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29 September 2010

Wear The Right Shoes

Musicians, like me, would agree that there are people who can play new songs effortlessly and instantly, even without a music piece. The art of listening is much practiced in the world of notes and rhythms. Those who "play by ear" are called OIDO players. (if I got it right. :))

I play by ear. I call it a gift because no matter how I share it with others, some can't just pick up the tones and arrangements instantly. We have to admit. There are individuals who are gifted in music, some in arts, some in math, some in sports. Well, I know people who could play music the way you listen to CD. A round of applause, please!

Have you ever found yourself struggling in doing things right but still remain on the average? Perhaps, your dribbling skills took years to improve while it only took you hours to perfectly cook a dish. Or, you are good with math and dreamed to be an engineer but you fell on the trap of being a nurse instead. Why is that?

It's a matter of choice. Second, it's a matter of priorities. There are reasons why such thing happens- peer pressure, family relations, financial capability and some more. I am a marketing professional, a musician, a coffee-lover, a book-lover and a husband. I can't just figure it out how seamlessly these things fit in my closet. To add on the list, I write blogs too. That's my life and I love the way I am. The real connection that links them together? It's me.

What are you good at? What are the things you do that you enjoy? Are there things you want to try for fun or for experience? Think of the benefits and consequences of the decisions you will make. John Maxwell once advised, "Focus on your strength and forget about your weaknesses." Build your strengths and don't lose precious moments in perfecting where you are weak at. It really matters.

There is a good purpose why the Creator gave us unique gifts. No need to be somebody else. So, just wear the right shoes for you. You should be comfortable wearing it otherwise you might regret for the amount you paid, either in monetary or your most precious time.

22 September 2010

7 Reasons Why I Wanna Be Crazy

Who says you're crazy? Be thankful!

Yes! Be thankful to them because I have discovered that crazy people are those who take risks in life in order to succeed. Those who are out of their heads are the ones usually charge their mistakes and failures to experience. The term "out of the box" is very common in brainstorming or mindstroming sessions. Thinking out of the box is something like making a way in the desert, going out of limitations, breaking rules and regulations, out of the norms, out of the tradition. That's crazy!

Well, I'm not referring to the psychologically and medically diagnosed crazy people. My point is, sometimes, we need to be out of our thinking hats to appreciate what we have in life. Let me stress my points.

1. They laugh at their mistakes.
Do you know somebody like this? They are patient with themselves. They know that along the way, they will fail, slip on the floor, scratch heads, hit below zero and more. So, instead of taking it seriously and playing the blame game, they just laugh. Just like a 3-year old kid who dumped himself with dirt. It's so much fun!

2. They chase after the wind.
Fearless. Their life goals might be impossible to happen, so as chasing after the wind, but through persistence, they get what they want. The things in life might take them too long, too painful and too exhausting and yet they are still kicking. Think like a young bird learning to fly.

3. They thank positive criticisms and learn from negative ones.

Crazy little fellows are grateful for constructive criticisms and take negative ones as lessons for improvements. In this world, there's no perfect. As our expectation to perfection rises, our meter of disappointment starts to count. Positive criticisms builds our confidence. Negative ones polish our character.

4. They dare to learn many things.
Only satisfied and complacent people are good with little knowledge. Those who are out of their minds unlocks their knowledge storage, cleans it a little bit to prepare a space for new things. Just like a sponge, it constantly releases and absorbs liquids.

5. They don't settle for less.
Crazy people have big dreams! Yes, so huge that it might take them too long to accomplish it. Small dreams are achieved fast, in a year or so. Big dreams will sweat us a lot. Why dream for a small house for your family if you can dream a mansion where there are so many rooms that you can accommodate the homeless?

6. They don't stay at one place.
On a rocking chair, you feel the thrill but you stay where you are. Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer in 1520's, was too crazy to think the world is round. His country rejected his idea but Spain believed in him. He sailed, proved the world is round and found the Philippines.

7. They don't think of themselves.
The last crazy attitude is giving. The scripture says, it's better to give than to receive. True enough? They are too crazy to feed others, share what they know, help those in need, just to see them happy. They give value to others. They may not see the results in few minutes nor hours. The truth is, they have invested a lasting impact to the life of those they helped.

Imagine the world is filled with serious people. Fun is banned. Lips are sealed. Everybody does the same thing everyday because nobody wants change. Who's going to live?

Too serious?! Fly to Mars!
Crazy people, live on earth!

16 September 2010

Pick Good Fruits

My friend lives in Norway. On her Facebook page, she just posted pictures of a green apple tree where apples fell at the ground. Some are still attached to its tree. She said that you can't just pick up those on the ground, even if it just fell. Worms are very diligent to work double time just to pen the apple with their signatures. They are very territorial. Once an apple breaks out from the tree and hit the ground, it will be the worm's territory.

