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

Your Mountain Is Different From Mine

“This is the hardest climb among all that I have conquered.”

“No, this is easier than the last one.”

Last January 21, I climbed Mt. Daraitan with my daughter, sister and office colleagues. I wasn’t expecting the challenges I encountered along the trail. It was after all not my first. I was thinking that because some trail tour providers ranked the difficulty slightly lower than those that I have conquered previously, I would find this easier. However, I found this more challenging than my other climbs.

I was discussing the difficulty of the climb with my daughter. And since she was with me in all my climbs (except one) I thought that she would agree with my observations. But she did not. She found the trek to Mt. Nagsasa much harder than that of Mt. Daraitan.

I insisted that the trail which was peppered with sharp rocks made the Mt. Daraitan climb really hard. I even gave a morbid example of one of us tripping along the trail where our face might accidentally hit a sharp rock. She insisted though that it was not that hard. She recollected to me the hot, long and sandy trail of Mt. Nagsasa. In that trek, the absence of trees that could offer its foliage as natural shed aggravated (for her) the challenges — the heat and scalding sand under your feet.

Taken at the summit with the whole group

By the way, I find that a bit weird since she is a soccer player who spent so many hours in all her soccer practice sessions and tournaments since she was 4-years old. I assumed that she is used to be under the heat of the sun.

It dawned on me then that we have different take on how things are. Or, precisely, how we defined our challenges. Mine was the dangers brought by sharp rocks along the trail. She, nonetheless, focused on the inconvenience brought by the long, hot trek. That made me better understand why, before the climb, she kept asking if the trail along Mt. Daraitan is similar to that of Mt. Nagsasa.

And relating this to how we lead our lives, it is actually comparable to how we see our own challenges (and life, in general).

We most of the time had conflicts with the people around us.

The conflicts arise because we often times fail to realize that we all have different take on things. How you see what comes along your way will most likely be different using the eyes of another person right beside you. This is brought by our differing “social context”.

Our “social context” varies because of certain factors, which includes upbringing, experience and education — to name few of these. And these differences most of the time lead to conflicts and (major) disagreements.

One of the highlights of our trek — the Tinapak River

Friends, this is what I would hope you take from this article.

I believe that in our society the better alternative is to be mindful of these differences. We should always aim to never compare ourselves with others. We have to accept who we are, and we just have to accept who everybody else is.

One more thing…

Despite the differences on how we see our mountains, we need to recognize that every mountain top is within your reach. You just have to keep on climbing despite the difficulties you encounter along the trail.

Don’t stop. Keep on pressing forward.

The author at the summit

PS: Featured image was taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/01/14/23/51/trekking-245311_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.


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

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

Lessons from Cris Gardner’s Greatest Influencer

I will admit. I am a mother’s boy.

My mom is my greatest influence in my life.

All that I am now and all that I have is largely due to her influence. From the time that I wake up down to my habit before going to bed, all of these are largely influenced by my mom. I remember when we were young, she would pepper us with lessons she got from reading “Lakbay-Diwa” or the Bible during meal times. And as if meal time lessons were not enough, she would enthralled us with her family’s stories — how my grandmother bounced back despite all that hounded her. To cap our days, she would always encourage us to pray.

Listening to Cris Gardner in the NACPH 2016 reminded me of my mom’s influence. It appeared that Gardner’s greatest influence as he shared during his talk was his mom. Several times in an hour, he spoke to us about what his mom said that he would never forget. And how these fueled his passion to go beyond his challenges.

Let me cite some of the lessons he mentioned (based on what I have captured on my notes). I’m sure that we can also learn from these.

  • You can be anything you wanted.
  • There is no limit to what you can do.
  • Even if you are in a dire situation that foresees a dark future for you, you can always choose to go the other way.

These are just some of the few lessons I got from what Gardner mentioned. And, I believe, these were part of the core lessons that made him to where he is now.

