Food for thought – 7 aha moments

While I believe we can learn many things from traveling, I also believe that we can learn a lot from reading books. Since the existence of humanity, a lot of knowledge have been passed down through writings. Almost everything we need to know have been written down in a book somewhere, and if they haven’t, someone is in the process of writing a book to record such new knowledge. For the last few years, Mrs. T and I have been focusing a lot on reading personal finance and investing books, trying to increase our knowledge in these two areas. Lately though, we have been reading more and more self-improvement/self-development books like The Art of Peace by Morihei Uneshiba, and Everyday Wisdom for Success by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

While reading I came across many super-duper awesome quotes from these two books that hit me in the head and gave me a bunch of “aha moments.” I’d like to share them with you, my dear reader, today and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 🙂


The Divine is not something high above us. It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us.

Enjoy everything that happens in your life, but never make your happiness or success dependent on an attachment to any person, place, or thing.

Most people are searching for happiness outside of themselves. That’s a fundamental mistake. Happiness is something you are, and it comes from the way you think.

A successful person isn’t someone who makes a lot of money. A successful person brings success to everything that he or she does, and money is one of the payoffs.

Try to free yourself from placing a cash value on everything you have, do, and say. Do what your heart tells you will bring you joy, rather than determining whether it will be cost-effective.

Did you ever notice that some people never have enough, while other people always do?

Aha moment #1: Externally driven happiness can only last momentarily. To become blissful and joyful, we need to look from within. It is only when we find inner peace we can be truly happy. Do things that we enjoy doing and stop doing things because we were told by others that these things will make us happy. Listen to our intuition, it’s a very powerful tool that we all need to learn to trust. Stop equating having money as being successful. We need to free ourselves from attaching monetary value to everything in our lives. Money is merely one of the payoffs that we receive as a return for our actions. If we only think about money, we’ll never be satisfied.


As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you.

Aha moment #2: Not caring what others think and say about you is important; it is just as important to stop yourself from judging others. What we put out will return to us 10 fold. When we judge or criticize, we are making ourselves vulnerable and asking someone to judge and criticize us in return.


The only cure for materialism is the cleansing of the six senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind). If the senses are clogged, one’s perception is stifled. The more it is stifled, the more contaminated the senses become. This creates disorder in the world, and that is the greatest evil of all. Polish the heart, free the six senses and let them function without obstruction, and your entire body and soul will glow.

Aha moment #3: Be clear with these six senses and we can all become better beings. We get stuck in the materialistic world because our senses are clogged and we cannot sense the world clearly.


Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design – do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.

Aha moment #4: These emotions are part of life. We can’t be happy all the time; we can’t be angry all the time; we can’t be sad all the time. We will encounter good and bad things in life. We need to face them and learn from such experience. When we oppose these experiences, we are only making our lives harder for ourselves.

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Chasing success is like trying to squeeze a handful of water. The tighter you squeeze, the less water you get. When you chase it, your life becomes the chase, and you become a victim of always wanting more.

When you argue for your limitations, all you get are your limitations.

Having a plan for success isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but falling in love with the plan is a real neurosis… Don’t let your plan become bigger than you are.

Aha moment #5: If we put our right hand directly in front of our face, that’s all we can see. If we only focus on limitations and have no flexibility, we will not be able to find any alternatives. While laser focus is helpful in some situations, learn to see all the different possibilities and be open to things you might not even expect to appear in your life.


There is no stress in the world, only people thinking stressful thoughts.

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.

Aha moment #6: There’s no such thing as stress. We create stress ourselves. We stress ourselves out because we’re thinking about what’s going to happen in the future. Live in the present moment and do what we love will make us much happier. Follow our heart and abundance will come to us.


Have you thought about the fact that you are the sum total of all your choices up until this moment?

You aren’t what you do, so don’t equate yourself with your job or achievements.

There are some people who live 70 years, and there are some people who live one year 70 times, repeating what they’re doing over and over in the name of the gold watch or whatever.

In any challenging situation, ask yourself this: Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?

The two most unnecessary emotions in life are guilt and worry.

