Your Issue Depends On How You See It

“Lord, thank You for …”

Sixteen years ago, I got the highest score in my first ever Accountancy exam. I got a perfect score in part 1 of the exam which was problem-solving. I was so happy with it. I told myself that it was the mathematician in me that made it possible.

When the results of the second exam came, my score was still good. I was not the highest but my score was the third highest. I was again so proud of what I have accomplished.

By the way, I just came then from a school term where I got the highest grades in my two Math subjects. I was so full of myself. I kept on telling myself that it was Math after all, so getting a good grade was really easy. Or so I thought.

(It didn’t dawn on me then that it was Accounting, and it was NOT JUST MATH!!!)

When the score for the third exam was released, I got a shock. I scored just 51% — from the highest scorer down to the bottom. And for a student who used to getting high scores, that was a heart-breaking moment.

I was dumbfounded. My classmates were comparing scores. When someone asked my score, I just smiled at the person. Deep inside, however, I was so depressed because I wanted to maintain high grades. And, getting that exam score was never acceptable. All I could think at that time was that it could bring down my grade. (What a grade-conscious student.)

When what happened sink in me, the first thing that came into my mind was my mother, and her usual line — “Kuya, Just pray…” So after dismissal, when I reached the main door of my college building, oblivious to the calls of my friends, I ran as fast as I could towards the nearest church. I approached the nearest pew, and knelt down.

And then, I prayed…

“Lord, thank You for helping me get a 51%. I know that without You it could all go downhill. Thank You, thank You so much for being there for me! It could have been just 10% but You stayed with me, and helped me do good! I also understand what You are saying to me that I need to study harder.”

Then, I stood up. Walked towards my boarding house carrying a wide smile drawn across my face. And, all the while thinking — “I was so lucky God stayed with me during that exam.”

So what’s my message to all of you?

Friends, we all play different roles — say students, businessmen or career-professionals. Together with each role is our life-goals. And as we pursue these, all of us will be confronted with challenges. These challenges can most of the time rattle us, and could most likely weaken our resolve to pursue our journey. What is important in dealing with these is how we take these.

…Look at these challenges positively.

…See these as mere avenue to help you grow.

…Think of these as means to bring out the best in you.

Always remember that how your issues in life will affect you will always depend on your perspective. So the next time that a challenge comes across your way, reflect and consider how you want that to impact your life — something that will stop your journey or something that will make you grow.

You decide!

 


Lift All to Him!

I am an auditor, and always proud that I am one.

As an auditor, the result of our work is sometimes scary as readers may interpret what we write negatively. Sometimes our words can cause some heads to roll. Sometimes people lost the opportunity to get promoted. There were also times when we find ourselves the receiving end of barbs because of what we have seen and reported. That is one of my scare in life that what I do would affect others negatively.

As a modern auditor, we are taught to veer away from fault-finding, and told to focus instead on how we can help our clients. The problem, nonetheless, is the execution. It is so easy to claim that we are there to help our clients but our executed procedures and reports are usually saying otherwise. This was how I felt in my early years of doing this job.

So the question is — how do we ensure that we can really add value?

Let me share my secret.

This will sound corny (for some) but I do this every start of any engagement. I would keep myself locked in a small room (usually toilet cubicle), and would pray and dedicate my work to our Heavenly Father. Yes, I raise all to Him — both work and non-work related. I would always pray that He guide me from planning the procedures down to writing the report. I would also always ask Him to etched in me the importance of helping our clients and stakeholders meet their objectives. Also, there will be instances where malicious people would try to inflict harm at me when I pry on their unscrupulous activities, so I also pray for protection.

Let me share with all of you some of the encouraging feedback from my auditees.

  • Thank you for making us realize that we need this process, now life at work is far better.
  • The risk rating that you gave in the observation was HIGH but it felt good reading the way you presented your observations and recommendations.
  • You really are brilliant… You were able to unearth the cause of the problem hounding my department for seven years. Not even our external auditors were able to find those, yet you just took a quick look and was able to find the issue.

Now what do I want you all to take from this?

Friends, I am not asking that you to go to church everyday — like this person I know and adore (which I will be sharing to all of you some other time). I am not also sharing this because I want to brag about the feedback of my auditees or how good I am at work.

