Last night I watched The Change Up on HBO Demand and was reminded of Buddhist teachings of endless desires.

Dave, played by Jason Bateman, was someone who constantly reached for more. As a result, his marriage was on thin ice. His focus was more on career than on family.

Jamie, Dave’s wife, confessed her sorrow.

No one ever gave him anything. The problem is, now that he’s got a good life, he can’t turn it off — he’s still looking over the fence, wanting something even better, a second house, more kids, a faster car, a bigger promotion, whatever it is that he thinks will finally make him happy.

This brings me to Henry David Thoreau’s quote to simplify. Like life, relationships and business, we must simplify to have a clearer view of our goals. In art, the cliche “less is more” rings similarly since it allows viewers to focus more on the subject when there is less clutter.

our life is frittered away by detail

Alas, I was guilty of Dave’s faults as well until Julie came around. Having difficulty achieving high parental expectations, a common trait in many Asian cultures, I was constantly striving for beyond excellence. I’m glad that I have Julie to remind me to appreciate the blessings I already have.

Here’s to a more zen life – cheers!

Lawrence Chan

P.S. You’d think it’s stupid, but I was once so attached to work that I threatened Julie that I wanted to fly home from our European vacation if I didn’t find wifi to do work. I wish I could have slapped my old self.

venice italy

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