A Realization From A Broken Piece Of Art

Pickup the pieces… 

Okay, so I have this one particular painting that I really adore. <See featured photo.>

It was not an original. Most likely an imitation. I, however, love looking at this work of art. So I placed this piece in the living room of my old apartment. Then, five years back, when I moved to my condo I brought it with me. I placed it at the wall facing the door, so that every time I open the door its view would be the first to greet me.

Probably, many of you are thinking that it is not even a stunner. Agree.

Just the same I like looking at this.

It was the first painting that I bought. I got it from Ecuador. And, I had it wood-framed in Quiapo, Manila — using a classy, dark brown frame. The painting, coupled with the wooden framing, was really nice to look at.



My problem with this piece started when I moved to my condo. I was advised by the contractor — and the maintenance people (because I kept on insisting) — that I cannot hammer a nail on the wall facing the main door. The power circuit breaker and the water pipes for the fire suppression mechanism are on that wall. It would be dangerous to hammer a nail.

I was just told to consider placing a mini-bar instead.

There is, however, that saying that if one is intent on having what it like, one will do what it could to make things happen. I am a believer of that adage.

So I researched, and finally got what I wanted. I had the painting placed on that wall with the help of hanging strips.

But there was a problem…


Father time and the weight of the framed painting were putting too much toll on the strips. After a number of years, the painting suddenly dropped from where it was hanging. It partly damaged the frame. I tried my “Handy Manny” skills (a moniker given by my daughter when she was much younger), patching the damage and restoring the piece back to its original look. It has been like this for quite a while.

It would drop again, and I would fix it again.

And the cycle continued…


After several fixes, however, I find the frame severely damaged. It was beyond repair. So I made a bold decision to just throw everything away.

While I was on my way to throw the whole thing, it dawned on me that what was damaged was merely the frame. The painting was intact. Bruised but intact. And those can easily be fixed with what I have in my toolbox. I thought that there was no need for me to throw all away just because the frame cannot serve its purpose anymore.

So I brought the painting back with me. I restored the minor bruises. And, lo and behold, I had it back to its original place in an hour — less the frame (of course). I think that without the frame, the hanging strips were now able to carry the burden well. Yes, it was not that pretty without the original frame. But it is serving its purpose with lighter load for the hanging strips to manage.

Now, it’s hanging for almost a year now. Greeting me every time I open the door.


Friends, there are two take-away that I hope you get from this.

First, there are things that you cannot simply fix — physical possessions, relationships or even career-related concerns — because of what happened or what you have done in the past. It would not be healthy to linger around it. Sometimes you would be better off without the “extra parts”. Yes, the “extras” could assist you (in this case it made the painting looked glamorous). However, if the weight is too much to handle, then might as well let it go (and don’t go chasing it).

(In the first place, if I have not insisted on putting together the frame and the painting given that their weight as a whole was unbearable for the hanging strips, the frame would have not ended battered and damaged. The frame was really beautiful before this, and I am sure that it could have beautified other paintings — better paintings. Also, the people around it would not stress with the probability that the piece would suddenly drop and hit anyone or anything. So the painting, the frame and the people admiring it are actually better off if these are not together.)

Secondly, there are things (or situations) in our lives that could leave us hurting. Note that, like that painting, even if part of it (or you) is damaged, it does not mean that the whole thing is already damaged. It does not mean that you lost your talents, charm, beauty or “what-have-you”. You should pick up the pieces, then try to build something out of those. Your true beauty/potential is still there, and just hiding behind the haze. You just have to pick-up the pieces, and bounce back.

You could become just like that painting. Broken and frame-less but hanging on, and lingering for the world to see.

Believe me.

 

Recommendations

PS1: I a recommending that you find time to read as well “PICKUP THE PIECES AND JUST BOUNCE BACK” and “ALWAYS BOUNCE BACK“.

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.


Are You Really Planning To Fail?

“E-M-P-T-Y”

 

It’s the beginning of the third month of 2017.

I was working on my annual performance self-review. So I went through my files to check the status of some projects. I suddenly took note of my 2016 planner. It was hidden inside my drawer. It got my curiosity so I have decided to browse through the content.

I realized that except for some scribbles in less than ten pages of that planner, it was unused at all.