What I am saying is that for everything that you do, dedicate that to Him. Be that at work, family, or your aspirations… Be that a simple milestone or issue dragging you down…

I am telling you that just being good and having good intentions in what we do are not enough. Because we are just humans, we tend to make mistakes and we need Him to bring us back to the right path.

By the way, I just used my work as an example. However, this tip applies to everything — including our life goals. So again, always seek Him, and He will lay all that you need in your journey. Believe me!

Let me end this by a verse in a Christian song:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God. and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you. Hallelu-hallelujah.


Keep Yourself Abreast

I love reading!

I was part of Batch 52 of BLD Singles Encounter. And, my closest friends in that batch would always make fun of me by repeating the first thing that came out of my mouth when they introduced themselves to me — Hi! I’m Jake! I love reading books!

LOL.

They would always share to anyone who would care to listen that I brought with me in that 2-day retreat a big bag which, according to them, half of the content was books. That one was a bit exaggerated. I would say that only a third of the content was books — mostly detective fictions and legal thrillers. Fortunately, now someone invented e-book readers. So I carry with me all the time, in just one device, 3,000-plus books.

I really love to read. I remember my past time when I was much younger, I read anything I could get my hands on — Comics, Magazines and even Textbooks.

In our house, there was not a day when you don’t find me turning some pages in our mini-library — usually Medical and Health Encyclopedia or Popular Science. In my grandparents’ house, in case you would be looking for me, you would most likely find me going through the “Modern Teacher” magazines in the old cabinet of my aunt-cum-godmother. I also remember that when I was in elementary, I would usually crawl outside the room when the teacher was not looking, and ran outside of the school premise just to get my hands on some comics during school hours. I was actually fond of the issues of Kilabot, Funny and Pilipino comics. And, to get my hands on more comics, I would sometimes barter our encyclopedia at home with the comics brought by a classmate, who is the son of the owner of our local bookstore. (Thank you Gerard!)

If I get tired of what I read, I just get my hands on a different book. That was my idea of resting — read another one with different theme to rest.

I guess my liking for reading started with my Mom who would buy me books and magazines instead of toys. (By the way, I got my fair experience as well of the traditional games when I was young playing these with my cousins and neighbors, except that I still find time to read.) Also, I usually sees my Mom in her free time reading “Lakbay-Diwa” (a self-help book), the Bible or Comics. Then she would usually share the lessons she got from reading during lunch time. So I find reading a normal thing to do.

I’ve been doing this until now… Well, I sometimes get complains from people dear to me that when they get to bed they see me reading, when they wake up they also see me reading. And, they would always point out that I usually read the same material repeatedly. But I would always answer back that every time I go though the words in the same book, it was as if the story is being interpreted differently or I sometimes discover something new that I have overlooked in my previous reading. LOL.

Honestly, what do I get from reading?

Reading keeps me abreast of the things happening around me. As simple as that — no more, no less.

Every time someone throws a topic at me, I could most likely answer back with some other additional topics related to that — say the history behind the event. I remember my daughter, would sometimes get tired of this. She would jokingly complain for me to stop the flow of trivia. True, that may sound annoying for many but, mind you, it is actually helpful at work or when conversing with someone you’ve met for the first time. Just control the urge to give a lecture (I’m still working on it!).

In my case as an auditor, I don’t usually stop with what is obvious to the eyes. I also relate my observations to other possible scenarios based on the things I learned. Or, when I host a conference, I can usually provide transitions smoothly from one segment to another. Even if there are disruptions — technical or not. I do this by picking something from my treasure trove of ideas gotten from my reading.

Friends, I am not suggesting that you become like me. What I am saying is that it can really help you (in anything that you do) if you keep yourself abreast of the changes or anything around you. Do this by getting your daily dose of reading. Be this a news article in the Internet, a chapter of a self-help book, or several pages in Archie’s. What is important is that you put something in your head.

Believe me when I say that investing in learning through reading can take you far.

Just a word of caution, be selective of what you read in Social Media (like Facebook). Not all that appears in your news feeds are true. A lot of these are malicious. Sometimes these would do more harm to you and your relationship with the people around you.

So again, I am encouraging all of you to read. This will help you keep up with things in your life –like help you talk to your crush, your boss, or your clients.

To end this, what should I read next? Share your suggestions in the comments section.

