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.


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


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


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.

nacph

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

 


How My Daughter Can Remember Me

Two weeks ago, I had this crazy issue about sharing my thoughts in this blog. I felt that there is no real reason why I should continue writing. The feeling stirred my emotions, and I was so demotivated to write anything. So I made that decision to take a temporary respite in writing.

Last weekend, I went to Davao to attend the 2016 Toastmasters Mid-year Convention. I extended my stay until Monday to tag along with my toastmaster friends who made plans to enjoy another day in Davao and Samal Island. It was my first, for the longest time, to actually spend a “vacation leave” on an actual vacation. I had a blast on that one extra day. It was unforgettable — the food, the beach and the time spent with friends.

In all the events that transpired during that weekend, one thing that struck me most, while basking under the sun, was the conversation with a friend. She asked me about my inspiration to come up with two to three articles every week in my blog. I took a long look at what I was doing — the motivational articles I conjure weekly. I wanted to answer in a pageant-like way, and say that “I would like to make a dent in the world with the things that I write”. But it felt unreal.

That question made me think. I recalled that for about a week, I stopped writing. That time I was so down that I couldn’t motivate myself — much more write something to motivate others. I decided to go back to the original reason why I started and sustained the blog.

Not so long ago, I once came to this realization that we can never say for how long we are staying in this world. How many years we will be around to hug and enjoy the company of the people we care most. How the years can be uncertain when I will be able to accompany my daughter when she needs it.

So I made that decision to immortalize my thoughts in the articles that I write… This was the reason why I keep on writing after my experiment in understanding a website for an audit engagement.

And that particular realization is the reason why I told myself that I need to go back to writing again, and so I did this week.

In the future, I want Yuni (my daughter) to go back to my blog entries every time she wonders how her Papa (Handy Manny to her when she was much younger) would solve a problem. I want her to go back to my written words every time she feels lost on what decisions to make. To feel my presence even if I am long-time gone. I want a part of me available and ready to give insights on things that might confront her as she leads her life.

It would be impossible for me to cover all areas in her life. And I know that there would be changes between how things are today and how things will be in the future. I know that she will meet so many people who will certainly influence the way she thinks and acts. But I also know that with the thoughts that I am immortalizing in these words, I’ll be with her in all that she will do.

Friends, a lot of you reading this blog are parents, soon-to-be-parents, or like-parents (or friends) to people you care most. This is what I want all of you to ask yourself:

“How do you want your children (or people you care) to remember you? Or, how do you want yourself to be part of their lives?”

We all have our ways of showing our love for them — raising them well, spending quality time or providing their material needs. Mine includes immortalizing my thoughts in these words.

I know that I am not a perfect father or friend (which is true for many of us).

As one recent Facebook post that appeared in my news feed emphasized — we make mistakes, we are not perfect, and we don’t always give them (the people we care) their way. However, we should always do our best to show them that we love them. Be that in a simple act of preparing their meals, writing them love notes, or supporting them in whatever they want to pursue.

We can never know what will happen to us tomorrow or in the years to come. Remember, each day is just a borrowed time. Spend it with the people you care making sure that you prepare them for whatever life will unfold.

Another thing that I want you all to take from this entry is this:

As you pursue your personal projects or life-goals, challenges would beset you. These could actually hurt you and make you hesitate. I want you to always go back to why you are doing that project in the first place. Always go back to that. I’m sure that it will help you see clearer beyond what you’re going through.

It will help keep you moving forward.

🙂

PS: 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.


Material Things Don’t Really Matter

“In the eyes of a child, LOVE is spelled as T-I-M-E.”

This is part of my usual spiel every time I was assigned as a timer in a toastmaster’s club meeting. But in all those years where I was mentioning this, I failed to realize the true meaning behind these words. And, I learned my lesson the hard way.

As part of my daddy duties, I see to it that when my daughter wakes up, she would feel my presence before she fixes herself for school. I would prepare her breakfast, her lunch and her snacks. I would also ready her vitamins so that she won’t forget taking these.

My problem is when I have dragon boat training.

In a week, I target to attend three dragon boat and three boxing training sessions (alternately). I don’t have problems with boxing because the gym opens at 6 o’clock in the morning. My problem was dragon boat because the call time is at 4:30 am. I need to be there before then, while my daughter usually wakes up at 4:30 am!

To prepare my daughter’s meals, I would wake up at around 2 o’clock. Leave my condo at 3:45. And be at the dock site by 4:30 am. It is never in my nature to be late, so I need to be there before the call time. And that brought me back to my dilemma — I want my daughter to feel my presence when she wakes up.