It was EMPTY!

Well that was no surprise. I am not the type who likes handling administrative work and doodling about the things that I will be doing in the next ten months. Besides I usually delegate what I think as “admin” work to other people. I just devote my brain power to what I think as productive activities.

Don’t take this wrong. I have nothing against formal planning process. In fact, it is part of my usual recommendations to my clients. I would use the line — “You need to plan, otherwise you are planning to fail!”. This is not because the books say so. It is because compared to my personal activities, corporate activities and the number of people involve in each of these activities are overwhelming. And without a formal planning process, realizing their goals would most likely be difficult.

I had people in the past pushing me to write my activities in a planner. They would egg me to use it. So I got planners as gifts from them. Well if you run through my activities you would most likely agree with them.

dragon boat three times a week…

boxing three times a week…

running every day and long-distance running on weekends…

an hour of voice lessons a week…

writing articles for my blog…

Also I need to mention that I am serving as a board of trustee of a professional organization. I serve as the audit committee chairman of another non-profit organization. Teach in leading universities. I conduct talks and seminars. Then, I concurrently manage two departments in the company that I work for. I also usually accompany my daughter during her soccer training and tournaments. Not to mention the household chores.

And many more…

Basing on these, you would probably also tell me that I need to use a planner.

Let me clarify this. I do plan!

Except that I have my unconventional way of doing it. How do you think I am able to juggle all of these without planning. Yes, again (to put emphasis), I plan my activities. All the time. I just don’t follow the usual ways of doing it. And it works for me.

Early in the morning, I would create my daily checklist in a piece of post-it. I would took note of those items I need to prioritize and, monitor my progress through out the day.

Now you will argue that it is just for daily activities. True!

For my medium-term activities, I usually use a piece of scratch paper.

Scribble on it my activities for the week or even for the month (or the next). Then I would cramp this piece of paper inside my bag, which I check regularly.

I know that a lot of you would say that a planner is more organized. That I would agree.

However, it is too formal for me that using a planner suffocates me, so I am not comfortable using it. It always feels that my brain is being restricted by the rows and columns in that booklet. I wanted to write more information but most of the time the allotted space seems to be not always enough. Then the lines bother me so much that I prefer a blank piece of scratch paper instead.

This had been my problem ever since I encountered a planner more than a decade ago.

So I made my decision then. I just need the clean portion of a scratch paper to organize my thoughts and activities. And every time I need to update my activities, I just pull out another piece of scratch paper and re-write things.

That’s it!

This works for me really well that I never miss on any of my activities.

Friends, we most of the time would impose our own formula to other people.

We saw something… Tried it…  And noted that it worked for us…

So we would push others to do the same that it sometimes appears as imposing. I have nothing against it. That is actually a sort-of “kind” thing to do — sharing your techniques. Just don’t overdo it. And remember that not using a planner is not the same as “NOT PLANNING”.

One thing, however, that you need to realize is that we have our uniqueness. That a lot of times extends to the things that we do and how we do it. There is no such thing as one-shoe-fits-all strategy. We just have to learn to respect what works for other people, instead of imposing at them. What is important is that you get the same results.

Another thing that I would like you all to not miss is the need to plan. Planning is a major enabler that would help us know how to get to where we want to be. So you should really plan, and be intentional with your activities to make sure that your plans pan out. Just make sure though that you’re comfortable with the way you’re doing it — using a planner or what-have-you. Because if you are unhappy with a certain technique, then it might not work.

Again (to emphasize), you plan.

It can help reduce the distance between where you are now and where you want to be.

 

PS: Image is taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/11/03/10/47/notes-514998_960_720.jpg

 

 

 

 


Dragon Boat Is Teaching Me “Humility” — A Key To Learning

“Reach forward!”

“Twist your body!”

“Look straight ahead!”

I am a newbie in our dragon boat team.

My movements during dragon boat training (a lot of times) appeared lousy and improper. Especially that I took a hiatus of almost one year. And during those times, the captains and the more senior members would always call my attention.

<Not just me though. They do it to all who needs correcting.>

I remember that in my first few training sessions where I get corrected, I sometimes felt slighted. It was because I am not used to people telling me what to do. I am the one who usually does that. Mind you, I am good at bossing people around. Especially that in calling your attention, they will not whisper at you. They will shout at the top of their lungs for the the whole team and the other teams to hear.