Gardner also spoke about the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”. This was based on his life journey. He said that the movie was never about money. It was according to him a love story — to give his boy a father he (himself) never had. He shared though that, yes, a big chunk of the movie was based on what happened in his life. However, his actual story is far more difficult than what was documented in the movie.

He cited several examples. Let me share one.

One that I can recall was that in the movie his son was 5 years old. In reality though his son was around 2 years old at the time. He said that it was harder because you leave a baby to be cared for by someone you didn’t know. He shared that he would almost daily walk away to his baby’s screams almost every day just to provide for their needs. And all you can assure to the screaming baby was you will be “back for him”. He, nonetheless, was screaming and crying inside. But he shared that kept on pursuing all. For him having to deny your child anything is much painful.

Gardner shared that he did what he could to provide to his child what he was not able to get in his lifetime. The problem was, some people may say, that he did not have any university degrees such as MBAs. But Gardner said that he has PSD. He was “Poor, Smart and who has a Desire to become wealthy”. That, according to him, was the reason why he acquired a different MBA — Many Bank Accounts.

He assured himself that he was going to be world-class in what he will do in his life. And, we all know how his actions fueled by his desire made him today.

As we usually say, the rest is history.

One of the key lesson that I would never forget from Gardner that according to him helped realize where he is now is this:

“Commit to PLAN A. You need to get it NOT PLAN B. PLAN B sucks!!!”

He said that when something happens, you do what you got to do. Never look for fallback but always aim to get what you plan to get. Again, Plan B sucks!

He capped his talk by saying that at his age he is still learning. Also, he likened himself to Michelangelo that at age 87, the world great claimed that he was still a student and learning. He said he feels that way all the time.

Before he ended his talk he went back again to honor his mother. He attributed his milestones to the foundation instilled by his mother. And, I think that is what we should all do.

Like Gardener, we should never forget the lessons we got from our good “influencer” or mentors. Let all the lessons fuel our actions.

This will help us in our journey.


Note: NATIONAL ACHIEVERS CONGRESS PHILIPPINES (NACPH) 2016, “The Pursuit of Wealth and Happyness” with Mr. Chris Gardner as Keynote Speaker was held at SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia. The event was brought to us by Laurus Enterprises (LAURUS) and Success Resources Pte. Ltd. (SRPL) with Light Network Channel 33 as the official media partner.


PS: I would highly encourage you to read his memoir “The Pursuit of Happyness


Kevin Green Shared That We Need To Be Mentored and Roll-up Your Sleeves

“Yes Coach! Yes Coach! Yes Coach!”

One great lesson I got from joining network marketing is appreciating the value of being mentored and emulating successful people in everything that they do. In network marketing (any business or in any major undertakings), you cannot succeed by simply doing things on your own. I am not saying that you blindly copy all and you don’t improvise. You can adjust if you feel that things can be improved. What I am saying, however, is that you need to look for a successful person in that field, and let that person mentor you in your journey.

Learn from those who made it big. Understand their tricks. Practice what they do.


“Be Mentored” and getting our hands dirty are my key take-aways from the talk of Kevin Green — UK’s Secret Millionaire, Business Coach and Property Investor. He was one of the speakers at the recently concluded National Achievers Congress Philippines (NACPH) 2016, “The Pursuit of Wealth and Happyness”. These are the same learning I got from joining network marketing.

He said that it is important for us to realize that for us to succeed, we need to get our hands dirty. That is why he is not a fan of pursuing academic excellence. (Based on my quick research, he is dyslexic — some people see this as a crutch.) Academic milestones for Green doesn’t make huge impact in whatever you are doing. He emphasized that value-adding education comes from “real world” experience. Thus, he preached that for us to really learn, we need to reach out to people who actually made it.

He proudly shared to the audience that he was mentored by two business greats — Robert Kiyosaki and Sir Richard Branson. And his learning taken from his mentors helped him became what he is today. (Based on my quick research, he was homeless in 1988.)

He shared his learning from Branson. These were:

“Never ever waste a second of your time.”

“Always become the observer in business — be the manager, not the front-liner.”