Aha moment #7: Isn’t it funny that when we meet someone for the first time, we usually ask the “what do you do for work” question? Why do we determine who people are based on their professions? Shouldn’t we ask someone that we just met what he or she enjoys doing instead? We are who we are right now because the choices that we made in the past. We can’t change these but we can make choices now to change our lives from now on. Rather than repeating our lives doing the same thing or making the same decision over and over again, be creative, be flexible, be present, be spontaneous and live our lives so we can have different and new experiences. Stop being part of the problem and not willing to change; start being part of the solution and make this world a better place. Be happy, be kind, and be generous.


Finally I’ll leave you with a quote from my better half, Mrs. T:

Happiness is the reward when we learn to forgive ourselves.

When we let go of blaming ourselves and others, for things that happen in our life, and take responsibility for our reactions and actions instead, then we can be truly happy. It comes from within ourselves, just like peace. We can’t rely on another person, a situation, or an external factor, to make us happy. We need to look inwards.

Forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make is the best way to reach the state of happiness, because we are being good to ourselves. We accept ourselves in spite of our flaws and mistakes.

We are not at fault for the things that happens in our life. We are responsible for the way we react to them. So if you take a moment to just breathe and look at your life from the outside, can you see yourself as a loving, caring and happy person? One that responds in a calm and relaxed way? If you can, great! If not, there might be something that you need to forgive yourself for.


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37 thoughts on “Food for thought – 7 aha moments”

  1. This is a beautiful post, Tawcan. Thank you for reminding me of what truly matters.

    Cheers from a fellow Canadian!

  2. Such an inspiring list of quotes and aha moments! I love all of them, though wish that one about stress was completely true. I don’t think there’s ever a *full* escape from stress (nor would we want that — that would make us soft and weak!), but we can certainly learn to stop creating unnecessary stress for ourselves. 🙂

    • Hi Our Next Life,

      Interesting you mentioned about stress. I used to think that way as well but have come to realization that stress is indeed created by ourselves. Yes we may not able to fully escape from stress, but knowing what creates it in the first place will help you reduce stress.

  3. So many fantastic a-ha moments. I am very taken by intrinsic rewards & benefits, rather than extrinsic. Sometimes it’s ironic because I blog about personal finance – but I am more for the psychological relationship we all have with money & building solid foundations as early as you can, that way you can focus more inwardly. I also really like what you said here: “Be happy, be kind, and be generous.” Even just a little of all these 3 things make a world of a difference to yourself & those around you.

    • Hi Generation YRA,

      It’s a balance act really. I’d argue that if you only look inward then you may seem like a “me, me, me” person. I think the question of “how can I serve?” is a great one to ask when you’re in a tough situation. Be happy, be kind, and be generous is absolutely a great mantra to follow.

  4. I relate to you Aha moments, Tawcan, especially no. 4. Life is all that is exciting and interesting, so why be angry. There are so many things to enjoy in this life.

  5. Very interesting read . Thank you for this. I like the quote Happiness is something you are, and it comes from the way you think. Externally driven happiness is only momentary. It is only where we find inner peace we become truly happy.

    Tawcan, I also have question for you regarding taxes. when you have a moment please let me know. I am looking to file 2015 taxes. I just recently closed my margin a/c from Questrade and transferred shares in kind in my TFSA and US shares to my RRSP. Although questrade margin account is now closed i can still log in online and get the T5 slips for taxes that shows my total dividend earned in 2015. my question is I had also sold out some crappy stocks with hefty losses last year. so what kind of tax slips should i be looking at which shows final profit and loss for 2015 so that I can claim those losses when doing my tax. I only have T5 slips that only shows dividend income but what about capital gain/loss due to stocks selling . Do you know what exact document I should be looking for or how it works? I’ll very much appreciate this. Thank you!

    • Hi Dipu,

      You always have great questions and I’m happy that you’re asking. 🙂

      Unfortunately there’s no specific tax slip you can check to show your gains or losses. You need to look into your statements and compare the difference between when you purchased the stock and when you sold the stock. It’s slightly of a pain . This is why record keeping using an Excel sheet is very important.

  6. Nice aha moments, Taw. My version of aha moment is “I can be happy if I choose to be happy.” It is dependent solely on us and it is in use. We just have to make a choice.

  7. Great post Tawcan. There is a lot to think about in here. Ideal start of the weekend.

    I find Aha#4 very interesting. Dealing with the different emotions is important, the good ones and the bad ones.

    aha#3 translate for me into: value experiences more than things

    Thx for this

    • Hi amvertreeleaves,

      Good point on #3 about value experiences rather than things.

