Chew On It: Four Life Principles

I’ve semi-retired from work but am active where I am needed in ensuring Elixr continues to pursue excellence. Your support is truly appreciated as the success of Elixr is shared by over 80 staff members.

My new role is Social Director. It is self-appointed, of course, and my duties include socially engaging with staff and members. So if you have any complaints, please refer to our managers. But if you have any compliments, please see me!

Here are four life principles that I constantly work on:


People talk about wanting happiness, but that is a fleeting emotion. The key to contentment is satisfaction with our situation and material possessions, appreciation of family and friends, and gratitude for the so many things that we often take for granted. As Seneca stated: “Richness is satisfaction of what you already have, while the person who continues to crave for more, is poor.”

Life is full of joy and beauty interjected by adversity and tragedy. It is essential to not allow the challenges in life to consume you. As I revel in life, I continue to learn to live with grief which at times totally overwhelms me. But I refuse to let it transform me into a bitter person. To the benefit of yourself and those around you, heed the words of Maya Angelou: ‘Just because you are in pain, you don’t have to be a pain.’


In my mouth, I never backed away from confrontations. But for many years now, I avoid unnecessary conflicts like the plague. When situations anger or frustrate me, I follow the advice of Seneca: “The greatest remedy for anger is delay.” As much as I would like my anger to let me strike out, I contain it. It is not to say I don’t feel the rage, but I have learnt that when anger controls you, it will only make things worse.

I aim to seek solutions with people through logical discussions and without personal attacks. It is challenging to do, but the result is far more satisfying.

Harmony in life requires respect for yourself, and a big part of this requires being respectful of others. I do confess that I find it most challenging dealing with inconsiderate people, but I am working on it!

Harmony is about good relationships with people by being kind, caring, and understanding. However, there are times that it is best to avoid or minimise contact with certain people.


I subscribe to the Japanese principle of Kaizen — the pursuit of excellence.

It may have been developed during my Karate training as I continuously sought new ways to improve in all aspects of the art.

This is the cycle to excellence that I employ:

1.     Think about what and how to do it best.

2.     Do it.

3.     Then analyse and review to do it better.

Then start from point 1 again and the cycle continues. It is often said that doing your best is all you can do, but that is not the case. W. Edwards Deming puts it wisely: ‘It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.’


Making the right choices is key to harmony and contentment. It is important to know the facts. Seek guidance from people with experience prior to making a decision.

“Use your common sense” is commonly brandished. But unfortunately, common sense is not common practice. Making assumptions with few facts tends to lead to poor choices. We all make bad choices, but it would be smart to minimise them. When you do make poor choices, change track. And if it has hurt someone, apologise for your actions without any excuse.

Making wise choices is sometimes difficult to do, but they ultimately bring contentment even though they may be painful at that time, such as leaving a toxic relationship.

When I first wrote about the four principles which I strive for in life, I did not realise the anagram spelt out my family name – CHEW. Total coincidence!

I also have an acronym for business principles at Elixr – RICE. It’s not Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation, but Respect, Integrity, Care & Excellence. Of course, it also applies to life… That’s for another newsletter!