seek a more pleasant experience. However, the more things that I wanted, the more pain I got. That is why drug addicts find it challenging to overcome their addiction and need higher doses over time.

Meditation is so helpful in training the mind to be more mindful, peaceful, and aware. Although I am new to meditation, I put in effort to be a better practitioner. After all, personal growth and development is a work-in-progress right? *Wink wink*

“Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself.” – Dhammapada 103

3. Purpose

We may seek the meaning of life, but there is actually none. That is why as Buddhists, we practise working towards the end of Saṃsāra (cycle of rebirth).

However, it does not mean that we live a dissipated life. Instead, we create our own meaning of life. 

Meaning in life can include developing kindness, compassion, and love. In other words, we make peace with our lives by having good relationships with ourselves and with others. We can practise this anytime and anywhere.

“Better it is to live one day strenuous and resolute than to live a hundred years sluggish and dissipated.” – Dhammapada 112

Thank you for reading my reflection on what matters in life. I hope you gained something out of it.

With Metta,


Wise Steps:

  • Learn to not confuse perception from truth. This is because perception is subjective and may not depict the story accurately. Clinging to perception causes one to become infatuated, leading to more craving and suffering. (MN 149)
  • Practise the four brahma-viharas (loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity) to lead a happier life.
  • Be patient with yourself. Every process takes time and there is no timeline for you to follow.  

New to meditation like me?

Find out the essential knowledge and tips you need to help you better understand how to meditate. Our Meditation 101 guide is curated as a starting point for meditation for beginners as well as to help buddhist youth get a better understanding on the difference between buddhist meditation and secular meditation.

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