Then, Sarah Geronimo’s movie came to my mind — You Changed My Life. I realized that I could use love notes. I could use this to let my daughter feel my love and presence.

So every morning, after cooking, doing the laundry and cleaning the kitchen, I would write love notes to my daughter. I would insert the note in her lunch box for her to read. Then, once I arrived at the dock site, I would call her by 4:30 am to make sure that she is awake. And I would give her instructions and pep talk to keep her day going.

I always do this on days when I need to leave the condo before she wakes up.

Also, on weekends, I make sure that I make time to bring her to her soccer training. I cheer her during tournaments. I find time every night to talk with her about her day.

And this is what I realized…

These simple routines make her happier than receiving material things from me — which she often doesn’t like wearing/using.

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

We all have relationships — parent/child, romantic, or what-have-you. And sometimes, we would feel that time is not that important compared to providing material things. We would sometimes feel that providing merely material things is more than enough to make people we love happy. Actually, it is not. More than the money, it is the time and quality of our relationship (and many more) with the people we care that matter most.

One thing also that we need to realize is that time is valuable, NOT JUST TO YOUR KIDS. Time is also LOVE to your other relationships — friends and family. Spend quality time with them.

As one person emphasized to me — there are areas/factors that are more important than material things.

Let us take care of our relationships. Make the people we care feel important — whether in doing small things like love notes, watching Internet movies with them or taking them on a date.

Let me end this with these words from Mary Kay Ash:

“No matter how busy you are, you must take time to make the other person feel important.”


Be Hungry! And Stay Hungry!

What runs in your mind when you think of your favorite food, and you’re hungry?

I’m sure that you sometimes imagine your favorite cuisine. The mouth-watering flavors rolling on your taste buds… The ambrosial aroma tickling your nostrils… Or, that just-right, brackish taste lingering in your mouth.

Hhhmmm…

I’m sure that you would do what you can just to satisfy your food cravings.

For me, I’m crazy about anything with “seafood” — especially seafood pasta, spiked with Tabasco. (Just typing this article, makes my mouth water…) And, every time Wanna prepares one, expect me to linger a little bit longer in the kitchen (not even in the table).

LOL.

Before, however, we get there, it usually takes a lot of strategic prodding to get Wanna to prepare her special pasta. I would also drive early in the morning just to get to the wet market to buy fresh seafood. I would also push myself to drive to the opposite side of the city to get scallops and clams from S&R. And, that is a horrible experience considering the traffic in my city and the number of shoppers at S&R. But of course, when you’re hungry and you want to be satisfied, YOU WOULD DO ALL.

This is actually akin to our journey in life. For us to succeed and realize our dreams — say become a successful IT Manager,  famous author or highly-paid event host — we need to keep ourselves hungry.

Some of you are probably thinking, what do I mean by this and how to do it.

What I mean is you need to have A STRONG DESIRE TO PURSUE YOUR PLANS. Unless you keep yourself REALLY motivated, then your plans would never materialize. Believe me.

Now, how to do it? I would suggest that you create a DREAM or a VISION BOARD.

Plan your journey, create your vision and collate pictures of your expected milestones — trips to US and Europe, the new Range Rover, or zero-debt status. Place your vision board in a location where you can easily be reminded of what you need to accomplish and what is waiting at each milestone stop.

This will keep you hungry!

Friends, we all plan great things. The problem, however, is that we don’t act because there is no (or little) motivation to go after these plans. If you intend, however, to wait for the motivation to arrive, then you are waiting for nothing. Create one! And, look at it everyday. It can make a difference in your journey.

Again, be hungry and (most important) stay hungry!

Let me end this with these words from Zig Ziglar:

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

PS: I am highly encouraging you to read Zig Ziglar. Try his book on how to stay motivated.


Always Bounce Back

“Overweight”

“Cholesterol level dangerously high”

“You are at risk of a heart attack”

I was a walking time bomb ready to explode anytime because of my failing health.

I have hit rock bottom.


Fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon:

I heard those lines after my annual medical exam. I was suddenly struck by the realization that I might die young. In fact I was dying slowly. It hit me hard.

I suddenly remembered my father.  Gone at the age of 45, exactly a month after hearing those lines from his doctor. We were devastated financially and emotionally. I’m nearing that age… the nightmare of dying young hit me hard.


