Another way of thinking

Dear John,

Last night, while crocheting a purse for my friend, I listened to Ajahn Brahm’s talk  which is about expanding your view. He gave me good food to think about life in a different way. I think it is true. Our behaviours usually follow our culture , our group where we live or work together. We do something because of our family’s tradition, we do because of our organisation’s culture, we do because it used to be like that in this place. I think following tradition is a good way to preserve our unique culture, but somehow it prevents us to think the world in different views. We judge a new situation with an old view. It is unreasonable, especially in this 21st century when the life changes with a fast pace.

What should we do?

I know it is very tough to live happily and healthy in this modern life. People are working hard to be a leader, an inventor, a talented person, a richer. You try hard to prove that you are the best. Even if you don’t have talent or money, you should have a good appearance by cosmetic surgery . If you don’t have all these things, you will be good at judging people in social media. That can explain the increasing number of people struggling with cancer, depression, suicide, and many mental problems in these days.

So how can I change my life? I don’t want to turn my life to be a competition because this life is so short to compare to others. I want to be myself.

  1. Think different: People think death is sad, I think it is a good thing in life. Death is a start of new life. People think more money is happier. Money can make your life comfortable, live minimalist. People love titles, beautiful faces. Just be who your are and look for a beautiful soul.
  2. Live slow: Life is short, life is this moment.
  3. Care for experience, not material.
  4. Your life, not others’ life
  5. Learn new things everyday with everyone you meet

Have a nice day John





The world

Dear John,

During several talks to local people here and my reading somewhere, I found that the academic life is stressful as the same everywhere. In some countries, you can get high salary but the requirement to stay is taking all your sweat, in other countries with low salary, that means your life is easier to breathe with fewer requirements. Those who can survive in this high-pressure life are eager to learn new things, to change and to move on. This modern world forces you to live faster, to be more greedy, but after 8 hours of working day or between the fast pace of a busy day, it is better to find a moment to slow down and enjoy the life.

I love the post “How can we find the time?” of WP – Tenure, She wrote. As a female academician, you also have a burden responsibility as a role of a mother and a wife. You need a good skill to manage your time to survive in this tough career. Whenever you are, wherever you live, you will survive with opened mind and positive attitude.

Good luck John.

Don’t try too hard

Dear John,

This morning I think about three stories that remind not to try too hard. Because overworking makes me stress and you can’t have productivity with a stressful mind. I admit that.

Lesson 1: Last year, I worked very hard to finish at least two papers to extend my fellowship. As a result, my eyes got hurt. The first time I checked up in my school clinic, the doctor said to me shortly before giving me some pain-killer. “Don’t study too hard, take a short break after every hour.”

Lesson 2: We hold a workshop for grad students. The cafeteria suddenly couldn’t set up the tea- break buffet; all foods and drink were put in containers and bags, there were no tissues. I suggested buying some tissue in the convenience shop opposite my school. But I had to walk quite far. I insisted on going while my friend told me to make a cute face to respond students’ complaint. Now, I learnt that having tissues or not at that time was not a big problem because students still enjoyed the food. The tea break is just a small part of the workshop; students came to learn something, not to eat.

Lesson 3:  I met my supervisor two days ago. My writing is not coherence enough. I told him I have tried that why it took me too long to finish my draft. He reminded me not try too hard because I have time to revise it later. Now, just let finish my proposal and I have a long way to improving it. This is not a right time to have a perfect writing, let save my energy to do it when I  submit the final copy.


Writing is not easy

Dear John,

After finishing writing one section, I need to read the writing guideline again. Although I had tried hard to follow this, my current writing didn’t reach to the desired level. My supervisor told me not try too hard because he knew it takes a lot of time to practice. Now I understand and always remind me to be brave and be eager to rewrite several times. I am learning from my mistakes. Each time I look back my writing, there is many things to revise. So at this moment, don’t worry too much and keep writing. My writing can’t be perfect just in one month, one semester or one year, just write and rewrite. When you feel tired, just stop, take a rest and write again.

Be patient dear

Move on a new Chapter

Dear John,

Yesterday I finished the new chapter outline; I feel happy as I can finish it in one day. It seems like what I have worked for one and a half year is now repaying me. My supervisor asked me whether I can finish the new Chapter in two weeks, I can’t answer the time for sure, but I will try my best. Now I can feel that everything is there, just organise it in right order. My supervisor reminds me to pay attention to the coherence between sentences and paragraphs. I have tried to do like that, but my writing is still not going up at that level. I am aware of it, but I have a long way to improving my skills.