My mind used to harbor arrogant thoughts like…

I live in a resort-type condo!

I hold good positions at reputable organizations!

I earn more!

Sometimes, I would answer back and made excuses. As if that changed anything.

Then, every time these thoughts popped in my mind, I felt that my performance would degrade. I would not listen anymore. I would insist on doing things the way I wanted it done. And every time this happened, I know that the rest of the team would feel the impact. It would somehow degrade the performance of the team.

One important learning that our team captains would always instill in our mind during training is that dragon boat is a synchronization sports. We need our actions to be in sync for us to make our goals. When a command is asking for “Power Longs”, then you need to do it — at the right pace, at the right time. You need to follow the command to the very letter, otherwise you would be dragging your whole team’s performance with you.

This was what I would remind myself when those thoughts chanced upon my mind. I would always tell myself that I was new in this area. If I want to do good in this sports, then I need to listen to those people who were guiding me — the captains, the signal and the coach. They always and only have the best interest of the team in their minds. Besides with the number of years in the team, they have earned all the rights to guide a newbie like me. Also I keep on telling myself that if I refuse to listen, then I would not realize the benefits of this sport.

So now every time the captain would call my attention, I would just say, “Yes Captain!”. Also during breaks I would sometimes demonstrate and asked those who corrected me to check if I was doing it properly (if the instructions were unclear to me).

Now, I hear less corrections from my teammates. And every time I hear one, I would always do a quick check to what I was doing. Then I would distract my mind and would stretch myself just to get synchronized with the rest of the team. I would always remind myself that I am not the only one who is getting tired so I need to do what I could to sync back. 🙂

PDRT Fireblades

Photo: Owned by Atty. Kap George Ventayen

This is what I would like you to take from reading this.

We need to realize that in all that we do in life, a lot of these involve team work. It could be a project at a non-profit organization or your regular work. Always remember that you need to synchronize yourself with the rest for all of you to realize your objectives. You can’t be in a parade marching to a different beat. You won’t only be endangering yourself (in the process) but also those who depend on you.

Also, a lot of us believe that we are good at something. In venturing, however, to a new project — say stock investing — you need to remember that for you to do well, you need to reach out to those who are excelling in these areas. Learn from them. Study how they do things. Ask them to check on you.

Remember that for you to learn in a new field, you need to empty your cup. Fill your cup after with the knowledge that you need. Listen to those who came ahead of you, and strongly consider their suggestions.

Another thing, do not be too sensitive. Learn to appreciate suggestions for improvements. The only way for you to grow is to get feedback. <One of my important learning as a toastmaster.>

Let me simplify my message.

What I need you to appreciate is “humility”. You need to humble yourself and learn to listen. Be open to suggestions, and strongly consider these.

Believe me.

Humility and your ability to listen will take you far to reaching your desired destination.

 

 

PS: Featured image was taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/04/17/17/45/dragon-boat-326661_960_720.jpg.

 

 

 


Learn And Gain From Your Mistakes

“Wow! You are gaining traction as a business consultant! How did that happen?”

“I just learned how not to run a business…”

 

I have this friend, who I will not name in this article. But I so admire this person.

He underwent to many challenges in his life — particularly entrepreneurship-related. He ventured into so many businesses. However, most of these ventures failed. At the outset, his undertakings would look promising but then it would suddenly collapse. Then, I would see him moving to another business, dipping his hand in another project. The cycle, however, would turn its wheel. The new undertaking would fail (from what I knew).

However, one time I saw him in a small gathering. He was speaking in front of  entrepreneurial hopefuls. He was sharing advices on several areas — like bookkeeping, minimizing fraud, motivating employees — to name a few. And, I find his words sound.

A lot of people in that room were actually listening intently on what he was saying. I also saw many in the audience approaching him, and handing him their contact information after his talk. They were insinuating the need for possible part for him in their own projects.

It was really a good sight seeing him surrounded by those people asking for his assistance.

After everyone was gone, I approached and exchanged pleasantries with him. Then, I threw the one thought that was bothering me the whole time during that event. I asked him how he transformed into how he was right now. Knowing what I knew about his failed ventures, he simply smiled at me and answered:

“I just learned how not to run a business… And, I am simply sharing what not to do based on my realizations from those failures and mistakes that I went through.”