In my desire to have a healthy body, I went through 3 attempts:

  • I joined a dragon boat team. The discipline of waking up early and rowing passionately at the Manila Bay came to a sudden stop when a flesh-eating bacteria got into a tiny cut in my leg. I was hospitalized for 5 days and spent P110,000.
  • I did juicing. It was working for some time but my mind was bombarded with thoughts of delicious food which my body was craving to take. On my third day, I splurged on a hefty serving of steak and mashed potatoes.
  • I attempted running. I would run every day until I felt a searing pain from my back down to my left knee. I ended up having slipped disks. It took weeks for me to recover.


Three attempts…three failures…They all hit me hard.

I was on the verge of giving up and let nature takes its course. I needed a rope to hang on, to get me back… Suddenly my eyes drifted to the pictures of the two most important people in my life.

  • Yuni- my 12 year old daughter. I want to provide the best for her and be with her as she goes thru her journey in life.  And should the right time come… walk her down the aisle and enjoy the company of my grandchildren.
  • Wanna- my life partner. We have been through life’s ups and downs. We knew how it was to be left by our fathers and saw how our mothers raised family as single parents.  I want to be with her until we grow old and grey…to experience life’s challenges and surprises together. I want to serve her, make her happy and love her…. forever.
  • Jake- yes I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to actualize my sense of purpose in helping others be the best they can be.  I want to provide for my loved ones and let them experience the things they have not experienced in the past.  I want to continue being amazed by what life is bringing me.

“Overweight”, “Cholesterol high” “At risk of a heart attack”.  These words shook me with such fear that I know I will not stop until I know I’ve done all I can to shift to be a healthy me – a life ensuring that I can be around longer.

Fellow toastmasters, in a world full of choices, let us always connect to our core being in consciously making and acting on decisions that really matter.  Be it in our health, in our career, in our relationship, let us be guided by our life vision and mission.

So where am I now?

I’m a work in progress. Regular exercises, right food and making each time count.

Fellow toastmasters, has anything hit you so hard that your world seemed to have fallen apart? Has anything hit you just as hard that your very life was threatened?

Don’t let it crush or devour you. Take a long honest look at what’s hitting you. Listen, act and do something before it destroys you. After all, whatever life throws at us, we can always hit back.

Contest chair.

Note: This speech was the one I delivered during the 2016 Division A Contest in the International Speech Category (where I ranked first runner-up). Thanks to my TM mentors for their continuous support and feedback –   Edith Garde, DTM; Ida Sih, DTM; Lavi Penaverde, ACG; and Mylene Bass, CC. Original Title was “HIT”.


What Makes You Tick?

What makes you do what you are doing?

Have you ever asked yourself why you are doing the things you are doing now – work, study or lovelife. I’m sure you did gazillion times. I did, too.

I would sometimes wonder why I need to work my ass really hard just to provide for my family. Why do I need to pay for my siblings education? Why do I need to pay for a hefty condo amortization? Why do I need to be ready to lend extra money when my mom or siblings need assistance? Why do I need to pay my mom’s loans?

There are so many WHYs. My mind can’t stop conjuring them.

It felt like being a tiny gear trying to move a really huge gear. And, sometimes it seems that the huge gear is not going to the direction you want it to go.

I would most of the time dream of me staying at home doing nothing except reading my books and watching YouTube videos. Sometimes, I would dream of amassing riches beyond my dreams just for me to stop working and do nothing. I even regularly try my luck with PCSO lotto hoping that it will provide means by which my dream would come true.

Anyway, one long weekend I took a long honest look at my life. I told myself that I was getting tired. If I could just bear it, I would like to just drop everything, turn my back against my life and while my time doing nothing. I want to be selfish and just think of me. I was really decided on this.

But then reality struck me. It is my family that I will be turning my back to. And, I can never abandon family. My love for them is much greater than the negative feelings eating me within. I went through our memories. The smile on the faces of my partner and daughter. The words of gratitude from my mom and siblings. How they look up to me. The tight hugs of my siblings.

I can never and will never abandon those.

Also, I realized that my siblings and my daughter are better citizens because of the guidance I extend to them. They are responsible and loving. Well, this I cannot realize without my partner (which I will share some other time).

It dawned on me that when we are confronted with challenges, we always just need to connect to our core being in making decisions that really matter. Be this in our career, in our health or in our relationship.

In a world full of choices, we will be hounded with issues and doubts left and right that will make you want to stop ticking. Let us always connect to what keeps you moving and reflect on why you should take steps and more steps in your life. Don’t let it stop you.