Yesterday night, I celebrated my 16th Wedding Anniversary with my sweeter and smarter half. We were dining at the top floor of Ion Orchard and right behind us, in the background, was the ‘Four Seasons Hotel’, where we wed in 2000 (what a beautiful coincidence).
Like all great relationships, our 22-year love affair (we first met when I was an army boy) was not just sunshine and rainbows. We have had our fair share of ups and downs, arguments, disappointments and driving each other nuts at times. Looking back, it was riding through the toughest of times that made our love stronger and more meaningful.
Let me share what I have learnt about making a marriage stronger over time…so far (of course, I am still learning). To have a successful marriage is no different from maintaining a successful career, business, health etc… YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT. You have to use the right strategies. It does not happen by chance. Here are some of our strategies…
1) Always support your spouse in whatever they want to do (as long as it is legal, ethical and moral ;-))
When my wife wanted to become a vegetarian, I supported her beliefs fully (although I am a super carnivore) and in return, she cooks all the meat dishes for me and eats only veggie dishes herself.
2) Love your spouse the way THEY want to be loved
Don’t love your partner the way you want to be loved. Love them the way THEY want to be loved. Learn her love language and make her feel loved at least 3 times a day!
3) Always make your spouse feel special
Always compliment, praise and encourage your partner. You must be their #1 cheerleader in life! Inspire them with your words and never ever criticize them.
4) Keep Acting Like Teenagers in Love
After 2 kids, 22 years and extra 25Kg, wrinkles and white hair between us, we still send each other mushy text messages daily, hold hands and get naughty whenever no one is looking.
5) Never ever go to bed angry
No matter how bad the fight or the argument, we always settle it before we go to bed at night (our record was stretching till 5am the next morning). Always go to bed in each other’s arms. and most important rule…..once a fight is over, NEVER bring it up ever again. Be like Dory fish, forget easily all past wrongs. Keep on swimming 🙂
6) Make laugh and love daily
Finally… keep making each other laugh and climax daily. Life out there is stressful enough as it is. So, make each other feel great all the time.
Let me end with a quote that has always guided me (BTW, I quote ALL religions)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Your ‘WHY’ is more important than the ‘HOW’. When you know WHY you must succeed and have a compelling reason, you will always find the HOW… no matter how tough things seem, no matter how many times you are knocked down, you will always find the strength to GET BACK UP.
However, if you don’t know WHY you are going for a goal. If you do not have a strong purpose, all the ‘HOW’ and strategies will not help.
Watch how James Buster Douglas got up after being knocked out by Mike Tyson (nobody in the world ever survived a punch by Mike Tyson) and beat Tyson to win the world heavyweight championship. Dougla’s mother told him to beat Mike Tyson and she died just before the fight. That was his WHY… what is yours?
Have you been working hard in a particular area of your life, but not seeing the rewards for all your effort? Maybe you have been spending countless hours learning how to trade, researching for stocks and doing hundreds of trades, but not making the huge profits you expect. Maybe you have been spending hours and hours working on your new business, only to break even or losing money year after year. Maybe you have spent hours encouraging and tutoring your child, only to see him/her continue producing below average grades.
It can be often discouraging. We seemingly do all the right things, and nothing happens. But for those who do things right and are not discouraged and are persistent, things will happen! You will be hugely rewarded if you stick to it!
Here is a powerful story about the Chinese Bamboo Tree.
To grow, the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires alot of nurturing through water, fertile soil, and sunshine.
If you plant a seed, water the tree and add fertilizer for a whole year, nothing happens. There are no visible signs of growth in spite of providing all of these things.
Afer a second year of watering and fertilizer, there is again NO GROWTH above the soil.
Three to four years on…..there is still no sign of anything happening. NOTHING to show for all our efforts!
Our patience is tested, and we begin to wonder if our efforts caring for and watering the tree will ever be rewarded. We start to doubt ourselves and question the value of our efforts. Inevitably, many people will start to quit.
But then finally in the fifth year – something amazing happens…
The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet tall in just six weeks!
But think for a moment, does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? Did the Chinese Bamboo Tree lie do nothing for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth?
In fact, for the first 4 years,the little tree growing underground, developing a root system strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond.Had the tree not developed a strong unseen foundation, it could not have sustained its future tall structure.
The same principle is true for success in business, wealth and investing/trading.
People, who patiently work hard towards mastering their skills and moving towards goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success. Meanwhile get-rich-quick thinkers usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth. They haven’t become the person they need to be to support such success.
Had the Chinese Bamboo Tree farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth. In other words, the actions caused by self-doubt would stop or slow down the eventual growth of the tree and manifestation of our success.
It takes faith to work while you wait. It takes belief in yourself to keep going. It takes confidence to trust that you always get rewarded for how hard you work – sometimes now, often times later, always eventually. You have to keep going. You have to keep fighting!
Long ago, there lived an old farmer and his son. their most cherished possession was a horse —a beautiful stallion. But one day, father and son awoke to find it missing.The villagers gathered around and lamented their great loss. The farmersaid, “We shall see if this is good or if this is bad.”
After a week, the horse returned, with another female stallion. This time, the villagers praised the old man’s remarkable luck—he was now the wealthiest man in town! But the farmer again said, “We shall see if this is good or if this is bad.”