Wow! He made a consultancy practice out of the lessons he got from his failed ventures.

I had a sort of euphoria listening to him because he was a perfect example of a “person learning from his failures”. A business tenet that we keep on hearing that it sometimes crosses the line towards becoming a cliche.

I believe that his lead is what we all have to follow.

We all have our dreamed destination — winning big in the stock market, becoming a champion public speaker or a well-loved public servant. The journey, however, in realizing this is never easy. A lot of challenges would for certain haunt you. And a lot of times these will tax you financially, physically or even emotionally.

Do not let those mistakes stop you. Pick up the pieces and do what you could from the pieces that you were able to gather. Yes you fail but then think that you now know what not to do next time. Use these realizations to improve your self or to revisit your strategies.

I am sure that with continuous pushing, improving and evolving (and a dash of prayer), you will find your rightful place.

Believe me. We’ve seen this happening in other people. Trust that it will also happen to you.

 

PS: Featured image was taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/11/14/03/38/achieve-1822503_960_720.jpg.


Success Takes Time And Effort

“Story… Message… Gain…”

“Thank you for sharing your beautiful voice. You do sound like a deejay.”

 

I was asked by our club president to represent my club (again) for the upcoming impromptu speech contest. Without batting an eyelash, I said “Yes”.

It brought to mind how I started in toastmasters.

I was told to be reasonably good in prepared speeches where my evaluators would usually highlight my good voice projection and body language during evaluations. However, one thing that they cannot sugar-coat is my performance during table topics or impromptu speaking. I absolutely abhorred table topics because I was not good in organizing my thoughts instantly. I am an IT auditor, and I am trained to carefully plan and revise my work (several times) until I’ve met standards.

The first time I was called to participate is still vivid in my mind. “Mothers know best” was the topic given to me.

I can still recall how I responded. I just stood in front and stared at the far end of the room. Then, I said nothing, except “uhs” and “uhms” repeatedly — as if I was meditating. Then, the general evaluator, who probably saw the need to abet me, stood up. She gave me a reassuring smile and said:

“Story… Message… Gain…” <with pregnant pauses in between>

She said nothing in her evaluation except extending her admiration in my “beautiful” voice. <Her words, not mine.>

That experience made me return in the succeeding club meetings. However, it scared the hell out of me every time the meeting hosts would approach the table topics portion.

I would do what I could just to avoid participating in table topics — going to the toilet, staring at my shoes or looking up at the ceiling. Honestly, none of those worked. I find it weird and felt that the table topic masters were really intent on calling me most of the time. And, every time I would always stutter and talked incoherently.

One time, I approached one member who was really good in impromptu speaking. I wanted to know his secret because I wanted to overcome this awkward feeling. Besides, I have this image (in my mind) of myself winning in the district — speaking eloquently while mesmerizing my audience.

He shared that he started like me. He also shared how he overcame his issues. These included practicing everyday and by not opening your mouth without knowing  how you want to end your piece. So taking a cue from his lead, I also practiced day-in and day-out. I tried my best to put his tips into practice. I would randomly select topics from a book of quotations and practiced repeatedly.

Then, several months after that fate played its tricks on me. The club president asked me to represent the club. After a lot of prodding, I said “Yes”.

I was really hesitant in joining, and not sure why I agreed to do it. Nonetheless, I was fortunate to win as the Area Champion. I did not win in the division but bagging the area championship was more than enough. I was so happy with that milestone because for me that was already unexpected. Imagine none of my club members went to witness my performance (except one who came in late). So when I announced to them that I bagged the area championship, they were all smiles.

Delivering my piece during the Area contest for Table Topics

Well, it was hard work paying off. I did practice — a lot. And my housemates can vouch how they would hear me practicing inside the confines of our bathroom.

Once again, I was invited to represent the club. And without hesitation this time, I agreed.

I am not sure what will happen in the coming contest. But honestly I don’t really care. All I want now is to just enjoy the experience. Anyway, it is tiring  to be scared of the things that are unknown. Additionally, I still practice a lot because I know I am still really far from that desired image of myself.

