All the World's a Classroom

Happiness Is Pursuit

Happiness Is Pursuit

When I look back to the time periods I’ve felt happiest, I’d say they are times when I am in intense pursuit of some goal—knowledge, skill, project, service, mission, etc. Before somebody lectures me about happiness vs. joy, I want to say that I am not talking about joy. I’m talking about happiness–excitement, exhilaration, smile-on-my-face happy.


These are the moments I’ve felt most alive, as if every cell in my body aligns to the same direction. There’s a reason to stay up late and wake up early, and everything else I do is more efficient so I can free up time for the pursuit.


Part of the fun is brainstorming with like-minded people, when one idea feeds another in a chain reaction, exploding to… something awesome. Or not. The ideas may totally tank. Regardless, the process is fun.


A pursuit has the ability to orient an entire life to a certain directionality. Everything counts; every moment is infused with a purpose. I can’t think of any better way to live.


It would be a sad day when one finds nothing else to pursue. It’s like being on top of the highest mountain and finding there is no other peak to climb. While the satisfaction may last a while, boredom will surface from a long-term state of sameness. And boredom is the opposite of happiness.


I’ve definitely experienced this unhappiness. The thought of resting and settling down a bit after a phase/pursuit ends is nice, but detrimental if prolonged. I’m not sure I can live without some kind of overarching pursuit.


The good thing is that there’s always something to pursue. Life is too big and too vast to run out of goals.


I’m writing this to remind myself to always live and strive for something—something good, something better.


What have you been doing pursuing lately?


P.S. This will be my next light read: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life.



The Paper Towel Problem

The Paper Towel Problem

In the women’s bathroom on my office floor, there are these paper towel dispensers that frustrate me on a regular basis.


They’re just the standard paper towel dispensers that you pull out folded white paper towels from the bottom. No sensor, no lever, just plain ol’ paper towel holders.


But these ones on my floor are loaded in such a way that when you try to pull one out, its edges often get caught in the corner. You then have to pull harder to get it out, at which point it would rip or you’d end up pulling more paper towels out than needed. If it’s ripped, the corners are stuck to the dispenser, causing the next paper towel to tear more easily.


Can I please just have a paper towel!!?!


It’s just paper towel, Josephine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you may say.


True. But what frustrates me the most about this situation is the waste it generates. More paper towels are consumed as a result of this faulty process. Engineer + waste = cringe.


I think the reason is they’re loaded too fully, hence the weight of all the paper towels prevent the bottom one to dispense smoothly. I don’t know how the loading is done, but my guess is this ineffectiveness and inefficiency could be prevented by a simple testing step. Load the paper towels, then test the system by trying to pull out a paper towel. If it doesn’t work perfectly, fix it.


Maybe it is tested, but no one bothers to fix it? In any case, someone does not bother doing something.


Since I was encouraged yesterday by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek to learn to propose solutions, I plan to talk to the janitorial staff (nicely, of course). I don’t know why I waited this long. Hopefully this will solve the paper towel problem for us who use the facility.


Do things well, and eliminate waste.


9 Feeds to Follow If You Love Reading

9 Feeds to Follow If You Love Reading

Photo credit: dryicons


If you love books and book reviews, these websites are excellent resources to find new reading materials.


  1. The New York Times > Books

I love the NYT! More often than not, I get that satisfied feeling after reading its well-written articles. NYT reviews are, of course, highly esteemed, so you can get good quality picks from its various lists and reviews.


  1. Farnam Street Blog

This is the website of Shane Parrish, a writer and entrepreneur who calls himself a wisdom seeker. His posts have been featured repeatedly on TIME. His materials are excellent, focusing on books that teach you how to think and make decisions better. Of all the genres out there in the blogosphere, this is my favorite!


  1. The New Yorker > Books & Fiction

The Books & Fiction section of the New Yorker contains excellent, enlightening, and entertaining essays concerning books, the book culture, and related social issues. If you’re a bibliophile, this is a must-follow.


  1. The New Republic > Books

The New Republic’s Books section also contains essays and commentaries on various literatures.



I find their essays are more philosophical in nature. The website features reading materials that are not necessarily on the current best-seller lists, which is great.


“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


  1. NPR > Books

Sometimes they have very interesting interviews.


If you’re looking for sites that review all kinds of genres, these feeds can be entertaining. They spread their nets wide, so the articles come in droves. It’s hard (and not necessary) to keep up with all of their posts, so pick and choose which ones will be worth your time!

  1. Omnivoracious

Amazon hosts this site, so it will always have the popular lists and easy access to the buying links.


  2. The Guardian > Books


I personally use Feedly to keep up with blogs and various news feeds. If you don’t have it already, try it! You can read unlimited NYT articles for free!!

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