Keeping a contented heart (pt 1)


Booking under: Keith

As the calendar continues to November, it’s finally getting cooler here in HK. Still, life continues, and we’ve had the chance to read another chapter of The Happiness Project.

Our focus for this month is attitude, and how we can be happy by starting within ourselves. Here are my takeaways for the month:

Use good manners


Smiling: not only one of the easiest ways to be polite, but also burns calories!

Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of treating everyone respectfully, and I’ve always prided myself in being well-mannered. But reading Gretchen’s sharing this month reminded me that I still have a ways to go.

I’ve always been very good with greeting family, friends, and close colleagues. On the flip side, I sometimes find myself keeping quiet and not interacting that much with people that I’m less familiar with. While that might be normal for most people, I want to challenge myself to be courteous and respectful to everyone.

My goal here is to display good manners to everyone, whether it’s a stranger holding the door for me or the janitor in our office toilet. Though it might be a little awkward at times, I must say I enjoy smiles and laughs that happen whenever I exchange greetings with someone else.

Give positive reviews

work reviews

Whether giving or receiving reviews at work, do it with positivity and professionalism

In Gretchen’s sharing this month, she confessed she likes to be critical and is very good at arguing. As a curious child who grew up to study philosophy, it’s no surprise that this describes me very well too.

While I strongly believe we shouldn’t accept things unquestioningly or at face value, I agree with Gretchen on the importance of focusing on the positive and not being weighed down by the negatives.

I can see this applying well to my work. When dealing with engineers who turn our ideas into reality, it’s often very easy for me to pick out what was done wrong and, in the name of efficiency, jump straight to what the problem is. Moving forward, I’ll commit to giving more positive reviews whenever I see things done right, and to acknowledge the hard work of others before pointing out areas of improvement.

Remember the good

photo memories

You might not have a photo of every positive moment, but don’t let that stop you from remembering it!

To close out this chapter, Gretchen shared on the importance of “finding an area of refuge.” By this, she means focusing on something positive internally to cheer herself up in the face of adversity.

For me, that amounts to remembering the good. Whenever I encounter difficulties at work or in wider life, I like to remind myself about how fortunate I am. Work might be a hassle, but at least I have a job to begin with! I might have various personal errands to take care of outside of work, but I should be thankful that I live, overall, a comfortable life and have never been in material need.

And if that doesn’t work, thinking back to some personal highlights in my most recent footy game or some heartwarming moments with Nicole never fails to lift me up 🙂



Short and sweet this month. Sometimes, the biggest changes come from the smallest actions, so let’s see how I do in two weeks!

Meanwhile, what do you do to keep a contented heart? How do you keep yourself happy even when things aren’t looking up? Share your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week when Nicole shares her thoughts!


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