So come contest day, I will do what I could and just have fun in the process. And whatever happens, I will still practice until I become who I picture myself in my mind.

And, that’s what I would like to leave to all you.

We all want to succeed. Bear in mind, however, that great things take time and effort.

You want to reach your desired destination, then do not stop until you get the result you desire. Push yourself. Let yourself evolve. Aim to never stop improving.

The most important is … be intentional with your actions. Every step that you are taking and planning to take should be aligned to where you want to be.

At the end of everything, I know that you will realize your aspirations.

Believe me.

 

PS: Featured Image is taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/04/03/08/30/silhouette-1304141_960_720.jpg


Conquering Your Mountains — A Realization in Mt. Ulap Trek

 

“Are we there yet? How many more minutes?”

 

Last December 29 to 30, I conquered Mt. Ulap with my daughter and some friends. It was an around 4-hour trek to the camp site, and around 3-hour trek down to where our transport back to Manila was waiting.

It was an experience that I would treasure.

…breath-taking view of the sea of clouds that surrounded the summit of the mountain

…the laughter that was shared among the trekkers

…it was my first camping experience with my daughter

First photo taken during the trek

As a whole all went fine, except for one thing.


The tent that was claimed to be good for six persons (which I bought online for 10 USD) was not able to put up with the wind and rain at the campsite. We had to squeeze ourselves at 4 o’clock in the morning in the other smaller tent that could accommodate only two people — all six of us — until the rain stopped at 6 o’clock. I was told that I bought a “beach” tent, and not an “all-weather” tent.

How would I know? It was my first time to go camping, and I really thought that I got a bargain buying that for just 10 USD — compared to the 200 USD-tent available in the camping supplies store. And the online seller told me that it was an “all-weather” tent.

I know what runs in your minds now — “gullible alert”.

But that petty glitch did not shroud the fun in the experience.

While chatting with other trekkers at the campsite

Jump shot at the summit with the group

After setting the tent

On our way down the mountain, a mind-struggle came to me. It was actually an easy and a shorter climb down from the camping site. However, in my mind, it felt harder than the climb up to the camping site. Especially after the guide said that we will reach our destination within 30 minutes. I would always ask the guide if we were almost there. I would always ask about the time, as if I had an emergency meeting waiting for me back home. Also I kept on glancing at my watch, as if it that would hasten our progress.

That last 30 minutes was the hardest part of the trek down. Every minute felt like dragging. I was straining my head all the time trying to look for indications of paved road. I kept on asking the guide about the time until our destination. And when the time stretched to beyond 30 minutes, I felt that my feet would like to stop moving and do nothing. I was tempted to say, “Let’s just stop” (which made no sense at all). I even got slipped because I was distracted.

Then, when we reached the place where the transport service was waiting for us, my issues went away. As if my mind-struggle faded in oblivion.


Friends this is what I want you to take from these words.

We all have our aspirations — becoming a well-loved CEO, a famous public servant, getting ourselves published internationally or what-have-you. One thing that we all know is that the journey to get to our destination is never easy.

True…

Challenges will beset us — especially in our minds. We are all aware of this.

One thing though that you also need to realize is that the challenges will intensify several times harder as you come nearer your destination. Also the temptation to quit will (for certain) hound you as you push forward.

As you take steps nearer, it is important that you brazen yourselves against the urge to rest, stop or quit. Just push yourselves to keep moving forward come what may. Resist and never indulge to the temptations to veer away from your destinations. Just keep on pressing forward.

Believe me that when you get there, everything will be worth all that you’ve been through.

Jump shot at the summit

Just a word of caution…

Do this without forgetting the other important aspects of your lives — like relationships and family.

Taken near the summit with the camp site as background

Enjoying strawberry-flavored Taho at Burnham Park while waiting for our transport back to Manila

PS: Featured image was taken from “https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2013/07/13/01/07/rock-climbing-155134_960_720.png”.


Are You Distracted?

“What the heck happened to your nose?”

I do boxing sessions three times a week — alternately with dragon boat training. And during these sessions, I easily get distracted — especially during the first few months. A lot of these distractions though are quite petty. Here are some of these.