PS: I am strongly suggesting that you get your hands in this treasure trove of tips on how to get your reading provide you with value-adding gains.

Effortless Reading: The Simple Way to Read and Guarantee Remarkable Results

In our overloaded lives, finding time to read is a true challenge. Yet, we occasionally hear great people, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or Elon Musk, talk about how they maintain their reading routines or how their dedication to reading helps differentiate them from the crowd.

You might have already read other self-development books on how to increase your reading speed. The problem, though, is that they all tend to offer pretty much the same advice: Expand your vision, stop your vocals, scan, skim, and so on. It’s all good advice but is no longer applicable in the new digital world.

This book is aimed at nonfiction readers who read under 50 books every year and want to up their game. Avid readers will also enjoy the book, as it provides a new perspective about reading habits. For entrepreneurs who are very tight on learning time, this book could be the remedy for your thirst for knowledge, helping you to keep your innovation-ball rolling on the industry’s edge.

Effortless Reading provides a new approach to reading that once again puts you in control of the exponentially growing knowledge stream, supporting you in achieving the level of success that you desire.

Even if you are a slow reader, you can still apply the technique proposed in Effortless Reading. If you have never read any book before, following the formula in Effortless Reading will save you months of wasteful reading effort.

The best part–you can spend as few as 15 minutes a day and still be able to build a sustainable and beneficial reading practice.

In this book, you’ll come across the following: ‘

  • Fundamentals of the reading mindset that distinguish a smart reader from a regular one.
  • Pitfalls that stop people from building healthy reading habits.
  • The recommended reading approach and the four elements those make it efficient and effortless.

You might have realized that with today’s deluge of information, you have to do something different to keep up. What stopping you from making every minute of your reading time counted?”


Pickup the Pieces and Just Bounce Back

If you can get a message across to a large group of people, what would you say?

That was a question thrown to me by a friend about a week ago. I actually had a hard time answering the question. I reflected on my life and tried to think of something worth-sharing. My mind zeroed-in at the time when I broke to my Mom that I was about to become a young father.

That year was really hard for my family. I was about two years shy from graduating in college. My father died several months before that. As the eldest, I was expected to help my Mom raise my six younger siblings. I was also expected to help pay the debts incurred by my family when the city government implemented some projects affecting my Mom’s business (where the promises failed to materialize). My Mom also got hospitalized and operated on from the stress of providing to a brood of seven alone (where we lost almost all of our properties).

I didn’t know how to break the news to her. The burden that I was about to give to her was really heavy — not to mention that what she was carrying was more than enough to put her down. It dawned on me, however, that it would not be fair to her if I kept what happened a secret. More so if I let her discover this from others. So I mustered what I could and broke the news to her.

I was expecting hurtful words from her. She, however, just smiled at me, kissed me and hugged me tightly. She looked at my eyes and said,

“Jake, you know that I love you and your siblings so much. We have to be thankful for what happened. Your father just died, and God provided us with this angel to ease our pain.

This is what I want you to do. Never forget that you are really brilliant. You have a lot of potential in you. I want you to bounce back. People will be talking about what happened. But don’t mind them. What is important is that you bounce back. Prove them wrong.”

Those words made a lot of difference. It was etched in my mind and my heart. I took my Mom’s advice seriously. I fought against all life challenges thrown at me — financially, emotionally and mentally. My Mom’s words was my inspiration and it served as a constant reminder every time I wanted to give up on something — I have to bounce back and prove them wrong.

Where am I now?

I cannot say that I lead a lavish life. But I am leading a life with reasonable comfort.

I was able to help my Mom pay for the college education of my siblings — including their allowances and miscellaneous expenses. Helping my mom now pay our debts. I have not only finished my undergraduate degree but I was able to pursue my Masters. Residing now in a resort-type condominium. Driving my own car. Holding management position in my employer company. I also thrive and hold respectable positions in various professional and volunteer organizations. Conducting training and seminars. I trotted the globe.

And, a lot more…

Now, if I can get a message across a large group of people, I will share my story and this lesson with them…

We often times will be confronted with challenges as we try to pursue our life goals. Some of these challenges can hurt us physically, emotionally and mentally. What is important is that we bounce back, and constantly hold on to your inspiration. Go back to your DEEPEST WHY every time you hit a wall. Constantly remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

Believe me! You will soon be able to pickup all pieces of the puzzle, and create a wonderful picture of life. These challenges are just part of God’s way of getting the best out of you.

