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Work Smart vs Work Hard

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Working hard is not necessarily useful; it is better to work smart.
Japan’s largest cosmetics company received complaints from customers complaining that the boxes of soap they bought were empty. So, to prevent this from happening again on the production line, the engineers worked hard to invent an X-ray monitor. They used the monitor to check every soapbox shipped.

The same problem occurred in another small company. Their solution was to buy a powerful industrial fan to blow each soapbox and blow away the empty boxes. Simple!

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NASA discovered that in the low temperature and low gravity conditions of outer space, astronauts could not write with regular ink pens. So they spent a lot of money and effort to develop a pen that could write at low temperature without gravity.

What do the Russians do? They used pencils instead!

These stories demonstrate the difference between focusing on the “problem” and focusing on the “solution” to the problem! Sometimes we have blind spots like this at work; so to work hard is not necessarily useful; it is much better to work smart!

 

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – Chapter 29

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將欲取天下而為之,吾見其不得已。
天下神器,不可為也,為者敗之,執者失之。
故物或行或隨;或歔或吹;或強或羸;或挫或隳。
是以聖人去甚,去奢,去泰。
There are those who will conquer the world
And make of it (what they conceive or desire).
I see that they will not succeed.

(For) the world is God’s own Vessel
It cannot be made (by human interference).
He who makes it spoils it.
He who holds it loses it.

For: Some things go forward,
Some things follow behind;
some blow hot,
And some blow cold;
Some are strong,
And some are weak;
Some may break,
And some may fall.

Hence the Sage eschews excess, eschews extravagance,
eschews pride.
(Translation by Lin Yutang )

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A constant law of history is that the emperors or rulers take turns to govern the people. A hero is nothing but a product of his current situation; the current situation produces their heroes. With that being said, we know that it is not possible to conquer the world by one’s own deliberation and intention. The consequence for a ruler to gain the world forcibly will fail, and similarly, he will lose it no matter how hard he wants to hold it.

Including the power of ruling the world regime, everything is always changing and in motion. They are relative, not absolute, at different times and different locations: some walking in front, and some follow behind; sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily; sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness;
sometimes one is up and sometimes down…
So saints avoid extremes, excesses, and complacency.

Miracles and Angels

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The Bible says that God only gives us two things – miracles and angels. Here I would like to share with you about a story that demonstrates how God gave us both of those things at the same time.

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Skyler Lin

Here is my daughter-in-law’s post from Facebook at the end of January.

“Most people don’t know this, but a year and nine months ago, Jershi Lin and I were told after a series of tests at a fertility clinic that I couldn’t have a child. I fell to my knees when I got that phone call. My heart was torn in half that day. Seeing those test results crushed my soul. I had wanted to be a mom since I was a young girl. Jershi came straight home from work and held me as I sobbed. I saw the pain in his eyes, but he told me that we were a family and we would always be a family. We would adopt or do whatever necessary to be the family we wanted to be. I tried my best to make peace with that. The doctors might have told us it was impossible to conceive but God had other plans, and one week later Jershi and I became pregnant with little Sky. I know God gives blessings, but he really went out of his way this time. Skyler’s sweet nature, her spirit, soul, sense of humor and laughter lift me up every single day. She stole my heart.

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Skyler Lin

Our little miracle baby Skyler Lin turns one year old today. Happy Birthday my beautiful little baby girl! Sky, you have been my inspiration, my joy, my hope and my peace. You are nothing but a pure blessing! I am so thankful for my little angel and everything you have taught me since you started to grow inside of me. You encouraged me to take steps in my life that I never knew I would be able to make. I will do my best to continue to grow as a person so that I can be the role model that you deserve. Words cannot describe the love you bring to my heart. On the day you were born I looked into your eyes and all my dreams came true. I couldn’t possibly count the hours I spent staring at you while you were sleeping this past year. You are truly the most infectiously happy baby and are such an amazingly unique little girl. You bring joy to everyone you come into contact with. I pray that I can guide you to be gentle, kind, compassionate and a free spirit able to embrace all that you are and to be all that you ever want to be. You will always have my blessing to be and will be loved “just as you are.” No matter what, I’ll always love you unconditionally. You are the sweetest part of my destiny, and I am eternally grateful to be able to love someone as precious as you. You are a gift. Our lives would not be complete without you. Thank you for the laughter, the lessons and changing me forever – you’re everything.

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Skyler Lin and her pal, Gidget

Happy 1st Birthday, sweetheart.

This post is dedicated to Sky and to all women who struggle with infertility on a daily basis, my heart goes out to you as I know what it felt like to feel the devastating pain that all hope is lost… My prayers go out for you. Heaven has a plan for you and miracles do happen.”

Why Don’t the Rivers Go Straight?

