A TED Talk A Day Day 5: Found this talk slightly hard to summarise because he mostly talks about his experiences. His circumstances are also rather unique, but the mindset behind what he shares is food for thought if you feel like you’re caught on the hamster wheel of modern life.

  1. Life became harder when he worked harder. When he was a child in his village, life was easy. Later he went to Bangkok to work and study,  and life became hard. He felt that he produced a lot, but also could not get enough. Even the knowledge he encountered in university felt destructive to him He saw that in everything we do, we destroy things, and we make things hard.
  2. Time to ourselves is time to understand ourselves. In the village, people worked two months in the year: to plant rice, and to harvest it. The rest of the time they spend on leisure and festivals. This gives them time with themselves, and this allows them to understand themselves, and know what they want in their lives.
  3. It is easy to grow your own food: He found life easy in the village. For 2 months a year and 15 minutes a day, he could feed 6 people in his family with his rice, fish pond and garden. He even had extra to sell.
  4. It is easy to build your own house: For 2 hours a day over 3 months, he built his own house. He compares this to people who work all their lives in Bangkok just to buy a house. He has now built many houses.
  5. Clothes don’t change who you are. He spent a month saving up for a pair of jeans so he could look like others, but realised it didn’t change who he was. If you follow fashion you’ll never catch up.
  6. Sickness is a normal thing in life. We get sick because we do something wrong. It is a reminder to come back to ourselves.
  7. Taking care of his own food, housing, clothes and health made him feel free. Relying on himself made life feel easy. He also feels unique and feels no need to be like someone else.
  8. Life is easy (and fun) but we have made it complicated. We have begun to rely on money instead of each other. But we can learn how to reconnect with ourselves (mind and body) and each other.
  9. The four basic needs of food, housing, clothes and medicine must be easily accessible; that is what civilisation is about. But these are so hard to get now — this makes us uncivilised. This is not normal. People work hard, but who are they working for?

Suggested action step: Whenever I begin to think that something is hard… I will think it is easy instead, and think about how I can make it easy. I will ask if I am simply follow the hard way that everyone has been doing, and how I can do it more easily.