Friday, September 07, 2007

Reflection: Teachers' Mass Lecture - Catch the Happiness Bug

on 7 Sep 2007 @ Singapore Expo, by Shelley Sykes

Happiness is... knowing that I can do and do make a difference


  • Think one of the deepest impression after the mass lecture is really the wizard (er... witch) in bright pink! hahaha... guess it's her signature colour? and a magic wand. The glitz from her face... and the voice... OK, there's one thing which is interesting, she liked to make calls like "wa-o-ho!", as an expression of "ah-ha! there it goes!". The pitch wakes one up and suppose to come with some convincing confidence and cheers... Just wondering, could it be because she was trying so hard to animate it... that I felt some thing was missing... hm... what she has spoken or described could have downwashed so much that somehow it does not really touch me heart - hm... it has lost some degree of reality? I think... partly because some of the examples she described sounded too real to be true! So, there's this disconnection.

  • From the experiences she has narrated, yes, I trust she has weathered through some much turbulences in her life journey, and really, admired her of her perservence and thoughts of being positive that have made her strong! Yes, she has this "never say die" attitude.

  • In fact, at the end of the session, one of the audience expressed how much she has learnt from the day's session and how appreciative she was, that Shelley has rekindled the 'hope' and the 'how' to identify/find happiness... Hm... while I'm still trying to find what's new I've gained from the 2 hours.


9 Tips to Happiness

1. Have a 'Happy Plan'

  • At the start of the session, the whole audience, led by Shelley, pledged to be "happy". Why 'pledge' to be happy? Hm... is it that many have yet found happiness? or discover happiness around us?

  • Of course, the pledge gets one to look at the better side of thing, be happy and spread happiness through influence! How to influence? When one can generate happiness. How one can generate happiness? It's largely dependent on one's perspective when view things, and reaction to it! {Hey, isn't it that she consolidates the practices and package it?}

  • In fact, at the start, I think she tried to set the stage, the context of the session, and started to promise what we'll get out of the session... somehow, I think, it's the delivery style - that the "wa-o-ho" diluted the focus...

  • 当然,Shelley 使用“鬼佬"最拿手的一招:煽动人心,煽动情绪。 当然,整个场子的观众也参与啦! 其实,觉得有点牵强。当节目达到高潮时,观众的反应会是很自然的。可是,当大伙还是处于正在“解冻”阶段时,就会让人感到牵强。

  • 感觉:有点像到那些大型基督教会节目里“招募会员”的那种仪式. 天啊!别把这种概念给带进来!虽然不排斥宗教的形式,但,还是较为中立会比较妥当也!

2. Attitude - Smiling

  • Yes, smile does wonders! This was brought up... and all were reminded.

  • Smile brings happiness to others, which in turn, boomerang back to us... it's generative!

  • True, smile is an universal language. Whether in a foreign land that uses another language, whether is at a point where we could not find words to express ourselves - smile does a wonderful job - to connect, to communicate, to break the ice, to ease oneself, to express gratitude...

  • Smile is contagious! Yes, it influences the 'atmosphere' at that moment! It cheers up the mood of people... it relaxes one's mood! Oh yes, it also helps one to gets by embarrasssing moments, too!

  • Smiles not only influences the external entities, it also plays wonders on ourselves! It lifts our mood and colours what we see with our very own and 'old' pair of eyes, too! Oh yes, we have always told ourselves, do not put on a pair of coloured glasses when looking at others... however, in this smile theory, smiles add beautiful colours to what we see... it generates positive positive colours!

  • Yes, also remember to smile at ourselves, for a job well-done, for putting our best effort to get things done (no matter how it turns out)... and smiles can transform into pads on shoulders...

  • Everybody has an unique smile and everybody sees the same smile differently... So many people were enchanted by Mona Lisa's mystic smile... did she wear the greatest smile? Hm... each and everyone of us have the greatest smile, when it comes from our heart :D

  • Click to see previous postings on smiles... a , b , c , d , e , f , g , h

3. Physiology - Walk tall

4. Surround yourself with high-energy people

5. Ideas - Abundance Mentality

  • The idea of "I'm rich and abundant"... yes, the "Art of Giving" (I think, that many of us do not practise)

  • Look around us... we are rich - not to measure by monetary terms... it may not be something that's measureable - oh yes, happiness is something that can't measure. It's simply subjective!