Ok, keep working every day and enjoy it.

2 days-PLS 3.0 Workshop

Dear John,

Last two days, I attended PLS workshop of one of top professor in my university. It was such a great workshop. I learn not only about PLS, but also some good lessons to be a great researcher:

  • Lifelong learning: learning everyday
  • Not be afraid of making mistakes
  • Spend money for knowledge, for great people, not for things
  • Sharing ideas and cooperating to more success.
  • Work smart not too hard.

Today lesson: It doesn’t matter how much time you spend time in your PhD journey, it’s about how you spend your time.

  • PhD core works
  • Professional works
  • Net-workin

All these things will help you to build up your skills and person cultural research.

Have a nice day John


Going through the storm

Dear John,

After talking on phone several hours to figure our what our problems were, we understood our mistakes, our demands from each other and we love more. That is the way we have gone through many arguments for several years. That is the way our relationship has lasted longer than I thought. Now I understand: those want to be with you, they will find the time with no excuses.

I am getting more mature in this relationship time by time. It is a good place for me to learn and change myself. I am thankful to have this chance in life. Nothing is bad and nothing is good, it just depends on what you are looking for. Different people desires different things in their life. Therefore, learning to accept their own views with all my heart and mind is my big lesson to master in this stage of my life. Now I am going to travel in a new life journey with more freedom.

Don’t be scared to think again your tough time, don’t be scared to talk about your mistakes. Because tough time gives your more strength and each mistake is your best teacher.

Have a nice day John.

The right persons will stay

Dear John,

There are some problems in our relationship in these days. M was not happy with what I said to him before. M talked to me in a way of low energy and no confidence. I am also unhappy with it, but “Bitter pills may have blessed effects”. I believe the right person, who accepts who I am, will stay there for me. I know I am not good at interpersonal skills, and trying to learn it every day so that my criticised communication style won’t hurt them. Anyway, always be careful with my words. Think carefully before speaking them out.

M is trying his best, I know. Remember to praise him whatever he does. Think carefully and positively.

Enjoy your day John.

Free writing

Dear John,

I don’t know what exactly I write in this morning. I just write down whatever in my mind at this moment, and it looks like running exercise. After the Lunar New Year 2016, I committed myself to write this blog in 6 mornings per week. As a result, it becomes an efficient warm-up writing exercise to me. Trying to express myself on this blog for one hour help me write my thesis smoothly. Ah hah, that’s the thing. It is also called a writing therapy to cure writing block for Ph.D. student.  I got this idea from books and blogs for Ph.D. students.

Yesterday, I didn’t want to study and did crochet again. I crocheted a new phone case and finished it within few hours. I am happy when trying something new and completing it at the end of the day. Although I am a little bit worried about what my supervisor is going to say in the next meeting

– 3 years is too short to finish Ph.D

– Students have to know where to stop, can’t solve a big problem in a short time

It is true. On one hand,  I am afraid that my study is not big enough to PhD level. On the other hand, it is too big to finish in three years.

So what can I do now? Hope this week I will find my answer.

Lesson of this week


Dear John,

Today is Saturday, that means the whole week is gone. Time flies so fast. I have reviewed what I have learnt during this week in this morning while I am waiting for the colloquium.

About the trip: If you join in any group or organisation, there might have some things you dislike or dissatisfied with. Just look at the bright side of them and let it go anything else.Be grateful for what you have today.
About the swimming class: Be brave to face your fear. Spending time to overcome your fear is also a joyfulness.
About my writing: I have a long way to develop my writing skill. Just be patient and keen on practicing it every day. Even though I make the same mistakes for several times. Once I repeat my mistakes, it means I haven’t learnt yet. So just keep calm when making mistakes and be ready to improve bit by bit everyday.
About my research: I have a lot of things to learn before graduating and become a researcher. This journey is tough, and I am aware of that spending time for this is also my happiness. Making mistakes, being called a stupid student, or being named by different titles are what I have to deal with and grow up from these. Just be a good listener and good learner and have thick skin.
About making mistakes or being a perfectionist: Practicing not be afraid of making mistakes. If I follow this way, I am trying not to be a perfectionist who I used to be.
Enjoy your weekend John.