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This Thanksgiving Month, I've going to debunk the common myth about success and achievement. You didn't get lucky and you shouldn't thank that the stars aligned in the right time you were in that place.
It's the result of your own efforts, planning, faith, strategy, and perseverance- being in the right room, at the right time, with the right crowd.
There are many countless people that are supporting and enabling you, conscious to you and/or not, since your were in Kindergarten.
There are also many people that serves as your inspiration and challenge when you're faltering and starting to waiver in your commitment.
There are loved ones that care enough to loan their monies without the expectation of return when your first start-up was launching or you need further education.
You have tremendous amounts of ideas and sometimes talent that are enough to serve a sizable market.
There are opportunities that just opened because of political, societal, economic, and communities coming together and doing something about these issues.
There are people that you turn when you felt dejected, isolated, and need an ego boost.
If you see the value in your resume, that means your past and future employers see the best in you before you even believe that in yourself.
The truth of the matter is that luck is best served on a hot plate with rice and teriyaki chicken on top.
Don't ever believe your lucky, believe that you can always achieve when you make it happen.
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With a summer pause on my business and with one part-time on the side, I had a more relaxed pace than ever. One of the best things of doing only one thing is that the mind is emptied out to think in a relax way. There are no distractions, fear, deadlines, and pressures.
The other day I was talking about what you can do that is within your control and what you can't to a group of students worried about their grades and how it will look to their parents, their future plans, etc. Much of their worries are based on fear that everything will go completely wrong. A grade can screw up your life or it may not, actually. The range of your control including how you react to failing to meet your goals or expectations is part of your remit.
Taking control over what goes in to our lives and what we allow versus what we have to rid off to allow for better things to come is our individual exercise. When we refuse to take the drama and politics of others and we ruthlessly carve out our own sense of wellness in our time and activities, we are being on top of our game.
The summer pause is exhilarating and a real time out from the time out. I recommend this to a lot of busy executives who are taking much more than they can possibly digest and enjoy. There are wannabe projects that are failing right before our eyes. It's better to bow out and cut losses because it will not shift in any positive way unless the culture changes.
Turns out, emptying out should be regular.
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After a long wait, harvest time is now upon us. Farmers know that with perseverance and patience, the much-awaited time has come to reap the gains from the yield. This time around, there was plenty of rain during the summer that the crops have matured well and in time. We cannot be overly pleased with the weather cooperating with us.
Harvest time provides us the perspectives that with good inputs come good outcomes. It may take a while for our dreams to become real in our lives but everyday is an opportunity to sow the seeds. If you want peace and calm, sow the seeds of cooperation and collaboration and build up one another. If you want a life that is interesting and adventurous, sow the seeds of creativity and follow your passions that fuel those pursuits. If you want a life of global impact that helps others succeed, sow the seed of being a positive provocateur. If you want a life filled with gratitude, start building your gratitude bank and always count your blessings. If you want to live a simple life, define your own success and make your own metrics. Your happiness is your own.
The law of seeding and reaping is a tested principle of life. It will never be wrong and it will always come to pass no matter what.
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There is a counterculture against ambition I know.
I have been told indirectly that I am ambitious.
I have no problem with ambition. The world needs ambitious lawyers, engineers, scientists, surgeons, and humanitarians to make it a better and safer place.
Well, for one, if you're an entrepreneur, you need that to keep going against all odds.
Second, when it not for ambition, I wouldn't be where I am right now given the cause-effect logic of how things emanate from something.
I cannot place this kind of remark, although I maybe too slow sometimes too.
It's okay to be ambitious but don't show it too much, meaning enthusiasm, energy, optimism, high level of resilience, and spartan confidence.
Well, that for me are dead give-aways. I exude them, capture, and claim them because these are good stuff you need to survive and thrive, in big doses the better.
Therefore, I am completely helplessly ambitious. I don't trample on people, have sharp elbows, and do all kinds of sleazy, unethical methods to get business. I just do the way a soldier, a tactician, a master planner, and a faithful one will do.
Are you ambitious? Do you take this comment negatively or do you take the meaning back?
Do you lack ambition or do you lack the courage to be ambitious?
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The whole Christendom is celebrating one of its most sacred observance, the Holy Week starting on Maundy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday.