And to our parents, LEARN FROM MY SUPERMOM. Your kids will encounter challenges that could hurt them. Yes, they sometimes need scolding. Don’t forget, however, to share to them that at the end of their life journey what is important is that they able to bounce back. Don’t add to their injuries. Show them your love and support. Lovingly remind them that life doors are not closing on them with every challenge they face. Remind and inspire them to gather the broken pieces and just bounce back. 

 

PS1: I learned when my daughter turned four-years old that my Mom actually went to my father’s grave after I broke the news to her. She shared that she broke down in front of my father’s grave and asked him why my Dad left her with so much burden. But she never showed this to me. She is always the positive, motivating and loving Mom to my brood.

PS2: I am encouraging you to read this self-help book on bouncing back. This may help you gather the broken pieces and start your life anew.

The Bounce Back Book: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks, and Losses

“Salmansohn’s writing is bold, playful, insightful—with powerful metaphors that provoke and inspire. Her kinetic images amplify her message and take the book to a new level of literary experience.” – Deepak Chopra, author of Seven Laws of Spiritual Success

A bad breakup. A serious illness. The loss of a job. Life has a habit of throwing people curveballs. To which Karen Salmansohn says: “When life throws you curveballs, hit them out of the park.”

In The Bounce Back Book the dynamic author whose quirky self-help books—including How to Make Your Man Behave . . . and How to Be Happy, Dammit—mixes from-the-gut wisdom, humor, feistiness, and sophistication to create a hip, inspiring resource that will brighten the darkest mood. The book is grounded in happiness research, psychological studies, Greek philosophy. And it delivers: Here are 70 easily digestible, potentially life-changing tips on how to bounce back from adversity, each on a spread that’s as punchy in look as it is powerful in message.

“Shrink negativity into nuggetivity.” “Think of yourself as the type of person the world says yes to.” With its attitude, techniques, and advice on everything from exercise to staying connected, it is a full-on guide to moving forward with great positive energy.


Share What You Know

When I was in college, I would always volunteer every summer to teach Math in the Affirmative Action Program (AAP) of UP Lawod.

The AAP-Masbate was a UP Pahinungod program handed over to UP Lawod. From what I recall, the Pahinungod decided to stop the AAP in my province (for some reasons I could not recall). So for the love of Masbate, the club decided to take over.

Several of us underwent training with UP Pahinungod in how to properly handle our desired subjects to teach. There were several points shared to us. The one thing, however, that I would never forget was the message that was overly emphasized to us by the trainer. AAP is never a venue to showcase how good you are in the subject but it is an avenue to abet and help promising high school students enter the University of the Philippines (UP).

The whole program got me excited. I remember my first time to volunteer and the preparation I’ve done.

Racked my brain before the start of the program just to make sure that I understood the topics well. I would read my outline of topics and the materials several times just to be sure that I had a good appreciation of my subject. Pored over the materials once in the morning and once before going to bed. I did this for about two weeks.

(I find it mind-boggling though that I would exert so much effort in preparing to teach. While years before that, I would not touch my Math textbooks to study.)

I did this for several years…

The regular volunteer teaching experience in the AAP taught me the importance of putting the interest of others above mine. In this case, prioritizing my students’ learning experience over grandstanding just to showcase my Math prowess. Believe me when I said that it was new to me because before I usually pounce on every opportunity where I can subtly flaunt to others that I was better. LOL.

Also, my students’ feedback and the realization brought by these instilled in me the love for teaching. Few of them shared that they felt empowered with the way I taught the subject. Some even shared that they found renewed liking for Math. There were those who shared their hope for me to teach them regularly the subject. Hearing all of those encouraged me to take my teaching role seriously.

Aside from getting an avenue to helping my students, the experience helped me and sort of  changed my life in so many ways. Let me share three of these:

…It significantly improved my confidence in public speaking when I used to be a timid nerd (who would whisper the answers to my seat mates in a graded recitation). I got used to standing so many times in front of so many people that reporting in college up to hosting national conferences now seems to be not a problem.

…It whetted my appetite to never settle to what I just know. It encouraged me to continuously explore and read on different subjects. In short, it built in me the need to always keep abreast with the things happening around me.