… the sweat that would trickle from my brow down to my nose

… seconds countdown to ending boxing rounds

… itching in parts of my body that suddenly appears out of nowhere

Funny thing though was that all of these distractions would suddenly disappear during breaks or as the seconds reach zero.


My dilemma with these distractions was that I couldn’t focus on what I was doing. I also realized that I was merely intent on doing the exercises for the sake of doing these — at the detriment of quality. All of these because I was paying attention to these distractions.

The first time I tried boxing (30 lbs heavier)

Often I would rub my nose with the boxing gloves every time I felt sweat trickling down my nose. This happened a lot of times that my nose would often rival that of Rudolph (the reindeer). Sometimes I would hasten my count of routines. It actually felt like the count was based on nanoseconds and not based on seconds. Or, I would always glance at the boxing timer counting the seconds down to zero. During these times, the trainer would always call my attention because there was no power from my punches.


In short, I was merely doing the sessions (for the sake of doing these). I was not getting the benefits that I should from these training sessions. So upon realizing this, I pushed myself to focus — not on the distractions but on the proper execution of the routines.

After four months

I realized that when you pushed your brain to ignore the distractions, you tend to enjoy what you are doing. And when you enjoy a lot, you tend to also ignore the time until you hear the bell. Also when you enjoy what you are doing, challenges that you encounter along the way do not matter at all. Your mind is intent on doing one thing — for you to reach your destination.

Fast tracking time, I now weigh almost 30 pounds lighter after more than four months. Of course, I also do dragon boat and run everyday. However, I believe that my discipline to focus on what I should be doing (based on my realization on boxing) helped a lot for me to reach this milestone. This realization is also applicable to what I do in dragon boat and in running, and I believe applicable to what we do in life (in general).


Friends, this is what I would like all of you to take from this.

We all have our dreams — be published, run our own business or become a champion speaker. We, however, fail to progress towards these aspirations because we pay too much attention on the distractions around us. Some of these distractions are just petty while many are most likely to offer more challenges.

It is important that you do not let your self be distracted. The key word that we need to help us reduce that gap between where we are and where we want to be is DISCIPLINE.

Discipline your mind to just do what you should be doing — be it something big or small. Focus on the task at hand, and in no time you will reach what you aspire in your life.

Believe me.

 

PS: Featured image was taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/04/15/17/26/box-1331470_960_720.jpg


The Best Teachers Teach From The Heart

“You need to make sure that when your twenty apples from one basket are transferred to another basket, these are still twenty apples. Not ten oranges and ten apples when these reach the destination.”

One night, I was fast-tracking my lessons. I needed to make sure that I cover all in my syllabus before the departmental quiz of a theory-based, technical subject. So I was trying to squeeze what I could given the time allotted for me to teach the subject. The problem was I needed to finish the subject within two weeks because it was “modular”. Thus, I was torn between making the technical topics palatable to my non-technical students and hastening the discussion to cover all.

I noticed, however, one person who probably was having difficulty coping with the discussion while most of the group seemed to follow reasonably. I was talking about “system interfaces” and the controls that needed to be considered to ensure its effectiveness. I wanted really to ignore her and continue moving to another topic. But then it dawned on me that, above all, I was her teacher.

I suddenly recalled the time when my grandmother, who was a teacher, patiently explained to me lessons that I had difficulty understanding. She would use different strategies just for me to get what she was teaching. She would not give up on me until I get what she was explaining.

And I took a cue from that memory way back when I was really young…

I smiled at my student, and delivered that line.

It took me different strategies to drive my point but I did not leave her without getting the point that I was discussing. I started with the technical stuffs, then I related this to real-world examples that I encountered in my practice. When the technical explanations did not suffice, I moved to what I usually call as the “fruits” lessons. I even played around with different scenarios:

… Some apples getting lost by mistake while in transit

… Some apples intentionally taken by malicious individuals

… Some apples erroneously/intentionally changed to oranges while in transit

When she finally smiled to me, and I was confident that she got my point, that was when I moved to another topic.

I spent several minutes in that discussion which I thought I could use to cover more important topics. I actually ended my class a bit late — by fifteen minutes. However, as a teacher, I cannot leave a single student behind. It was a promise I made when I decided to take this path. I was not about to break that promise just because I was rushing to cover all in my syllabus.