      Dealing emotions is part of life, we just need to accept that fact. The important thing is not to dwell on bad emotions for too long. Get that over and move on.

  8. An excellent, excellent post Tawcan. I love all the quotes and what you said about them. Happiness and your emotional/mental state of mind are definitely completely up to the individual. I have definitely been guilty (haha – don’t be guilty right?) of worrying about the future too much. There will always be something you COULD worry about, so if you always let it worry you then you’ll always be unhappy. You could always never be happy enough with your fitness, your wealth etc, it’s always just out of reach. Have goals, but don’t be unhappy. I need to remind myself of that.


    • Hi Tristan,

      Thank you very much. Practice being present and feeling happy about what you have now will make you a happier person in the long run. It’s easy to say that, harder to practice for sure.

  9. These are excellent quotes. I bet your library books are like mine – post-it notes sticking every which way marking awesome passages. Thank you for sharing your “aha” moments. My favorite one is not being able to see past your hand if that’s what’s in front of your face. Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and look around at the situation to find a creative solution. But that’s always a worthwhile endeavor.

  10. I like this one: “Having a plan for success isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but falling in love with the plan is a real neurosis… Don’t let your plan become bigger than you are.”

    I get rigid over plans and then can’t handle it when they inevitably go at least slightly awry. It’s exhausting. I’m slowly learning that a plan is more a theory than a reality. That it’s a guiding force rather than a dictate.

    That said, I have to disagree that there is no stress other than what we create. My husband and I both have disabilities. For quite a while, we were juggling student and medical debt on relatively little money. Meanwhile, my husband’s health was spiraling. I don’t think someone can point to that and say that I was creating my own stress. Or if they did, I’d probably kick ’em in the shins. Even now that our financial situation is better, we’re constantly dealing with one of our conditions or another. I’m definitely guilty of stressing out too much nowadays, but anyone contending with our health problems would probably be stressed and exhausted too.

    • Hi seattlegirlluw,

      Sorry to hear about the disabilities, that’s tough to deal with, especially combined with tough financial situation. Hopefully you can find ways to feel better.

  11. Tawcan,

    It’s great to see posts like this that breach from investing but still seek to better the masses in a different way. I can’t help but think of the book “The Last Lecture” when I read this post. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it as it gets to the real meat of “you’re going to die, this is what really matters”. Self help books are amazing – it’s too bad more people don’t read them without being prodded to!

    -Dividend Monster

    • Hi Dividend Monster,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post. Haven’t read “The Last Lecture” so will definitely need to read it in the future.

  12. Great compilation of inspiring thoughts! One of my faves is the “living 70 years or one year 70 times…” I see that a lot at work and think, man I don’t want to get stuck in that circle. Excellent article!

    • Hi Mr. SSC,

      Thanks. The same quote can be applied to a lot of businesses too. Just because you’re around for 70 years, doesn’t mean you’re great at your business if you’re repeating the same practice for 70 years.

  13. Thank you- just spent the day beating up on myself. I am now going to try and forgive myself. This being a flawed human can be so difficult. Your words really helped.

  14. Really good post. I struggle with #1, I try to blame others who are unhappy for my unhappiness at times. I’m in a work in progress and it’s always good to remind yourself of these things and keep plugging away.

  15. Solid post Tawcan! #1 listed above is super important in my opinion. Most people look for happiness in other people, drugs, or (God forbid) possessions. I figured out a while back that if I’m not happy with myself, nothing external could make me happy for long. This concept really helped me shed the desire for more toys and possessions. I still chase experiences, but I have greatly benefited by working on myself and my weaknesses.

    Thanks for the great post buddy. I hope the rain lets up soon!

    • Hi Bryan,

      Happiness comes from within, it’s a great thing to remember when you’re chasing for happiness. Funny you mentioned about the rain, it did stop. 😀

  16. A great post! Our happiness should not be about a possession. Once you can get pass caring so much about what others think and letting things out of your control go you can live a much more enjoyable life. Great a-ah moments!

    • Hi Brian,

      Definitely. Stop caring about what other thinks about you, stop judging, and stop based our happiness on what you own and have. We’ll be much happier in the long run.


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