…It helped me find opportunities to earn extra income when I needed it. When my mom had difficulty sending regular allowance after my father’s death, the experience helped me get a job as paid tutor to students from all levels. I earned extra from teaching basic Math to preparatory students to teaching Masters-hopefuls in answering their case studies.

These are just few of the things I gained from teaching. I can mention a lot more. However, I have no intention of enumerating all and brag about the things I have gained.

So what is it that I would like you all to do?

I am encouraging you to try your hand in teaching, or just share whatever it is you think you are good at — paid or not. Share what you know to people who are young in age, in experience or in mind. Believe me when I said that the experience can do a lot to change or improve your life — both financially and not.

But aside from improving our lives, I would like to emphasize the one best thing that you can gain from teaching (that I would say can never be quantified). Teaching can give you opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

So go ahead and try this noble profession.

 

PS1: I taught before at UP Diliman and Far Eastern University. And now, I just accepted a teaching load at DLSU-Manila. I am exploring the culture of our different universities, and would like to know what will work with my style. Probably I’ll do this full-time.

PS2: Try these teaching resource.

UNSHAKEABLE

“Don’t wait for teaching to become fun again: plan for it! Unshakeable is a collection of inspiring mindset shifts and practical, teacher-tested ideas for getting more satisfaction from your job. It’s an approach that guides you to find your inner drive and intrinsic motivation which no one can take away.  Unshakeable will help you incorporate a love of life into your teaching, and a love of teaching into your life. Learn how to tap into what makes your work inherently rewarding and enjoy teaching every day…no matter what.”

 

TEACH LIKE A PIRATE

Based on Dave Burgess’s popular Outrageous Teaching and Teach Like a PIRATE seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You’ll learn how to:

  • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher
  • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet
  • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom
  • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students

This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you’ll never look at your role as an educator the same again”


Do Something Crazy To Improve Your Outlook

One Friday night (around August 2014), I took a 7-hour bus ride from Guayaquil to Baños (in Ecuador). I knew nothing about the city, how to get there or where to stay so I was a little bit afraid. But I decided to go for it and had an adventure.

……

Early that day, while working on my engagement, it dawned on me that all my life I’ve done nothing that can really be considered as adventurous. All I do day-in and day-out are work, work and work. I felt that my life (if to be compared with music) was really monotonous. Yes, I visit so many countries but all I do during those trips is either read books in my hotel room or visit museums. And merely reading books and looking at paintings without experiencing the events behind those stories/paintings seemed really lousy.

So I took my brochure of suggested places to visit in Ecuador (the one I got from the airport). Did a search for the best place to visit for an adventure, and I found Baños. I also Googled for a place to stay in that city. I found and booked a non-posh, US$5-room (it was non-peak  season and it was given at a promo price). Then, from my research, there was a bus departing for Baños at around 12 midnight that day. I immediately requested the CEO’s secretary to arrange a taxi from my hotel to the bus terminal (at around 11pm).

My colleagues were against my plan, and nobody would like to join me. To allay, however, their fears, I pretended and just repeated to them what I read from Google as if I knew the place well.

LOL.

It was an experience that I would never forget. Aside from enjoying the breath-taking sights in the city — the church of “Nuestra Señora del Agua Santa” and the  facade of the old buildings in the city itself — I had fun with adventure sports.

…I did bungee jumping at San Francisco bridge. The bridge was around 100-meter high above  the river. And, I tried it several times.

…I also explored white water rafting in Pastaza River. I was made as the tour group’s captain because I can control the paddle well. This I owe from my dragon boat training.

…I tried as well the “Swing At The End Of The World”. It will take you out of the cliff with little safety protective mechanisms in place while you sit on a plank of wood. It was bucket-list-worthy. And the view was pretty amazing.

…I tried Canyoning down four waterfalls. The experience was really astonishing. By the way, I almost jumped off without any protection because I thought that the Spanish-speaking guide was telling me to jump. He was actually telling me to wait until he secured me to the rope. Fortunately, there were English-speaking Ecuadorians in that group. Whew!

I wanted to try paragliding as well, and I actually already paid for it. However, I was told that I was the only one interested that day, and the minimum number required for the sport was four people. I waited for others who would like to try it, but none arrived.