The world has too much to offer:
A big career break.
A joyful celebration of Christmas.
An illicit love affair.
A rebellious mind.
A vacation for the whole family in Disneyland.
A temporary solution to problems.
A bottle of red wine.
A certificate of recognition.

Suppose a table filled with lots of food is set for us. Those who love sweets will grab the bar of chocolates. Vegetarians will prefer salad and fruits. Body builders choose grilled lean meat and chicken. Filipinos will feast on rice and delicacies.

I mean, you will know the person by observing what they eat. Similar to what we put inside our souls. Are we dumping contaminated principles and attitudes inside? Do we pick the negatives along the expressway? Are we storing unhealthy habits in our pockets? A healthy evaluation of what we did for the past 90 days would help us identify what comprises our character.

The scripture says that the world offers temporary things but we should desire the eternal ones. Not everything we enjoy today will last till tomorrow. Our desires are also temporary. If we will pick the good fruits of living, surely we will experience true and lasting happiness eternally. On the other hand, the unacceptable, defiled and impure thoughts, words and deeds are temporary because they will consume us till we are destroyed. If that will last, we'll gonna leave the earth earlier.

Pick the good fruits of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, understanding, respect, honor, diligence, righteousness and holy fear. You may not have the joy today but it's guaranteed for tomorrow.

15 September 2010

Full Glass, Empty Glass

Was there a time you needed an empty glass to pour pineapple juice from the can and you couldn't find one? You saw all the glasses were filled with water and softdrinks and other juices. How'd you feel?

Our life is like a glass. Many things fill our life container. We dump in happiness, pain, success, failure, joy and sorrow, and mix them inside. We could be filled with love while others are so desperate and deprived. We could be filled with knowledge while some have limited education. Ever wonder why people who know a lot of things live independently and are so difficult to teach? Most of them don't even ask questions. It's because their glass is full of many things. Could be education, experiences or emotions.

In order for a person to learn new things, he has to empty himself again. When I resigned from my supervisory position in a Christian publishing company, I thought I was so equipped to face the corporate world. I told myself, "Hey Dude, you're grown up. Show them what you got." While I was sailing towards the sea, I realized there were so much of "ME" that I need to unload. And, there are tons of new things I need to pack in my journey bag. I brought weapons that are useless because I was a decade behind. The road map I have was obsolete. My knowledge and experience and decision-making strategies are not appropriate for the battle. I heard my heart speak, "This might be the real world."

I took another year for me to grow. Like an empty glass, I absorbed the creative and healthy juices from the people I encountered, from the books I read and from the mistakes I made. Many times I wanted to quit because I am ashamed of myself. I have so many regrets that pulled me from learning. Thus, I am grateful for those who are gifted with patience to train me to become more professional. I must admit that learning is a process. No one can just stop learning 'cause new things come consistently.

When we stop to learn, we stop to live. When we close doors to new friends, our growth as a person halts. When we refuse to listen, we cut the path of successful conversation. Little do we know, we are already misunderstood. The advantage of being unoccupied is we can accommodate as many as we can. When there's no vacancy, chances are, we can't easily accept opportunities and remain complacent with what you have. There, our growth timer stops ticking.

How about emptying ourselves again? How far could we go in embracing new things in life. Are we willing to sacrifice being somebody to be just a nobody? We earn the respect of many if what they see is who we really are. As the saying goes, "you can't teach old dogs new tricks." So, are you a full glass or an empty container?

14 September 2010

Please, Pass the Ice Cream

What are ice creams for? Pleasure! Satisfy your cravings! Yummy!!! Picture your favorite ice cream in a sugar cone topped with chocolate syrup and its melting! What would you do? EAT IT! Hahaha..

Now I got your attention. In life, what could be something to compare with ice creams? Is there anything that is so precious to us but time is too limited to enjoy it? That we need to consume it before it melts? Before it expires?

One example I know is OPPORTUNITY.
- a shot to win the ball game.
- a picture with Angel Locsin.
- a time with an OFW relative
- a chance to help a beggar
- a project from Hollywood

Think of the numerous opportunities we missed in life. Could be a time to forgive an enemy? Could be a chance to tell your parents how proud you are for having them? Could be a big sale in a mall? or simply, missed greeting your love one on his/her birthday?

The moment we missed the opportunity, it's gonna be a REGRET. Now, to deal with regrets is totally difficult and painful as well. Sometimes, time can't just delete the scars of regrets. We should have done that! Oh...really tough.

