- Attention training
- Self-knowledge and self-mastery
- Creation of useful mental habits
Like many others wiser than me, I believe world peace can and must be created from inside out. If we can find a way for everybody to develop peace and happiness within themselves, their inner peace and happiness will naturally manifest itself into compassion. And if we can create a world where most people are happy, at peace, and compassionate, we can create the foundation for world peace.
Fortunately, a methodology for doing that already exists and has already been practiced by various peoples for thousands of years. It is the art of using contemplative practices to develop the mind. Most of us know it as meditation.
Born and raised in Singapore, Mr. Tan describes his childhood as “very unhappy.”
“It was the geek thing,” he says. He taught himself how to write software code at the age of 12. And by 15, he had won his first national academic award. At 17, he was one of four members of the national software championship team.
“In Singapore, the way to distinguish yourself is to win competitions,” he says. But public attention and external rewards brought him no satisfaction. “It wasn’t making a difference,” he says. “I wasn’t any happier. There was a compulsion to be the best.”
He grew up watching American TV series like “The Cosby Show” and “Diff’rent Strokes,” studied computer engineering in Singapore and attended graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was offered a job, he says, within five minutes of e-mailing his résumé after graduation.
The offer was from Google.