One day, while riding the new horse, the son fell off and broke both legs badly. The villagers bemoaned the family’s terrible misfortune. Again, the farmer said, “We shall see if this is good or if this is bad.”
The next week, soldiers marched into the village. A war was underway, and all young men were to be taken from the village into battle. But because of his broken legs, the farmer’s son was left behind. The villagers envied the farmer’s good fortune! The old farmer smiled and said nothing at all.
I am sure of all us can relate to the everyday ups and downs in life. Some days, everything just seems to go our way and other days, our luck ‘seems to be down’. In the story,the farmer remains calm and centered, no matter what the event- calamity or joyous is manifesting in the world around him.
Think about an event that might have happened recently in your life. It can be either an event you judged as bad or an event you judged as very lucky. Notice that the old farmer does not judge. In his place of centeredness, he reserves judgment. Everyone around him expresses views of whether an event is good or bad. He is not influenced by them.
Instead of being quick to judge about how bad things are when they don’t go our way, move your consciousness to a higher level of awareness and understand that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON and that when one door closes, another will open.
Once we adopt a judgment of a situation, we close ourselves to different possibilities. We lose our perspective and sometimes the opportunity to create different outcomes. If we judge a day as bad, it sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because we live and react out of
the belief that it is a bad day. When we have faith that the dots in our lives will connect, and choose to believe that everything is happening to serve our greater purpose, will be able to live our lives with peace of mind and confidence.
What We Can Learn from Donald Trump’s Win
First of all, let me just say that I am not a supporter of Trump. I was appalled and disgusted by his sexism, dishonesty, racism and selfishness. Like most rational people, I was sorely disappointed that Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate, did not win. It seemed that the American people had been taken in by a great con artist who played on their fears and dreams.
What can we learn from this? What does this mean? How do we explain this to our children?
I always believe that it is not the experiences we have that shape our lives. It is what we choose to focus on and our interpretation of these events that ultimately shape our thoughts, emotions, actions and destiny. We can choose to interpret things in a way that empowers us to become better people or give meaning to experiences in a way that disempowers us.
It is easy to draw the worst lessons from Trump’s win. I have heard people say:
”This proves that working hard, doing your homework and being qualified is no longer important. Ultimately, it is the person who bullshits the most who will get the job”.
“ It’s okay to be ignorant, racist, sexist and vulgar. As long as you prey on people’s fears, you will win” …
If these are the lessons we take away from all this, then it would be a tragedy.
Is there anything truly good we can learn from this? I believe there is. One good thing you can learn from Trump is his ‘never say die’ attitude to fight to the very end, in the face of insurmountable odds. Almost everyone was against him (and rightly so). The media, the party elites, the world laughed at him, written him off countless times and threw everything they could at him. Celebrities and billionaires from Lady Gaga to Warren Buffett denounced him. Billions were spent on negative ads to discredit him daily.
Yet, he continued to campaign with his unshakable confidence. He believed in his own bullshit so much that it became real (he said the polls were fake… they were really inaccurate). In a way, it reminds me of Steve Jobs who created his own reality distortion field. They both believed in his own bullshit so much that the bullshit became real. In the words of George Costanza on Seinfeld, “ Jerry, It is not a lie… if you believe it”. Am I advocating dishonesty? Of course not! The lesson to learn is the power of self-belief in creating the reality we want. Always believe in yourself, even if the whole world doesn’t and you will prevail. Let’s learn the good traits from Trump and disregard the bad ones.
Imagine if you were 70 years old (Trump’s age), would you have the stamina and fortitude to keep fighting and speaking at multiple events in multiple states with almost no chance of winning? He did. And that is something we can all learn from. So, no matter how old you are and no matter how hopeless the situation, you keep fighting! You keep pushing! Anything is possible!
God Does Not Give Us What We Want. He Gives Us What We Need.
I have had some religious people say to me, “ Why did God allow Trump to be President? It’s not fair that good things happen to bad people”. As they questioned their faith, I said to them, “God Does Not Give Us What We Want. He Gives Us What We Need”.
I cannot profess to know about God’s plan but here is a theory that I choose to believe. I believe that God gives us what we deserve and what we need.
Maybe after years of sacrifice and public service, Hillary deserves to take a break and finally take care of herself and her family. She has done enough for others. Maybe at the age of 70 herself, it is best she spends her last 10-20 years with people who truly love her than solving the world’s conflicts and be defending attacks from adversaries for the next 8 years. Maybe she has earned her dues. Maybe by losing, she actually won her life back.
After criticizing Obama’s administration for doing a lousy job and bragging about how easy it is to make America great again, Trump is getting what he deserves… which is to be in the President’s shoes and learning how difficult the job truly is. If you look at his body language when he went to the White house, it’s saying, ‘God! What have I gotten myself into?’
Maybe through this experience, Trump will learn about how to become a better person. Maybe that’s God’s plan for him. With the world’s problems now on his shoulders, having to face and answer to millions of people who now depend on him for their future, maybe he will finally grow spiritually and develop empathy, compassion and respect for others. Again, God does not give us what we want. He gives us what we need.