Green, in his talk, also shared his different views re “leveraging on debts” with Kiyosaki. His is zero-property debt by year 10. He explained why they have different take on this.

One thing that I got from his talk about his mentors was that we need to learn from those who succeeded in whatever they are pursuing. However, we can always customize our success based on our circumstances and our own gifts. Emulating successful people is not comparable to a technical manual where we need to take steps in a certain measure and order.

Note: This message is quite similar to the message of the blog entry “Customize Your Success” (http://jakeduran.com/hone-and-leverage-on-you-gifts/).

Further, this believer of “real world education” emphasized the importance of us taking life challenges head-on. He said that having no resource should not serve as a crutch for you not to succeed in life. Also he said that pain is a normal part of moving up. To rub his point, he shared that if the pain of where he is IS NOT GREAT ENOUGH, then it will not motivate him to change. He said that we need to aim to be the best that we can be despite all challenges hounding us. And, if we can give more than our 100%, do so because that is where we’ll get the results.

Another point that I got from Green is the value of institutionalizing a system. He said that systems led to his success. Without a real system that runs things consistently (complementing your people and technology), then success may not be guaranteed and sustainable. Using systems helped him became a property demigod that he is now.

By the way, I’d like to share the gist of his “Property Rich Rule”. (1) We trade three properties for profit (using debts), and use these profits to buy one property as a cash-flowing investments. (2) Then, we pay off all the property debts by year 10. If you want to know more about his property rich rules, I suggest you get his book The Rich Rules: Steps to Wealth & Happiness“.

Another important take-away from Green was the power of self-belief. He said that we have to whet our appetite every day to go after our dreams. We can always “stay hungry”, according to him, by shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” everyday after waking up. This is explained well in this blog entry  “Stay Hungry — http://jakeduran.com/be-hungry-and-stay-hungry/“.

As a recap, there were so many value-adding insights from listening to Green (which I really can’t completely place here). These included being mentored, real-world education, using systems, his property rich rule and the power of self-belief. One thing though that I would never forget in his entire talk is the value of having fun.

He said that in whatever we do, have a huge fun in the process.

Note: NATIONAL ACHIEVERS CONGRESS PHILIPPINES (NACPH) 2016, “The Pursuit of Wealth and Happyness” with Mr. Chris Gardner as Keynote Speaker was held at SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia. The event was brought to us by Laurus Enterprises (LAURUS) and Success Resources Pte. Ltd. (SRPL) with Light Network Channel 33 as the official media partner.



PS1: If you want to be mentored by this real property demigod, I would strongly recommend that you get his “The Rich Rules: Steps to Wealth & Happiness“. 

Do you wish to become Wealthier and Happier? If the answer’s Yes, then this is definitely the book for you Whether you are thinking of starting or improving a business, Kevin’s life experiences in “The Rich Rules” provides you with the essential strategies to achieving success. Kevin Green, once homeless, is now a multi-millionaire businessman who cares passionately about giving back to the community. Kevin is an Ambassador for Make-A-Wish UK, a charity that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. By purchasing this book, you’ll be helping grant wishes to seriously ill children – 10% of the purchase price will be donated to the charity. This will be a minimum of 99p per sale of each book

PS2: And for our overworked managers, try this program.
The Overworked Manager’s Rescue Package

I’m sure it can help you see and do what’s right in the things you do at work or in your businesses.

The Moon Is Never Noticed When The Sun Is Around

“Do not surround yourself with people who are more brilliant than you. If you want to be recognized and shine, join a group where you are actually better than the rest.

Look at the Moon! Do you think people would notice if it appears beside the Sun? That is why it usually appears with the stars at night.”

I remember those words well. It was shared to me (way back in college) by my best friend who was taking Social Science (then) at UP Los Baños. I was visiting him for the weekend, and he repeatedly mentioned these words. Honestly, I thought that his insight made sense.

Note: I always value his insights since we were young. We often fight but I always listen and consider his thoughts (most of the time).

However, this is one of those times when I did not listen to him.

