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Showing posts from January, 2017

Everything we know about addiction is wrong?

What if everything we thought about addiction was wrong? This is an informative talk by Johann Hari that made me think about my addictive and unconscious behaviors, the worst of which is probably spending hours surfing the internet aimlessly.

I know, he's a disgraced former journalist due to plagiarism. But there's stuff to be learnt here despite the fact that he dismisses chemical hooks being a source of addiction.

Here's a summary of my key takeaways from his talk:

Chemical hooks may not always be responsible for addiction. Accident patients are given diamorphine while recovering in hospital, but don't get addicted. Grandmothers don't get addicted after hip replacements.  During the Vietnam war, it was estimated that 20% soldiers were using heroin, but when they came home, they didn't need rehab or experience withdrawal symptoms. 90% just stopped using drugs.

Rat experiment:
Scientist places a rat in a cage and provides two types of water - plain water & …

The secret to a meaningful life...

Some simple rules to improve your quality of life:Have at least 20 minutes of face to face conversation with:1. Your spouse or partner - every day
2. Your siblings and close friends - every week
3. Your parents, grandparents and mentors - every monthJust take the time to catch up, update each other, gossip and chit-chat about life.If distance is an issue, Facetime works too.Because the secret to a meaningful life is more meaningful relationships.

About

My name is Leonard Lee and I live with my wife and 3 cats in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  A former national chess player, I was selected to represent the country decades ago but pulled out to focus on studies (not that it helped my grades much).In college I started playing football (soccer) and would continue to play the beautiful game until a couple of ACL injuries required surgeries, and I was convinced to quit contact sports.Since then I've done some aikido, running & biking.  Have finished 2 Olympic distance triathlons and am hoping to complete a full Ironman someday.Have never posted good times or improved my aikido due to being overweight for most of the past decade.  No excuses here, lack of discipline and impulse control really adds up over the long-term.My life changed when earlier this May I was diagnosed with testicular cancer (pure seminoma).  When I felt the initial swelling I actually joked that I was following in Lance Armstrong's footsteps, but then that soon t…

Thoughts About Work

It's Monday again, and back to the weekly grind for many of us.  Do you get excited about getting back to work or do you countdown to the next weekend?I personally don't know too many people who have full-time jobs that they're happy or passionate about.  It's also tough being a fresh graduate in these economic times, with student debt, high stress work and low starting pay. Many opt to forego money and pursue their startup dreams. Neither road may offer much security in this day and age.Recently I heard someone on Tim Ferriss's podcast mention something worthwhile:
No matter how tough or unpleasant your job or business is, think of it as performing a crucial function in your life: character buildingIt helps me get through the week, more often than anyone knows ;)Updates: Day 2 of the 30 Day Challenge #1 is going well.  Avoided rice/noodles and did a short run yesterday.

30 Day Challenge #1

I've decided to do a 30 day challenge:1) No white carbs or sugar with the exception of a few beers during the Chinese New Year2) No missed daily workouts (at minimum a full 5 minute HIIT workout)The challenge will run from 15 Jan to 15 Feb and I'll post my results here.The reward for successfully completing this is probably going to be some ramen noodles and hopefully a much leaner physique :)

Life Habits & Tips: Part 4 - Chew your food 40x

There is a story that when Arsene Wenger first arrived in North London, the first thing he made the players do during meals would be to chew their food.And that's where the revolution started, a process that would see them go on to win 3 league titles & 5 FA cups.  He revolutionized their training, diet and preparation.How important was chewing to Arsene? There is a sign in the Arsenal dining area that says 'CHEW TO WIN'.  The players thought it was amusing at first.But chewing optimizes the food for digestion and helps boost satiety levels.  So as world-class strength trainer Charles Poliquin says, "if you wanna get fat, don't chew your food".10 reps x 4 sets oughtta do the trick.  Happy chewing!

