#WW:🤭 Saying no at work when you’re a people pleaser.

#WW:🤭 Saying no at work when you’re a people pleaser.

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

One of the key tenets of the Buddha’s eightfold path is ‘right speech’ . Sometimes, we may mistake practising ‘right speech’ as trying to never ‘say no’. How can we improve the way we say no at work so that we protect our space? In addition, how what is a quick way to understand right speech? Here are two helpful materials for us to practice wise speech at the workplace. 

1. 7 tips for saying no at work without destroying relationships
2. 4 types of speech to avoid

7 tips for saying no at work without destroying relationships

Cr: Unsplash

What’s going on here & Why we like it

Amy Rigby, a writer at fingerprint for success, shares 7 tips on how to say no at work and examples that you can apply immediately. We found this useful as it highlights principles to keep in mind when extra work wanders into our inbox and we struggle between working late and being the ‘ugly’ colleagues who says no. Amy also provides ways to say no such as “ I’m honoured you asked for my help. but” or “I wish I could, but..” followed by “that does not sound like a good fit for me” or “ I am working on other projects right now”. Give it a try! You never know how much time you can save by saying no.

“You don’t have to go into great detail about why you’re declining. A simple ‘my schedule is packed this week’ is fine.”

Wise Steps

  • When was the last time you said no and protect your breathing space at work/ at home?
  • Practise some of these examples and apply them to an unreasonable request that next comes your way.

Check out the post here or below!

4 types of speech to avoid

Cr: Phra Nick’s Youtube Channel on 5 tools for better speech

What’s going on here & why we like it

Venerable Nick, a monk living in Thailand who is active on youtube for his short videos of Dhamma, shares more about right speech and easy examples for us to understand and practice in day to day life. His calm voices guides through the Buddha’s right speech which is often missing at the workspace and in the online world. He shares 5 tools for us to practice better speech.

“Come back and check on why you are sharing what you are sharing…I am sharing this story, what is the point of that?”

Wise Steps

  • Contemplate: Which part of the 4 speeches do I need to improve on?
  • Practice: Apply the 5 tools for practising right speech for a happier and more peaceful life

Watch it here

#WW: 😅”Nah, I played a small role.”: How often do we refuse praise?

#WW: 😅”Nah, I played a small role.”: How often do we refuse praise?

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

Be humble. Don’t claim credit. Heard this at work or during projects? How often do we undermine ourselves at work and amongst friends? Here are two stories today to help you take credit when it is due and how to remove hesistance

1. I don’t deserve it, other people do much more.

2. Interrupting your what ifs

I don’t deserve it, other people do much more.

Cr: Unsplash

What’s going on here & Why we like it

Ajahn Brahm, a famous Buddhist monk, shares his personal experience of refuting praise as a norm and his further reflections on it. We have time-stamped the segment on this talk for those busy folks! In Asian societies, taking credit can be frowned upon and we sometimes feel devalued. Ajahn Brahm reminds us to celebrate our wins and have a little fun

“I was saying no. I don’t deserve it, other people do much more than me….I realised I deserved that and that changed me. I started to realise how often we refuse praise and how wonderful it is when we accept praise”

Wise Steps

Taking in praise enables us to strive harder and be worthy of future praises. Take in the little wins of life that makes you smile!

Check out the video here or below!


Interrupting your what ifs

Cr: Unsplash

What’s going on here & why we like it

Mel Robbins, a famous podcaster, shares how we can overcome resistance and a ruminating mind that keeps playing through our what-ifs. We like it because we are often paralysed by the prospect of failures and do not see the possibilities. Comfort can become a place that holds us back from reaching out towards a brighter and happier life.

“What if it all works out? What if this turns out to be the hardest thing I do but the best decision I’ve made.”

Wise Steps

When was the last time you placed a bet on yourself and not what others said? Try Mel’s technique of replacing the critic within with something more supportive.

4 Hidden Ways To Have Deeper Conversations

4 Hidden Ways To Have Deeper Conversations

TLDR: Ever had a deep conversation when time flew by and you connected wholeheartedly with your confidante? Oddly, time froze and you were fully present. How can we create conditions for such conversations to occur?

The Challenge:

Alas, why is a heartfelt conversation hard in the first place? These days, our attention span has been altered crazily by social media. Instagram Reels & Tik Tok reward our brains with shots of dopamine whenever we get a comment or like. Groovy music or snappy videos serve us a fresh shot every day.

It is no wonder a deep conversation is hard to come by — a social treasure waiting to be discovered. We can learn to steer conversations deeper rather than staring at our screens.

Here are four subtle ways to create deeper conversations within your social circles or even Dhamma youth groups! These are methods borrowed from people wiser than me!

1. Ask Better Questions

We were taught to avoid the ‘weather talk’, to avoid politics, and religion (sharing Dhamma anyone?). Does this mean we talk about neutral and bland topics?

Tim Ferris, an American entrepreneur who does awesome podcasts about self-growth, begs to differ. He interviews people from all walks of life and asks them deep questions that seem superficial.

Those simple questions lead to deep lessons and conversations with the individual. Questions like ‘How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a favourite failure’ of yours?’ or ‘In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?’ or ‘What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why?’

Why are these questions ‘better’? 

These questions are not too broad (e.g. ‘how are you doing?’), which makes the speaker reach out for an equally broad answer like ‘Been busy’ or ‘Been fine’. They are also not too piercingly direct, which erodes the conversation’s psychological safety (e.g. ‘How has your marriage failure affected you?’). 

Tim’s questions give guardrails for the speaker to reply and also the space to steer the question into comfortable grounds. 

This process boils down to the quality of empathy – the ability to think from that person’s perspective and find a middle ground question that makes them feel safe and open. 

