CHAPTER 2 SNIPPET
From the time I was a kid through the present, I have always announced that I was the luckiest person in the world, to have been born by and well cared for by my parents, especially my mom, the number one “other” in my life. I believe that it was God’s plan for me to exist and to give me such a special mother, who was been a teacher, an idol, a mentor, and a great caretaker. She made the most of the worst and gave me the best out of life. She looks like a simple woman, small and short in physical stature, and easily underestimated by many. But oh-my-lord, is she ever inwardly explosive when it comes to the good deeds she wants to create for her family, her extended family, and her community! So, this kid from Vietnam, from the rural countryside of a third-world nation, understood the bad conditions he was living in, but never felt it because of the vast amount of love and care that he received from family members, and especially Mom. I learned to recognize one thing from all my experience up to this point: What you do for others is all that matters and nothing else, so we must choose to always provide the best and most valuable opportunity for others that we possibly can.
There’s a saying that my mom always tells me, “Son, a piece of bread that is given to a person when he is hungry is worth more than a big meal given to one who is full. One dollar given to those who do not have any money, is worth more than thousands of dollars given to those who have enough.” The consistency in giving and adding value to others in need is worth more than a one-time large gift. “Son, there is an element of self-satisfaction, self-happiness, and self-motivation that this involves.” She stressed that acts done for others are hundreds of times more self-satisfying than doing for oneself; be others focused. Growing up, I watched her give gifts to everyone who came by our house. There was a potato, her only food, which she cut in half and gave to a biker who rode her around. When there was a bag of bananas, she immediately distributed one to each of her team members. People, in turn, often gave her giftbags of fruit; however, these never lasted more than an hour before she had already distributed it. I watched her give without much thought, carrying out a “must do” mission, even when she had very little. I grew up watching Dad get angry because of these actions. “Damn it, you keep giving everything away, and not keeping anything for our family to eat. Give it some thought next time,” he yelled at Mom in a behind-the-scenes conversation that I often overheard. Interestingly, each time she would smile and respond, “Dad, they need it more than we do.” Of course, Dad did cool down, but he could not stop her from giving away whatever she had.
As I better understand this now, I call it “human engineering to happiness” from my personal perspective. According to books such as The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, I learned that it is like brainwashing ourselves. It involves training our subconscious mind, the main part of our brain that reasons and pushes us to do everything we do, even when we don’t know why. In this case, Mom brainwashed herself and others around her, and so I was trained and witnessed and experienced this (brainwashed) via Mom’s giving as a guiding principle of life. This makes the action of giving easier than most tasks that I deal with in life. And once I lived through the happiness of giving unconditionally, I untapped a compulsion to do it more. Interestingly, the same results have occurred throughout my life, as my experiences duplicate those of her life. That is to say that people around me started to give things to me in services, products, assistance, and mentorships. “You cannot give without first focusing on others and being less worried about yourself, Son. “The more you give, the more you gain in return, often from other sources,” Mom explained.
“Expectation is the source of worry, unhappiness, and uncertainty. That’s why giving unconditionally matters more, because that’s when you give without expectation,” Mom explained. No expectations give the human mind the freedom to enjoy the giving experience and seek happiness in other people’s happiness when they receive your gift. This fact was confirmed by Dale Carnegie in his book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. What is of greater interest to me is that Mom always acted, and then explained her actions to her children. Often, she would take us with her on business trips, so we could witness her activities and see how she treated other people when making business deals. Mom is not the type who speaks theory; rather she acts on the theory and then explains it using examples of her actions. Throughout my life, this resonated the most with me; actions speak louder than words. “Do it first, Son. Do it. For anything you think is good for others, do it first, and then explain it. If you make one person happy through one action, do it again for many, and then increase that each day forward. Trial and error. I learned through doing.” I watched her read a lot, but these were always technical books and business product and service books; they were never books about theories of life principles. “To learn and not act is useless. It is worse than those who never learned. Once you know, you must act on what you know.” Mom pushed our boundaries of thought on this topic.