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From Zen To Confucius, Almost

Updated on August 8, 2008

Why would 66200 people subscribe to a blog? claims a subscription of 66200 readers. It is written by Leo Babauta. He is married with six kids and lives on Guam. He’s a writer and a runner and a vegetarian and a blogger. He writes on achieving goals and shares his experiences in achieving his own goals:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Becoming a runner
  • Running a marathon
  • Began waking early
  • Became organized
  • Began eating healthy
  • Became a vegan
  • Doubled his income by keeping his job and free lance writing
  • Wrote a novel
  • Took control of his finances
  • Eliminated his debt
  • Began saving an emergency fund
  • Simplified his life (becoming fairly frugal and having reduced a lot of clutter in his life)
  • Cleared his inbox and desk and kept them that way
  • Lost 30 pounds
  • Began training for a triathlon
  • Began commuting to work by bike
  • Began the habit of clean-as-you-go

Many of us are keen to achieve certain goals during certain stages of our lives and hence this vast interest in Leo’s experience. We want to know how he does it and hopefully we can do it in the same way. Leo attributed his success to “no magic tricks, no special amount of determination or dedication. Simple methods, the stuff I talk about on this site, and stuff that I’m still learning to perfect and probably never will.”

I admire Leo’s remarkable achievements. Actually his goals were quite similar to some of the goals I have been tackling over the past ten years, also with some success (e.g., a weight loss of 40 pounds, becoming a runner and a marathoner, becoming a writer, etc). I don’t think I know it all. Nonetheless, I don’t think the methods are the key. Similar changes have been happening to a lot of my friends, who also don’t contemplate anything about the methods. To me, the truth appears to be this: “At some stage of our lives, we come to realize what is more important to us, and make the decisions accordingly.”

Some of the important decisions are:

Short-term enjoyment vs Longer lasting fulfillment

More money vs More time for yourself

Achieving Your Own Dream vs Other people’s expectations of you

Wealth vs Health

Hoping that well-being will be provided by some super-providers vs Working for your own well-being

Sophistication (often defined by the world) vs Simplicity (often defined by yourself)

Life is an equation of give and take, so is happiness, well-being, health and financial freedom. Methods may help but waking up to what you really want is fundamental. Confucius’ observation two thousand years ago still holds true (if I remember and translate correctly), “ A man gets his hat when he turns twenty, stands on his own feet when he turns thirty, shakes puzzlement when he turns forty, truly lives with other’s criticisms when he turns fifty and knows the purpose of his life when he turns sixty.” This is all part of our meta-physical growth which coincides with our physical decay. That’s why we often rejoice in the teenager’s vibrant energy and the old man’s wisdom. That’s the reason why I read and write these days, to help myself and others shake puzzlement and get going. No matter how many times the truth and wisdom has been shared, each one of us will still have to see it for himself. Read, by all means, my friend. Stopping to think is more important. Equally important if telling yourself in words what you have discovered. That’s when writing comes in. In the process of writing and sharing, we understand the subject matter better.

Happy reading, my friends. But don’t just read. Write to share something, just anything.

Dr Benson Yeung's related hubs:

Do You Enjoy What You Are Doing

A Letter From The Future

When You're Gone, Your Tea Gets Cold

Why you should run

Remember these magic numbers for your physical and mental health

Leo Babauta and family


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    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

      Hi CC,

      thanks for your support. It's so touching to have a fan going down the list of your hubs.

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 8 years ago

      Great hub Doc. loved it and so inspiring

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 8 years ago from Hong Kong

      Hi hsofyan,

      thanks for commenting.

    • hsofyan profile image

      hsofyan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Hub is excellent. I have long wanted to remind the world about the true lifestyle. About the difference between needs and desires. About "desire" can become "Satan" for our lives. Congratulations Young, glad you read any posts.

      Best regards..