Interview with Vadivu Govind, on how to cultivate happiness - V

By Matthieu Ricard on November 19, 2012

From a series of private interviews with Matthieu Ricard conducted by Vadivu Govind in Singapore in September 2012, during which she assumed the role of a wealthy leader and posed some thoughts such a leader may have to Matthieu.

There are some people in my life who have spoken the truth to be about my weaknesses. But I felt very uncomfortable. How should I deal with these kinds of people?

The kindest person is the one who brings to the surface your weaknesses and hidden faults because it gives you a wonderful opportunity to improve.

Let's look at what a very kind teacher in sport or music would look like. The kindest teacher cares so much for you that he will point out every defect of your playing so that you can improve it. If you really want to play the piano well, and you have a teacher who, no matter what you do, just says, ‟That's nice, that's nice, that's nice”, then you'll never progress. If praise is unjustified, you will not feel good about that because you know you don't have those qualities. Maybe temporarily it flatters your narcissism, but ultimately it doesn't feel comfortable. However, the feedback should not be given in a demeaning way to put you down and the person doing it has to have good intentions.

This is the best way to improve so you are missing a big opportunity by not accepting such truthful feedback.

Interview conducted by: Vadivu Govind, Director, Joy Works ( on 13 Sept. 2012, Poh Ming Tse Temple, Singapore. She blogs at