I had an opportunity to win a ball game back in 1998. It's a 2 point ball game advantage over the other team with only few seconds left. I was dribbling the ball half court when my guard match intentionally snatched the ball from my deadly cross over. So, he ran too fast and took the shot. I whipped him in the air so desperately. To our surprise, it counted! And he even made the free throw to swipe us from the elimination round! How'd you feel if you were me that time? Yes! I wanna hide from everybody!

Just like ice cream. When you buy it, consume it. It's good when its cold and firm. When it's not, it's good as trash. Opportunities come in different packages. When it comes, I believe there is a sense rising from us to go for it. The danger of undetected opportunity is disappointment that will eventually grow to regrets. However, not all opportunities in life needs immediate response. Or else, somebody else will suffer. Let's see what we have in the list.

Guides questions in grabbing opportunities:
1. Is it urgent and too important?
2. Who will benefit from the decision?
3. What are the other things to consider?
4. Are you prepared for the consequences?
5. Is it long term or short term benefit?
6. Should there be another chance like this?
7. What if this is an ice cream? (I love this question.)

By this time, somebody might offer you a new cellphone at a very low price. Is it an opportunity or a temptation? Apply the questions. But, if you were given a chance to help others and build their confidence, go for it. That's more than the ice cream you have in hand.

03 September 2010

The Making of an Entrepreneur

I heard once from a speaker that there are 4 stages in life. The first is the EDUCATION stage wherein we prepare for life with formal education. It takes 20 years to finish school for a typical student. It said so because many finished their college degree more than 6 years. Next stage is the EMPLOYMENT stage. Here, we fight for the elusive corporate crown. We jump from company to company to enhance our skills and at the same time, earn a living. Normally, it takes 20 years to master a certain field.

The third stage is ENTREPRENEURIAL stage. At the age of 40, I observed most people are venturing to business to make more money to sustain their families and enjoy the rest of life. While, the last stage is ENDOWMENT stage. At 60, a fulfilled man desires to pass on the success and life principles he learned throughout the years to his children and grandchildren.

It is takes skills, courage and connections to put up a business. While I'm still in the employment stage, I'm gearing towards becoming an entrepreneur, just few years from now. Of course, I don't want to be caught unarmed in the business battle so I'm packing the guns I need.

Let me share you some of it.

1. Build Connections.
Connections may mean family, friends, customers, potential business partners, even building guards, cab drivers and fishball vendors. I'm grateful that I'm surrounded with friends who are corporate leaders. They contributed a lot to my professional growth. But, as an aspiring entrepreneur, I have learned that when we build connections to anyone, not just to those who can do favor for us, we build our worth in the society. After all, what money can do to us if we don't have a family? a friend? a coffee buddy? Who will rejoice with us in our success? When we build connections, we build life- ours and someone else'.

2. Love books.
Through books, we learn the history, great stories of success, how a man rose up from rags to riches and many more. As I am writing this blog, I have a book about negotiations beside me. We can't pretend we know everything. A famous author's advice to the aspiring business leaders is to constantly unlearn to be able to embrace new things. What could life be without books? As starter, books are great tools to orient us in the know-how of business world.

3. Invest in business tools.
I find time to search the net for free business tools and articles. I have found a complete presentation about having an entrepreneurial mindset. I invested for it's printing and bound it so it will be easy for me to study and flip its pages whenever I need it. We don't have to throw huge cash right away. We can start in small things then progress. Study your target market. Be familiar with the tools you need. If you need to enroll in a school to learn softwares, product making or how to set up an event company, do so. It's not shameful to admit we're beginners. All big players took starter's kit. The MVP in NBA started from constant ball practice.

4. Build an expertise.
Choose what field you want to get into. Ask people who are good at it. Attend seminars. Learn the techniques. If you have a product to sell, learn how to effectively market it. Study advertising principles. Pile articles that can help you become the resource person in a certain field. Study cases about your product or service. Again, almost everything is in the internet, even thumbtacks suppliers. I even downloaded selling techniques from YouTube. If you are able, take master's degree. Remember, your expertise is the solution to problems.

5. Give.
We increase our influence when we give. It's not the amount, as a famous saying says, but it's the thought that counts. Encourage others. Give tokens to your partners or friends. Offer free service or trial. We make people valuable when we give. The art of giving sometimes is a lost art in business. As an entrepreneur, we tend to think what we can gain. The truth is, it's what we can offer to build others' lives. People remember the giver. Much more, they acknowledge those who extended their help in time of need. That is worth more than millions.

While driving on the road to entrepreneurship, we might pass through intersections, pedestrian lanes, sharp curves and dead ends that could cease us momentarily or permanently. Essentially, we need to realize how important our products or services are to our society. We won't quit till we understand the significance of what we do for others.

So, keep exploring. Keep praying. See you on the magazine cover.