The Chiva’s ride to the different waterfalls was really good as well. It gave me an idea of the places I need to visit and the things I need to try in that city. Also, in the evening, the panoramic view on top of the mountain with the volcano spewing lava was picture-perfect.

As a whole, it was a wonderful experience. The whole thing helped me became better at my job. I took risk when I was trained, as an auditor, to veer away from the things that could go wrong. It taught me not to be afraid to explore and experience the world around me. It taught me how to appreciate the intricacies beyond the theories contained in the words I write as recommendations to my clients.

In relation to life, it gave me a fresh outlook in the way I see things. It made me appreciate life behind the books I read or the paintings I saw. It also made me realize that I can do more beyond my perceived limitation. And what is really important was that it taught me that actual experience is far better from the stories you read or hear.

Now, why am I sharing this to you?

Friends, we often times are stuck in our daily routine. We keep on doing the same tired things repeatedly every day. Sometimes it leaves a feeling that we are actually not moving or progressing — say in our careers. It is important that you realize that a lot of potential is lying dormant inside of you. And that you fail to see that because you are too focused on executing your daily routines. What you need is to take a few steps back, and try something crazy or different before you continue tackling what you do.

A break in your routine can do a lot of things in your outlook. So, go ahead, explore and experience different things around you. Just make sure that these are not illegal.



PS: This is a must read for all.

Wondered how others have reached their goals?
Wanted to be more engaged and present?
Wanted your life to be filled with adventure?

Get Matthew Walker‘s “Adventure in Everything: How the Five Elements of Adventure Create a Life of Authenticity, Purpose, and Inspiration”


Rest But Never Quit

More than a year ago, I had a sudden urge to skip dragon boat training.

At the hindsight, my brain cautioned me that I never skip weekday training (except when I was assigned abroad). A part of my brain, however, suggested that it was justifiable because a lot of more seasoned members were skipping training, too. The other part argued that it was never in my nature to miss training so I should not do it. But somehow a voice soothingly ended the arguments in my mind by justifying that it will just be ONE TIME.

So I have decided to skip one weekday training.

The problem was…

…I liked the feeling of not waking up really early.

…I loved the absence of pain allover my body after the training.

…I  was also not missing the foul Manila Bay scent that filled my car’s interior.

With these, that one day absence became a week. It became a month. That month became a year. Until I eventually stopped attending training.

One time, while doing some errands for my daughter, I met a team mate. She asked me when I was coming back. I just smiled at her. Seeing my team mate, however, brought me to the time when I was regularly attending training. I went back to the reason why I joined that sport.

Joining that sport was a long-time plan to help me conquer my fear of waters (which, by the way, I did) and to improve my health. And, it dawned on me that a part of myself misses the sport and my team. So, I made that decision to go back.

It was really hard going back because it felt like starting from zero — physically, mentally and emotionally. My body was not used to the rigorous exercise anymore — not to mention that I now weigh almost 20 pounds heavier. I tried to cope with the other members but I ended throwing up several times during land training.

One realization occurred to me. I had to start again — from the bottom.

Friends, we all have our life goals. The journey, however, to realizing our goals is not easy. It is not as smooth as we hope it should be. It can actually be compared to the challenges in climbing Mt. Everest — or probably can be 100 times tougher. These challenges are sometimes too Herculean that we justify quitting under the guise of resting.

Always bear in mind that the temptation to quit is stronger as we inch our way closer to the peak. I encourage you, nonetheless, to fight that urge to quit. Never let those temptations destroy your resolve to pursue your life goals.

Yes, it is okay to take a rest. However, just take a rest to recoup your strength and revisit your plans. Never make that pit stop the end of your journey. Otherwise, you will find yourself where you have started, or could be worse. And you will have to do things all over again.

I’d like to end this with this poem, by Edgar A. Guest. This is something for you to ponder.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow,

Success is failure turned inside out–

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

~ Edgar A. Guest

PS1: I started attending again weekday training starting August 29.

PS2: I am strongly abetting you to read Never Quit by Edwin Cole

“Stress. Change. Crisis! Everyone know what it’s like. Everyone has been tempted to walk away, forget it, give up. “Crisis is normal to life,” best–selling author Edwin Louis Cole teaches.”


Have A Mantra — Believe and Convince Yourself

Do you have a mantra?


“I know what I am doing!