At the end of the lessons, I saw her trailing behind her classmates. Then she suddenly gave me a smile filled with gratitude. I thought then that teaching was a really fulfilling career.

I guess, from the end of a student, her showing to me that she had difficulty coping was a good strategy to get my attention. It made me focused on her. She could have pretended like, I suspect, some were doing — nodding excitedly as if they were able to get what I was saying. But her style paid off. She did well in the class. She got a “Very Good” in her final grade, which was way better than what many of my students in that class got as final grades.


Friends, there are two things I need you to take from this entry.

First, as a student, staff or anyone (regardless of position or age), do not deny admitting having difficulty on something. People around you won’t be able to extend help unless you sound-off. Ignore what other people would say. Let them feast on your issues. What is important is that you would able to resolve and put your issues behind.

Finally, as a teacher or anyone who holds more knowledge and experience than the people around us, it is incumbent that we make sure to reasonably share what we know. It could be really challenging, and honestly impossible, to make everyone understand what you are saying. However, as a famous saying implies just “teach from your heart”, and take as many with you in your journey as a “teacher”.

Remember that the fulfillment that we all get from sharing what we know is never about the money that comes with it. It is always at the idea that we have added value to another person’s life thru the knowledge that we share.

PS1: “Share What You Know” is a recommended read to all.

PS2: Featured image was taken from “https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2016/10/30/05/43/aec-1782427_960_720.jpg”.


I Thought I Don’t Need Rest and Sleep

“You are not a superhuman! You need to limit your activities with what your body can take! Even if you will use the most powerful vitamins on earth, it won’t sustain your body without rest and sleep. You need to reduce your activities.”

I got a chiding from my office colleague. He saw me coming in really tired, and he heard me whining how my body has weakened from lack of rest and sleep. I shared to him that I couldn’t even punch properly during my boxing training sessions. Also, my brain seemed to buffer while paddling during dragon boat trainings that the signals usually find me out-of-synch. And a nerve in my head throbs a lot…

He knew that I busy myself with so many activities in a week.

Not to mention that in the past month I accepted a teaching load at De La Salle University (DLSU)-Taft — everyday except Sunday.


He asked if I still get reasonable number of hours of sleep. I said “yes”.  Then I mentioned, between “two-and-a-half to three hours a day”. And in response, he delivered that line to me.

I reflected on his advice. Yes, I drown myself in so many activities thinking that it can hasten the realization of my plans.

… dragon boat training two to three times a week,

… boxing three times a week,

… running for thirty minutes every day,

… teaching daily at DLSU-Taft (three hours every night and five hours on Saturdays),

… attending toastmasters meetings on Saturday afternoons,

… going to voice lesson on Sundays, and

… publishing two to three blog entries a week.

Also, during my free time, I use this as opportunity to attend or conduct seminars.

All these that I do is on top of me overseeing two sections in the company that I work for. And the most important among all is I find time to bond with my daughter — who loves to share about her crush and her daily activities.


With all of these, I usually just manage to get between two-and-a-half to three hours of sleep a day. Even on holidays and weekends, I don’t get to rest as I usually use that to do chores.

That line from my colleague struck me. It made me realized one thing. I can only stretch myself up to certain extent. He then strongly suggested to me to prioritize my activities, and just limit these within what is healthy for my body. I believe that he was right.

So I made a decision to temporarily stop doing boxing, going to the gym and pause my voice lessons while I am teaching at DLSU. Also, I have decided not to accept daily teaching load anymore, and grabbed the opportunity to teach again at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD) by January 2017. At least at UPD I just need to teach once a week, which I think is more manageable.

Now, I feel way better after reducing my activities. I plan to return to boxing and voice lessons after the end of my contract with DLSU. However, I am now more conscious of the effect of my activities to my body.


Friends, this is what I need you to take from this entry.

There is a huge gap between where we are now and where we want to be. And, in the process of reducing that gap, we most of the time fail to see that our bodies and minds have limits. We flood ourselves with so many activities we thought to be productive and necessary. However, most of the time we ignore the need to rest and sleep, and dismiss these as not important.

We need to realize though that we should not sacrifice our health in the guise of hastening the process of reducing our dream gap.