I don't know about you but as practicing Christian, it marks a high note in my spiritual walk every year by observing this on a reflective way. I grew up as a Christian and carried that faith through and through all throughout my adult life. This one I am passing to my daughter, not just as a legacy but a way of life. Everyday, consistent practice is what gives its sharpness as I see myself donning many roles and responsibilities.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ brings me to the realization that no matter how difficult or challenging the situation is, there is hope in the Risen One. There is the ultimate guarantee, above all other earthly guarantees that we can ever have. which is found in the Savior. This fundamental belief guides me and point my actions heavenward, focusing on what is eternal versus temporal. This is not an easy task to do yet the call is there to heed.
Another outstanding gift of the resurrection is the anticipation for the great things yet to come. Failures are never final. Struggles are meant to make us stronger, resilient, and resource-efficient. We can't take things for granted especially when we are troubled. There are many blessings received every waking day. Each of these blessings require their own meditation.
For the devote, this week is a time for reflection and anticipation. A time for fellowship and grateful gatherings. What do you make of this time?
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There is a family member I know that walked into an equipment store and asked the store clerk, "Do you have a diarrhea? Sorry a screw instead. He was having one apparently and had to quickly check if he had the urge to go when the calamity strikes. But since, the word "D" is top of mind, that's the one that just got blurted out of the blue.
That hurt my stomach laughing at this silliest and most honest mistake. How come we can't seem to control our tongue in moments when we should be more polite or proper? Amazing, how this censorship out of our socialization gets thrown out of the window with a slip of a tongue, or in a form of a half-joke, or a sarcasm hidden behind good flattery.
Our expression is what we all have and how we use language, control it, contort it and conceal its real meaning is a trait that requires its own perfection. A sage person remarked, that "the one that can control his mouth, is the one that can control his destiny."
Except in a dire situation such as this when nature wants a release, it pays to have a complete rein in on our mouths. Less talk, less trouble.
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Have you tried to do nothing for a few hours?
Not even think but just stare at an object with no agenda or intention.
It's very hard. It's very frightening to some.
Emptying the mind is a challenge. There's too much thinking, mindless and intentional.
How can we tame it into total submission?
I found that the way to do that is to DISRUPT it.
Speak something and that thought pattern is cut off immediately.
You can clear the mind when you also do something else constructively and that you will enjoy.
We call it quiet time or restful time, away from distractions and mundane.
Just pacifying thoughts and refocusing to positivity, blessings and great things.
Open your mind to the possibilities every waking hour.
Let go of anything from the day that takes away your joy. It wasn't meant to be.
Maximize an abundant mind.
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I didn't come from a well-to-do background. I came from the most humble beginning.
Way back in circa 70s, what we had was a make-shift house, with tin roof over our heads, three simple meals a day and an opportunity to go to school. Forget that the neighbor in better villages could afford a television, a fridge, a stove, a good toilet, and some eating out and vacation time.
Well, I have travelled from there to here and I can fairly say with all honesty that it was a good journey. I have learn lots in the process. Truth to be told, it is not perfect now, but comparing to those years where all you want to do is to get out of the misery, it wasn't bad after all. It was good to suffer early on in life. I learned to appreciate early little good things that I have.
What brought me here is a group of people that supported me from the start and continue to support me in every aspect of my life. They cheer me on, bring me perspective, encourage my walk, and gave me all kinds of support. I am forever indebted.
I thank them everyday during those formative years when I have no awareness of my potentials yet, they build it from within me. Because my family cared, my former teachers and mentors cared, and other kind-hearted people I met along the way cared, I am now what I am.
To the many more people that I will meet in the future, it's not my skills, expertise, and charisma after all, although they are valuable. It's not about me, it's because they are the kind of people that rises up with others along their path.
Thank you for spreading love and humanity.
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When I last saw my 11-year old niece in 2019, she was singing the 1960s hit, the Sound Silence. That was one of the best folk songs in my book. I remembered in the 90s, when I got to know some of the best classical folk and rock songs and started to learn the guitar for the first time. The Sound of Silence was one of the beats that was unbeatable. I gave up on the guitar after trying for a few months recovering from blisters all over my fingers, but not on the song.
The Sound of Silence is eternally relevant and powerful with its hunting melodic harmony that remains supreme against the auto-tone, music trashing modern bands we have today. I can say that I grew up learning to play these songs, interpret these songs during my high school life, and appreciate a different era of my parents and grandparents where some of these songs have been birthed.
Silence in today's world is a rarified survival tool. Everyone wants it but it takes courage to find and keep a silent life. If you think about it, silence is a blessing.