  • Do we realise the forte we possess? Have we seen them in another light that it's not just something we possess, but something that we can tap on to bring about happiness to others? Er... increasing the happiness index on people who can benefit from it?

  • Shelley shared that she likes flowers (hm... lilies? Do I remember correctly) and flowers cheers her up... she offered to use her 'skills' to build a website for the florist - that helps to popularise and expand its business, and in return, she gets life-long supply of flowers that is one source to create a happy physical environment! Hm... it sounds like we go back to the old way of trading - barter trade!

6. Live in the 'Now'

  • One advice - never focus on the lack, never focus on what's not right.

  • She reminded us: "Sometimes, we live in a beautiful place, but only see what's at home"

  • What an analogy! It's like the chinese saying 外国的月亮总是比较的圆,总是比较的亮!(It's human nature that we normally focus what we don't have and forget what we have). Hence result in some kind of comparison and create those "envious"(?), "unfair"(?) thoughts?

  • Be appreciative too... that reminds me of something I read from the Sunday times "Lifestyle" Frequent Flyer article "Travel with a Cause" that interviewed the CEO of World Vision, Dean R Hirsch. When asked "What hotel facility can't you do without?" His answer is clean water. Wah! It's at the other end of the spectrum, compared to all the previous interviews. It's not that he does not look for quality in hotel stays (I believe), but it tells something! He impresses me! Yes, how often we forget to look around to appreciate the most basic luxury we have on earth!

7. Expect the Best

8. Focus on being successful

  • One thing Shelley emphasized was "always ASK for HELP when need to"... in a way, she also pointed out the importance 'personal touch' - call people... ask people for help... (of course, she also illustrated the kind of tact to go with it) - and you may get it!

  • One example she mentioned was getting the materials ferried to Singapore free and on-time for the mass lecture. Of course, she has downplayed the existing relationship/connection she had established with freight company. It sounded impressive. She easily brushed it over by saying, give a call to the right personnel for help. Well, if she has not established her name in the market, who cares to talk to her! So, once again, she tried to relate a real life experience, however, it's not down-to-earth and practical!

  • In fact, to my surprise, one of the teachers - I think she's naive enough to - ask how Shelley got the names of these rich and capable people!

  • One thing I'm not too sure if it's correctly communicated to the audience - ie. Shelley encourages the audience to talk to the people up there, to market themselves! Wah! You think it works in the education system here? Teachers to the Divisional Directors or the DGE directly... ok, the leaders up there might be receptive to this idea (as the ground up approach has been talk of the system in the recent months)... think from the Principal's perspectives, Supt's perspective and how they think? .... er... In a way, the hierarchical approach is still expected, I believe... no one want to be by-passed... in any way, be it good or bad.

9. Shine - Enjoy being yourself

  • Be the Best. Don't try to change others.

  • I think this is the most practical and down-to-earth tip that Shelley gave to the audience.

  • Yes, let us start with ourselves, to understand and generate the happiness thought. We can only influence. It's through this influence that shapes the behaviour around us.

  • To what extent? It all depends on how each individual entity respond to it. Some are easy, some are difficult and almost impossible. Nevermind, but it starts with ourselves, right?

  • Happiness is when what you htink, what you say and what you are in harmony - Mahatma Gandhi


M.A.D - Make A Difference

  • Shelley has been rubbing on the fact that teachers made a difference - ok, we know, but she could not make concrete connections to it! It's really like we say, the use of Data logger is good for Science learning, and keep citing it without telling the people how it value-adds to the learning, what difference it makes in the experience. Yes, you tell me it's good, but tell me how and why, and give me real life illustrations to convince me! [Get me?]

  • "Are you "M.A.D" ?" , "Do you want to be "M.A.D" ?" , "Do you want to be "M.A.D.der" ?" These few questions were asked umpteen times... So??? What's the Intent? Just to tell the audience that "You are doing a great job!"... Hm... I think, she had overdone it!


On the whole, do I gain much? Hm... Perhaps should put it across as, I re-discover or re-call I've been doing, what I'm capable of doing, and what I can do

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