If at times, you feel that the things you do are overpowering you, learn to prioritize and let go some of your activities. Realizing your dreams is really good. However, you need to reach your destination while you are still in-one-piece. Don’t be afraid to rest and sleep, and enjoy the beautiful things around you. To rest and sleep will not delay your journey. It will, however, make you healthier and more prepared to seize opportunities in pursuing your journey.

One final thought…

Learn to listen to the people around you. Sometimes the words we need to hear are just from a person who is a few steps from us. You just have to listen.

PS1: Visit also the “ABOUT” section of this blog to know more about me.

PS2: “Featured Image” is taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2015/06/16/23/40/hero-811875_960_720.jpg


I Was Afraid of Reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

“Jake I am inviting you to take a look at this opportunity because this will make us really rich.”

More than 10 years ago, I first encountered the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” from a schoolmate. It was when he was sharing to me a network marketing opportunity. I was really looking up to this guy (even until now). So when he invited me to check something with a promise that it will improve my plight, I eagerly accepted his invitation.

To be more honest…

I said yes to his invite because my daughter was barely a year then. I was a young father who was yet to finish his studies. And, I was earning nothing.

Let’s just say that where I was made me an open-minded person.

From what I can recall in one of our conversations while he was making his presentation, he left his regular day-job in Makati. This was after reading the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” of Robert Kiyosaki. That, however, was not something that I would like to hear at that time. Thus, I made a decision then to veer away from “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” (not from him).

In the years that have passed, I’ve encountered so many people who also left their regular 8-to-5 jobs. And guess what, it was because they got also touched by the words written by Kiyosaki. Also, I noticed that a lot of them ventured into businesses where a lot of them failed. So it reinforced my resolve to veer away from “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

This was really ironic because I am a book person. I read almost anything during my spare time. But my decision was really firm. No Kiyosaki books for me since then.

I suddenly got inflicted with a sort-of Kiyosaki “allergy”.

Thus, every time someone would mention his name, I would automatically close my mind. And even at home, Wanna attempted several times before to let me read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. It was a good read according to her. It will change my mindset, she said.

I tried flicking through the book. However, my bias against it was so strong that I always find excuses for me not to read it. I am fond of reading self-help books but I told myself that Kiyosaki books is not for me.

Reflecting on it now, I would say that it was never about Kiyosaki or his words that I was afraid of. But it was actually the realizations that I would get and my potential actions from reading his words that I was really wary about. I was not sure how I would react. And that was what scared me.

I told myself that I was doing fine where I was.

Why?

I was earning relatively higher compared to my peers. Regularly, I conduct seminars. Appointed and elected to reputable positions in several organizations. I teach part-time at leading universities. I was even a globe-trotter. Also, I couldn’t help comparing myself to those I know who have been doing network marketing for several years. I would tell myself that what some of them are getting from what they do is relatively lower from what I earn. Thus, my resolve to not read Kiyosaki.

But let me put it bluntly:

I was just really afraid to shake my comfort zone.

One thing though that I find weird is that every Christmas party, his books would find its way to my hands. I guess it was a message from the universe. So, against my bias, I finally read one of his books late this year — “Rich Dad’s Guide To Investing”.

I realized one thing. He teaches people on hard-wiring your brain about money and how this can positively enable your life. And many of the things he is teaching is somehow familiar to me — especially that I was raised by an entrepreneur who also loves to read self-help books. But what really excites me was the new knowledge I got from reading his book on investing.

I then became warm in finally reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. I told myself to look for a copy.  And what a twist of fate, early this month, the President and CEO gave me that very book. I’ve been running away from it for more than 10 years and here it is beckoning me again to open up to what’s written inside.

The book I got from the CEO during our company Christmas Party

Seems like I could never run away from it.

Friends, a lot of us has our bias against certain ideas. And most of the time, we just simply shot the message (even the messenger) down just for us not to be bothered by it. We need to consider though that these are simply ideas and can only provide us with recommendations. At the end of the day, we are the ones who will control what happens in our lives.

Not the book!

Not your friends!

Not your partners (ex or not)!

You just have to open up to all possibilities and decide things for your self.

So now, I am opening myself to the possibilities and realizations that I could get from reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.

I am positive that this will do me good.

=)

PS: Here are some of Kiyosaki’s books. Click the images and get one for yourself.