I thought that his advice was quite different from what my mom taught me. My mom would always say to:

“Surround yourself with people who are far better than you. Join groups of brilliant people, who are better than you in a lot of things. And, observe how they do things.

Also, never look for professors who give out grades like he is teaching a room-full of geniuses and flooding his student records with 1.0. Look for those who people say to be terror and who bombards students with challenging requirements.

This is the only way for you to learn and grow.”

In college, I was lucky not to exert effort in looking for people who are far better than I was. All of my classmates were really brilliant. Of course, belonging to BS Business Administration and Accountancy (BAA) student population at UP Diliman gave me the opportunity of witnessing these brilliant people exchanged ideas. And sometimes they will pounce at you if they feel that you are an easy prey.

I remember that I had to make sure that in all my reports, I was always ready by familiarizing myself in all areas just to survive the grilling (a.k.a. question-and-answer) after the presentations. Also, during group discussions prior to reporting, one or two people would always volunteer as a “devil’s advocate”. They will test the group’s answers to the problem statement.

That was how students from the UP College of Business Administration usually handle projects and case studies. And if you don’t keep up with them, you’ll get crushed in the process. So I made sure that I was always on my toes — ready to pounce if the situation called for it. And, my whole college stay was made challenging and filled with learning with these people. 🙂

One thing, however, that always came up during class enlistments was about not getting teachers who are demanding with their class loads and taking electives that are easy to manage. This was understandable because most students in the BAA group were scholars. And because they would like to retain their scholarships, they usually look for teachers who gave easy loads. Some would encourage me to join them. However, my mom’s advice would always enter my mind. Thus, I ventured out of my way and look for subjects (for electives) and professors who I think would challenge me.

I went for Computer Science-related subjects for electives…

I remember bragging to a friend that I got the highest grade in those classes. Even higher than those who are majoring in that degree. But they would always tell me that the grades (2.25 to 2.5) given to me would drag my average down. I told them that was the normal grades in the UP College of Engineering. However, they would just shake their heads, as if telling me that they were just happy with whatever-will-make-me-happy decisions.

Also, during enrollments in my General Education (GE) subjects, I would usually ask around for terror teachers who were fond of “torturing” their students. And I remember lining up at 4 o’clock in the morning just to enlist those subjects (no Computer Registration System in my early years at UP). By the way, this applied to GE subjects only because for major subjects we usually had no option — all of them were “terror” (even if they won’t admit this).

Now, I think that my liking for IT-related subjects helped me became where I am now. I sort of married my knowledge in business and IT, and I would like to think that I am thriving well in this field. For my bent of going after “terror” teachers, I think it helped me became adaptable to people I work with coming from different backgrounds and having different personalities. The experience helped me get a better appreciation on how best to strike a balance, especially if there are conflicting point of views.

Friends, there are two things that I want you take from reading this:

One — In real life, if you want to pursue your dreams, you cannot really choose who your boss will be. People coming in with differing interests (or simply put, difficult people) will most likely confront you. It is best that we do not attempt to avoid them because we cannot. What is really important is you know where you are standing and you open your mind to their expectations. Let them know your concerns but always bear in mind that at the end of everything, their say matters. You can opt to get out, but please not outright without putting a good fight (or at least trying). This can and will be your best teacher. As my previous boss would say, it is part of your character-building process.

Two — Do not aim to shine. Aim to learn. Recognition will follow once you become better, if not the best, in your respective fields. Do this by surrounding yourself with people who loves to challenge themselves. They can actually motivate you and help you hasten your journey towards realizing your dreams. So do not avoid brilliant people but look for them. You can do this by joining organizations that works on improving leadership skills, say Toastmasters International or Junior Chamber International.

I do hope that this article can and will help you.


PS1: Featured image is taken from https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2014/10/15/10/53/sun-489523_960_720.jpg 

PS2: Try these great selection of self-help books. Unless you look for good tools to help you and just simply rely on yourself, then you might find it hard to work on your dreams.