As I grow in years, I would lean more to the quiet, calm, and assured days and moments as opposed to the big, boisterous, and larger-than-life events that take our breath away from time to time. The sound of silence is the heart beating, bird chirping at outside, snow falling from the sky, staring at a newborn baby (which I did today!), snoring sound in another room, electric fan swirling, moments that no words can be enough. I'd rather be drowned in silence than to fill up the space with meaningless chatter and fake words.
There is power in silence and using this power responsibly and positively honors the One that gives us the power to listen. We can hear more when we listen on non-verbal cues that are rich, textured, and layered of meanings. I am coaching one professional and I told her that there is no problem with silence. Don't avoid it like a plaque but understand the meaning of silence in every encounter or situation with the people in the room. Being a leader means being aware of the underlying context that most of the time, is hidden from verbal expression. Emotions make us human, respecting the positive benefits of silence is truly a gift. Take notice, be interested, and listen discerningly.
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never heard
No one dared, disturb the sound of silence...
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2022 is a year of high risks and low expectations. I benefited a great deal from both. Despite the legendary dismal economic situation post-COVID19, the on-purpose organizations are looking for new ideas to outsmart the new realities of their business environments. We see new models, new visions, new creative perspectives being experimented and/or embraced with a modicum of success. At the end of the day, survival is a necessity but innovating is a competitive advantage. If you want to be relevant, choose the latter.
1. Organization and structure trump the intricate planning precision. If you aim to be better tomorrow, then in totality, it will sweep you up in the momentum of direction of change. Things get done even in the worst combination of events against you succeeding. Talk about beyondresilience.
2. When everybody says the planet is doomed if we are not going to act in a certain way, there are thousands of people that are benefiting from the dystopian, emergency, crisis-festered environment and milking their way to the bank, amidst the the lack of supports, funding, and bridging efforts for the most affected and vulnerable. We like to believe that we are all on the same page with climate future but no, we are not even agreeing what kind of future to choose.
3. If you can't have your own ideas and copyright it as your own, then nobody gets to know what you are designed to do, mastered enough to do, and excellent enough to provide value to others. The insecurity of others should not dictate how you should play your game and even enjoy it. There is no joy in playing small and hiding behind your true potential just because others can't do what you can.
4. Your accomplishments and failures are two-sides of the same coin. There is no point beating yourself for all the wrong things that happened as against the wonderful ways luck, smart work, and planning coalesce in spite of yourself or your organization's constraints. Organizations by now understood the point that you can provide value with less than what you would expect. Fit-for-purpose designs invariably take supreme in volatile times.
5. People can say all they want but how they act on the information provided to them is the real ignition switch to delivering an outcome versus merely focusing on intentions. Fantasizing and wishful thinking are not strategies.
6. Privileges are privileges. The lack of privileges and advantages shouldn't embolden anyone to be full of contempt and scorn for those that have it. Neither do those in positions of privilege act high and mighty for the rest of society to worship them. That's why we have the rule of law, democracy (despite its many flaws), and meritocracy. Unfortunately, these three things are eroding before our very eyes.
7. In my leadership training and coaching this year, I saw two things: high-level performers do not get the time to have real connection with another peer or colleague even in the same network or industry. There is so much focus on keeping up productivity in remote work when the best outcome is lowering quantity for quality. Employees who are energized and supported will feel better with their participation and this leads to better performance in and out of work.
8. Another issue is that connecting is like breathing air. Executives must find time to rebuild and replenish their oxygen-tank, connect with purpose-filled individuals they can be inspired with to pursue their own passions. Get off the screen and take the time to schedule coffee/tea, bowling or meal time with a colleague, friend, a clubmate, or anyone you would like to know more.
9. Growth experiences are such a great advantage these days. Few people can say that they have a true mentor, an advisor, a guide in the specific stages of their lives or careers. These benefits accrue to those that not only seek these experiences but take hold of them when presented with the opportunity. If you are given one on a silver platter, customize the tools and residual gains for your specific challenges.
10. Wabi-sabi. Embrace the imperfections of your organizations, your life, and your world. Instead of improving a piece of furniture, taking a modern style, why don't we just relish the age, maturity, decline, and the imperfections of that object? Translate this to your own organizations and environments. Imperfections are not problems to be solved. They have their merits too. If you can live with it, let go and just be at peace.