How to Live a Happy Life (C2 Speech, Taipei Grand Toastmasters, Nov 2006)

Can you imagine what can you do with this one US Dollar? According to BBC news website, there are more than 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living on less than $1 a day.

Today’s world is rather materialistic, and most people always mistaken that living out a happy life means that we must have a lot of money, good reputation and enjoy nice foods by going to the most luxurious restaurant in town. Think, do we really need that much money and resources for our survival? Our father of Chinese philosophy—Confusion has already taught us “飯疏食飲水,曲肱而枕之,樂亦在其中矣。” this means that even though we only have simple foods to eat, and we bend our arms in order to use as a pillow, we can still be able to obtain happiness. When I think that I need more nice-looking clothes or going for buffet-dinner in the hotel, I always stop myself by thinking of this theory and I usually ended up spending money on buying books. I walked pass a bookstore when I was on the way to indulge myself in dinner buffet, and I realised “ahh! that’s where my happiness lies in!” Do you know where my happiness is? My happiness lies in the books and my simple life.

Human nature is always greedy. We always think of getting something that we don’t have. After getting a new laptop, I may want to get a new guitar, a trip to England and so on. But we are living in a realistic world, how can we get everything that we want? Nobody will get all the things that he or she wants. When you are thinking of buying a pair very expensive Nike sport shoes, please kindly think of the poor Chinese, Indian, Iraqi and African children who don’t even have a pair of slippers to put on. When you already have a good partner, stop looking at the beautiful girls and handsome guys out there. Sung Dynasty poet 蘇軾told us “苟非吾之所有,雖一毫而莫取”. If something doesn’t belong to you, it is just meant not to be yours; you just can’t take it even though it’s only a penny. Treasure everything and every person that are with you now. Always remind your partner, “Honey, you are the best in the world.”

Everybody needs a hobby to make their life happy. My hobby is reading. I like to stay in my room during weekends and holidays, sipping a cup of Blue Mountain coffee, and reading my favourite books. Actually I have many girlfriends (show my favourite books); they give me good nutrition for my brain. When I am lazy to read for two days, my brain will keep on remind me, “Hey Keith, I need some vitamin B!” when my brain tells me I need vitamin B(B for books), I will remind myself again by quoting “學而時習之,不亦樂乎?” I strongly recommend my fellow toastmasters friends to keep on reading every day. Books won’t say goodbye to us. Books won’t complain if you just leave them alone in the bookshelves, but your honey will. When I feel sad and helpless, I usually calm myself down by listening to rock music and reading my favourite books. My favourite writers will share with me their great ideas in their masterpieces. The great ideas will give me wisdom and inspires me.

Lastly, please let me share with you why I want to talk about Chinese Philosophy for my second speech. I am very sad to know that some of my friends from the West have misunderstood Chinese philosophy. I realised that there is barrier between the West and the East. I wish that I can practise my English public speaking here so that I can recommend and explain Chinese philosophy to my non-Chinese friends from all around the world. I truly believe that the barrier between the West and the East will eventually crumble.

Always remember these three ways: “飯疏食飲水,曲肱而枕之,樂亦在其中矣”, “苟非吾之所有,雖一毫而莫取”, “學而時習之,不亦樂乎?” to make your life simple and happy. Always feel grateful for you have already had, don’t be greedy and read more. I wish that I have given my fellow toastmasters a clear way of achieving happiness under the guidance of Chinese philosophy.

One thought on “How to Live a Happy Life (C2 Speech, Taipei Grand Toastmasters, Nov 2006)”

  1. I agree with you fully. See, the interesting thing about you and me, Keith, is that we are quite different in a sense that you’re very philosophical, you love to read and you’re quite serious… whereas I’m usually quite goofy, I almost never read, and my thoughts are very simple… but in the end, I think we share the same core beliefs and human values.

    I just feel good, knowing that there’s another person out there who believes so strongly in promoting good values.

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