Life Habits & Tips: Part 3 - Pick 5 things

Let's face it, we can't all be like da Vinci or Musk.  There's a finite number or goals and projects that we can accomplish before we run out of time.These days we can learn so many new skills and acquire an unlimited number of new hobbies just by going on Youtube.  When people with passion share what they do or love, some of that passion tends to rub off on us.  It's appealing, tempting and dangerous at the same time.I know my ideal bio would read "Tournament chess & poker playing aikido black belt novelist who is also an accomplished skateboarder & ironman triathlete. Also owns a world class vintage watch collection which he photographs and posts on his blog".Yeah riiiiiiight.Jack of all trades, delusions of grandeur and all that. Without focus, my attention gets pulled all over and I end up mile wide, inch deep.A wise man then taught me (can't remember if it was Seneca, Altucher or Ferriss) to make a list of 15 things I really wanted to do.  Th…

How to avoid getting hooked on TV

Not a week goes by without someone recommending me a new awesome TV series.  I know it's totally justified as we have been living in the golden age of television since the 2000s.Lea & I have watched some great series together  such as Breaking Bad, Daredevil (Season 1 only), Sherlock & GoT.The quality of writing and directing has gotten so good that you could quit your job and watch TV full time and still not be fulfilled.So what do I do when a new series genuinely intrigues me?1. Disconnect
I don't have broadband or Netflix or iFlix at home. We borrow or buy DVDs when we want to watch something.  We also go to the movies pretty regularly.  Of course, we still have internet at home (via mobile data)2. Wikipedia
99.9% of the time I'm sure that I'm not gonna watch it, but I'm intrigued by the premise or maybe what friends are telling me about it, so I spend 5-10 mins googling the plot points & spoilers.  After that, it's done. Cravings killed.3. Read …

Resolutions

Consider this:One day an angel appears before you and gives you the following choices:(A) - Another 30 years of a financially comfortable and healthy life followed by 3 years of poverty & poor health, then you die.or(B) - 30 years of poverty and poor health followed by 3 years of good health and riches, then you die.Which would you choose? When I was first asked this question my first reaction was that it wasn't a very good one. What is going to stop you from choosing (A) then killing yourself at the end of the good 30 years? And in scenario B, 30 years of poor health & poverty would probably drive anyone to suicide. I think the better way to look at this is to not label things as good or bad. Sure, no one would pick being sick and poor over rich and healthy, but that is not a sure indicator of happiness or inner peace. I look back on what could be considered 'bad' times in life and I feel like the experiences enriched my life.Whether we get 700, 70 or 7 years of l…

Neomania

Neomania
definition
The obsession with things that are new.  The need to obtain the next new thing.Neomania is the reason why I once had a huge watch collection. The researching, comparing, hunting and anticipation was so much more pleasurable than actually owning the watches. After buying a new watch it was great for a few months.  Then the excitement died down and then it was on to researching and planning the next acquisition.  I'd always loved watches growing up. Suddenly I had more than ten. It was getting out of hand.  Was it the watches that suddenly stopped being cool and iconic, or was it me?Neomania is the reason why the new self-help book seems better than the last, even if I haven't finished or implemented anything from the last book. Just like the latest magazine issue or podcast episode, it's fresh and updated, so it must be better......right?That new model BMW you buy causes it to cease being new. A couple of months later a newer model will come along and the…

Life Habits & Tips: Part 2 - How to use money

They say money can't buy love or happiness, but using money wisely can really improve your quality of life.Here are some of my personal best practices:1. Just saving it
Putting away money in a savings account wasn't just good for my financial health, it was good for my mental and physical wellbeing as well.By tracking and taking action to eliminate or substitute wasteful expenses I was able to save an additional 10% of my monthly salary, which added up quickly.Lea & I have a little money in property and financial investments, but it wasn't until my personal savings account started growing that I felt more at peace and less stressed. Having some investments are in themselves pretty positive and important, but it's not as liquid as cash, so mentally the feeling of security does not translate as well.Growing a cash account until it can sustain you for at least a year in case you lose your job or have an emergency should not be looked upon lightly. Oftentimes I'll …