Tying these questions to the person’s most recent happenings can help you add flavour to your soup of questions. Context matters! For example, if it is a festive season such as Vesak Day or Christmas, you might want to phrase the ‘book’ question (mentioned above) as ‘Oh Vesak/Christmas is coming up. What books would you recommend giving people in the spirit of this giving season?’

Contextualising our questions nudges us towards having a true interest in the other and avoids the ‘risk’ of creating a checklist conversation.  

2. Make writers, not witnesses

It is never about what happened to anyone we speak to. How they experience their lives is what makes the conversation insightful. Asking better questions is just one part of the puzzle; making your speakers do more than a recitation of their week is another.

Use open-ended questions like ‘How was it like to be the first…’ or ‘How did you manage to cope with…’ to keep the conversation centred on your speaker. Follow up on their stories by asking your friends or family members about their perspective of the event in retrospect. 

This conversation technique gives the person an opportunity to add a new layer of emotion and even transform that pain into a lesson of wisdom and love. The conversation then allows them to write and rewrite their experiences.

3. Don’t fear pauses

If we are listening to respond rather than to understand our speakers, we can be afraid of silent pauses. Pauses can be dreadful in a conversation where we talk to impress. When we are unable to elucidate a response at that moment, we fear that we may have just said junk.

If we perceive pauses as mindful breaks to settle back in the present moment, we give ourselves time to internalise what has been discussed. 

There is no rush. There is nowhere else to be.

What can help us through pauses, is to dig deeper into what has been discussed. One can use phrases like ‘Oh yes, you mention that xxx means xxx for you. What brings you to that conclusion?’.

These questions help to replace our fear of pauses with curiosity about a person’s stance on different topics. Our focus shifts from ‘I have to say something smart’ to ‘Oh wow, what led this person to think this way’. When we have that level of curiosity, our fear of silence diminishes. 

4. Smile at disagreements

The opposite of silence, some might argue, is disagreement. People can disagree on topics that are personal to you. The other may say Buddhists are just ‘idol worshippers‘ or ‘Meditation is useless’. What do you do?

That is where the mindfulness & metta practice gets into play. We acknowledge that there is a disagreement and then find ways to understand how that person arrived at his/her/their evaluation. 

Remember, once you see yourself or your identity as under attack, you arrive at suffering-land.

Hence, it is critical to remain calm when your opinions are challenged. It is okay to say ‘I am not comfortable discussing that right now’ rather than to engage in a battle of shouting views.

Adar Cohen, a renowned mediator, brings the term ‘gem-statements’ into the art of conversation. When both parties have done their best to listen and be empathetic, someone unearths the priceless gem. It is usually one to two short and powerful statements. The statements should be a genuine expression of your feelings and have a strong, positive, and meaningful impact on the other person.

These are some gem-statements that you can bring to your next ‘disagreement’:

‘We kept on fighting because none of us is willing to walk away from this friendship. That’s something.’

‘Even when we can’t agree on how to take care (of your) uncle’s health, I’ve never doubted your good intentions. I know you want the best for him’

This gem-statement lights the way around a compromise or towards a solution.

Deeper Conversations ahead!

There are way more subtle ways to have deeper conversations than the four tips highlighted here. However, grasping these four methods right will help you to get started in becoming a subtly deep conversationalist. May you find that deep moment of clarity and precious insights in your next conversations.

Wise steps:

  • Better questions are crucial in starting conversations, memorise some of them and try them next time

  • Remember ‘Writers & not witnesses’, get someone to share their emotions and experiences and not the key points of their event

  • Don’t be afraid of pauses in your conversations. Treat them as a mindful pause to recollect and refill your empathy jar

  • Find gem-statements, one to two empathetic and impactful lines, in difficult conversations. Be ready to walk away if it is too much!
#WW:💓Beyond attending Pink Dot, how can we support our LGBTQ+ friends?

#WW:💓Beyond attending Pink Dot, how can we support our LGBTQ+ friends?

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

Pink Dot, an event that supports people’s right to love, comes and goes every year. This year is back to a physical event with many hugs exchanged and photos taken. Beyond the event, how can we show support and compassion to our LGBTQ+ friends?

1. To foster harmony and understanding, we first must drop the need to be right all the time. Here’s how

2. The ultimate guide to inclusivity in organisations (Buddhist ones included!)

To foster harmony and understanding, we first must drop the need to be right all the time. Here’s how

white round ornament on white surface

What’s going on here

The author shares how we can establish harmony between the divides in society. Staying silent about discrimination can make us part of the problem too. Understanding our and others’ fears can bridge the gap.

Why we like it & the key takeaway

The author gives super nice graphics on how we can react in different situations. For example, if a colleague is uncomfortable with another colleague’s sexual orientation. Or in other cases, a colleague feels discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

“A constructive approach is to educate ourselves about the opposing views in hopes that our perspectives can be shifted, and that misconceptions can be cleared. “

Check out the full article below!

The ultimate guide to inclusivity in organisations (Buddhist ones included!)

Screen capture from Rainbodhi’s Manual

What’s going on here

Rainbodhi, a spiritual friendship group for LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and an advocate for more inclusion and diversity in the broader Buddhist community, shares a simple manual for boosting inclusivity in Buddhist groups and more!

Why we like it & key takeaways

The cute comic strip helps the reader navigate the dos and don’ts in creating an inclusive practitioner circle for all. More importantly, the manual also shares perspectives on the link between Anatta & sexual identity. We love the manual as it is comprehensive in building a more inclusive organisation.

“Some Buddhists use the concept of not-self to shut down LGBTQIA+ people talking about issues that affect them, or the very real suffering that they experience.”

Check out the manual here!

If you would like a physical copy, do drop an email to: [email protected]