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I came across this interesting article. It coincides with the doctrine of Tao Te Ching’s Chapter 22, which I posted on my blog earlier. I thought this Chinese article** would help you all to understand Chapter 22 better, so I translated it from Chinese and will share it with you here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wise man once spread a map of China on the table.
He asked: “What are the characteristics of the rivers in this picture?”
Disciple answered: “They are not straight lines, they are curved lines.”
The wise man continued to ask:
“Why is it so? Why does the river not to take the straight road, but take a detour?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The disciples began to discuss. Some said the river had detours and lengthened the flow of the river so that the stream could have greater flow, so when the summer flood came, the river would not be overwhelmed by the water.

Also, due to the lengthening of the rivers, the flow of each section of the river was relatively reduced, and the impact of the river on the riverbed was weakened, thus protecting the riverbed.

“All of you said is right,” the wise man nodded, then said slowly:

“But in my opinion, the most fundamental reason why rivers do not go straight is that detour is a normal state in nature. It is an abnormal state to go straight, because the river will encounter a variety of obstacles, and some obstacles are insurmountable.

Therefore, it takes the curved path and detours to avoid barriers one after another, and eventually arrives and flows into the distant sea. ”

Here, the wise man commented:
In fact, life is the same. When people meet with difficulties and setbacks, they should also see the twists and turns of life as normal, and to not be disappointed. Do not sigh, do not become stagnant, and take detours as another form or another way, so that you can reach the distant sea of life just like a river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it states in Tao Te Ching 22-
To yield is to be preserved whole.
To be bent is to become straight.
To be hollow is to be filled.
To be tattered is to be renewed.
To be in want is to possess.
To have plenty is to be confused.

In life, we might as well bend or follow the curve when we encounter the challenges; then we will see the bright future awaits us.

Applying Tao to My Life

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I was so excited to book a commercial for the first time in a while. The night before one, I usually try to go to bed early to be able to wake up early and to be at the site at least an hour early. This time, someone called me to talk, and by the time I had finished meeting with them and went home, I realized I had forgotten my key, so I had to get the key from my son. As a result, I had to wait for my son to get back to open the door for me. I still set the alarm and went to bed at an unusually late time.

I was also a part a lot of group chats, and one of them was with my college friends. Since they were in Taiwan, the time difference made it so that they would sometimes send out messages while we in the US were sleeping. I put my phone in the bathroom, so I wouldn’t be awakened by it but I would still be able to hear my alarm the next morning.

But I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear anything, and by the time I woke up, it was already one hour later than the alarm I had set. I quickly rushed out to get onto the road, and only had a half hour to reach the site for my call time. Unexpectedly, the traffic was incredibly bad. It usually took about a half hour to get from my house to that site, but I knew because of the traffic I wouldn’t be able to make it in time. All I could do was call the person in charge and apologize. As I drove, the traffic just got worse and worse, and I didn’t know what to do because I was full of anxiety.

 

I started to think; “everything happens for a reason.” Maybe this was a time for me to put Lao Tzu’s theory into practice. Without going far, I could still gain knowledge of the Tao. I kept telling myself that there must have been a reason for me not to hear my alarm. I just needed to accept it, no matter how anxious I was. I had to let nature take its course. I started to calm down and figured out that I should take local roads if the freeway traffic was this bad. The local streets still had some traffic, but it was a bit better. Any minutes that I saved at this point would be a big help.

I started to get calls from the camera crew, who were very nice and just wanted to know where I was. All I could do was apologize, and finally, I reached my destination. Someone picked me up from the parking lot, and I tried to cover my face as I entered because I was ashamed that I had made at least 30 people wait for me.

But that wasn’t the end of my embarrassment. I went in to have my makeup done, and the makeup artist began to shout at me because I had red nail polish on and it was not professional. I could not help but feel it was my fault because my delay had shifted her schedule and made her very impatient. Again, I just apologized. This was the first time I had ever made people wait for me in my acting career. I wished there was a hole for me to hide in, but there wasn’t.

Afterwards, I just rushed onto the set to start to film. I didn’t get why this happened at this point or the essence of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, but there was much to learn. Since I was moved to study his works, I don’t think I can just study his theory, but I have to apply it to my life as well. I am sure I will encounter more experiences like this, but I will be able to use my experience to live this Tao. I am thankful that the crew had the patience for me.

I think I am being trained not to do anything because, in that situation, I really couldn’t do anything. I had to let go and let things happen. What a lesson I learned, because I also led those 30 other people to learn the same lesson as me!

While I was trying to think about the lesson I had on this unusual day, the person who was in charge the release of the actor told me to stay for a print job for another company. Wow, what a surprise! I did not even have to audition. I just sat tight and went with the flow and another opportunity just appeared before me. Who would imagine that I thought my worst day with non-stop apologizing would make a 360 degree turn to become my happiest day. Wow, what a journey of Tao.

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