I know what I am going to talk about!

So they should listen to me!”


Way back in college, every time I need to report on something, I would always go inside the restroom, and recite those lines to myself. I would turn around in place several times (with my eyes close) convincing myself that “I was good with what I was doing”. Convincing myself that “I had a good story to tell”. I would tell myself that “I had prepared” and “I was ready to answer any questions”.

I would turn several times until I felt that I was convinced and confident… about myself and what I was about to say.

Who would not need convincing themselves, if your college classmates were far more brilliant than you. Or, who were ready to pounce to point a better idea than what you were presenting. Of course, I always do my homework every time I need to report in front, so it was not really believing in nothing.

I remember that one major report in my Marketing class. I was part of the group who presented a proposed marketing strategy for “Vicks VapoDrop“. My classmates were hesitant to accept our ideas, so they started pouncing on our group. My group mates were looking at me because they knew that I would always face challenges head-on. So I brazened myself, pulled my tricks out of my hat, and addressed clarifications and suggestions the best way I could.

Our group did well…

We were advised that we got the highest grade for the class presentation in that project. Of course, it was a group effort. Kudos to the brilliance of my beautiful group mates whose names I will not mention. What I would like to point out, however, is that I was able to do my part well in that class project because I had convinced myself to believe (and be confident) in what I had prepared and what I can do.

Friends, in everything that you do, you will encounter people who will challenge your ideas and suggestions. This could happen at workplace, in your sports team or even your church groups. Don’t think that because you feel that an idea is good (after your research and analysis) everyone will deliver their agreement in a silver platter.

The world is not built like that.

We have different backgrounds or social context. We should expect that there will always be people who will question our ideas or even our integrity.

That is a given.

What you should do aside from preparing physically is mental preparation — BELIEVE IN YOUR IDEA. If you have doubts about your ideas, then ask yourself why and find the answer to your questions. Note that you can never totally remove your doubts, so if you have really good hunch about an idea, then CONVINCE YOURSELF.

Try reciting my mantra.  Or better yet, create your own mantra. Recite this before a presentation or anytime you feel the need to boost your confidence. It can really help. Believe me.

Challenges will be hard if you are not confident with your ideas or with yourself.

Important note: believing and convincing yourself about an idea is not a ticket to face opposition with arrogance and being dismissive. You have to tackle all politely, and be open to considering other ideas as well.


Do not look back! Look straight ahead!

“Walang lilingon! Sa harap lang!”. (Do not look back! Just look straight ahead!)

You will normally hear these lines during dragon boat practice. I oftentimes wondered what is the importance of looking straight ahead during training. How would it make us win races or become better paddlers?

Then, I met one entry in the book “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler,  which is “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize”. It shared about the talk of Dallas Cowboy coach Jimmy Johnson to his football players.

“I told them that if I laid a two-by-four across the room, everybody there would walk across it and not fall, because our focus would be that we were going to walk that two-by-four. But if I put that same two-by-four 10 stories high between two buildings only a few would make it, because the focus would be on falling. Focus is everything. The team that is more focused today is that team that will win this game.”

It shed a light on my question re the importance of “looking straight ahead”.

When you are paddling, there are so many distractions that would make you lose focus:

…floating human waste or decaying cat remains

…foul-smell of murky Manila Bay waters

…cute paddlers from other teams

One of the requirements, however, of this sport to get the team to the finish line as fast as possible is synchronization. When you are distracted, there is that big chance that you will most likely get out of sync with the drummers beat or cadence. And when you are out of sync, it will not only affect your performance but you will drag the whole team with you.

Similar in life, many of us let themselves be affected by the negative things happening around us. We let these “distractions” negatively affect the things we do, and even the people around us. Instead of us focusing on the things we want to happen in our life — say becoming a good public servant — we focus our attention on the consequences of failing.

Friends, for us to get our life goals, we should keep our eyes on the prize.

Challenges will always abound. Some of these could even hurt us physically, emotionally or even financially. If we, however, lock our attention to our goals, nothing can keep us from winning.

And that’s what you should focus on — WINNING.

 

PS1: In Dragon Boat, the drummer provides the beat or cadence for the whole team.

PS2: I am really encouraging you to get “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself” by Steve Chandler. A really good resource for trainers and those who wants to get re-fueled.