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30 November 2010

No Shortcut to Success

There's absolutely no shortcut to success.

When we cut through a vehicle ahead of us, it won't do us any good. For quite sometime, we'll feel the boast inside blowing all horns aloud but that's not enough to prove the quality of our being. What makes a leader fine and effective? The Process.

To mold the glass, you need intensive heat, directly against the fire.
To create a sharp sword, you need to apply so much force and weight.
To soften the beef, it needs much pressure and heat.
To win a basketball game, endurance, teamwork and nice play setting are required and that can't be achieved overnight.

We need to understand that success has a PROCESS. Everyone needs to undergo the process, no one is exempted, everyone.

Through the process, our character is molded, our skills are refined, our emotions are prepared and our beliefs become clear.

Take it easy. Endure the process and reap the harvest at the end of the line.

Thanks to Francis Kong for reminding me of this in his talk at The Leadership Factor seminar last weekend.

24 November 2010

The Origin of a Champion

Take a look at this series of unpleasant events from a notable leader of history:

* 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.

* 1818: His mother died.

* 1831: Failed in business.

* 1832: Ran for state legislature - lost.

* 1832: Also lost his job - wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.

* 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.

* 1834: Ran for state legislature again - won.

* 1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.

* 1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

* 1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature - defeated.

* 1840: Sought to become elector - defeated.

* 1843: Ran for Congress - lost.

* 1846: Ran for Congress again - this time he won - went to Washington and did a good job.

* 1848: Ran for re-election to Congress - lost.

* 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state - rejected.

* 1854: Ran for Senate of the United States - lost.

* 1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention - got less than 100 votes.

* 1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again - again he lost.

The name of the champion? Abraham Lincoln. He was elected president of the United States in 1860.

No one has ever won a title without experiencing defeat. Pain has its specific function to prune a person and extract the patience and determination. Difficulty is commissioned to strengthen our will to win and fight for the victory. These help us understand that the origin of a champion is failure. By this, a champion doesn't need to boast of his triumph. The real champion recognizes, in humility, the intensive training of life, which is defeat. After all, you can't see a champion giving up. Once knocked down, he rises again.

Please remember, our destiny is not defeat. We just have to be fitted in our greatest life purpose. That's why gold needs to be tested and purified in fire. It's inevitable but fulfilling in the end.

17 November 2010


When I was in high school, my friends and I ate our lunch meal during recess at around 930 am. We share our food with everyone, as long as they have their own spoon and fork. During lunch time, we'd spend time blocking the doorway to ask junk food from our classmates. That's our survival techniques!

I'm already a working professional and I still bring something for lunch. A rice meal, pasta or veggies, anything that fits my lunchbox. I also have sandwich or biscuit for snacks. My wife cooks good food for me everyday. (You gotta have a lovely wife like her.)

Ever heard that our heart is like a lunch box? Filling your lunchbox will junks will kill you. Yes, they guarantee taste satisfaction. So delicious, and you crave for more. I must admit that once I popped my favorite corn chips, I'm gonna empty it. I know some who love eating cholesterol, or simply, FATS! But how about the nutrition? Being healthy? "Oh, there's an alternative" , you might say. "I have vitamins." True. But it doesn't permit you to store up junks in your intestines. Later on, you'll be consumed.

Same thing with our heart. Don't store up junks and trashes or you may die earlier. We can't live storing up hate, fear, vengeance and such garbage in our heart. It'll gonna consume us. Remember, we bring those junks everywhere! It's unhealthy to think a hundred reasons why you hate a person, a thousand chances you missed, a hundred thousand mistakes your parents committed and a million why you hate your neighbor's dog! Those are trashes. We can't change the past. We can only change Today and Tomorrow. So, instead of stamping your feet and planning to break into others' lives, think how you can be better.

If what we eat is healthy, we can only expect living healthy lives. If our heart is healthy, our words, thoughts and deeds will nourish others as well. Not everything we eat is nutritious. It's our decision to choose the right things to store up in our Lunchbox.

11 November 2010

Same Feathers Flock Together

I remember the first time I spoke to a crowd of young people, I spoke so fast. In my mind, I have everything I have to tell them and unknowingly, I was running after a bullet train. Somebody had to raise his hand and boldly advised me to slow down so they could understand what I was talking about. Then, after few years, I found myself struggling and trembling (again!) while presenting book titles in front of category managers of a leading bookstore chain.

Speaking in front of a huge crowd keeps butterflies inside me. I couldn't escape from it because that's the nature of my work. Whether it's interpersonal or giving a talk to hundreds of people, my knees tremble and my tongue stutters. I thought to myself, "my English is terrible...I might forget what I want to say...there's limited time so I need to talk faster."

Now, telling all these, you wouldn't believe I hosted 5 wedding receptions and I have one this December. Thanks to my dear friends who trusted me their memorable day. How were I able to manage the butterflies? That I owe to my coaches.

I listen to audiobooks. I watch public speakers over the internet. I ask advice from my friends who speak with eloquence. I search for public speaking tips. I enrolled to a public speaking training center and befriend the master speaker. I practice what I learn. And, I force myself to speak in public. Terribly, I need to volunteer myself so I could have the learning experience. I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped into the circle of public speakers (whether they like it or not!).

The sayings goes, “Birds with the same feathers flock together.” When we are surrounded with inspiring people, later on, our feathers will be like theirs. Somebody might tell you, “you look like them” or “you act like them” or "you think like them". The Holy Scripture taught me to “keep company to the wise and I will be wise.” It really matters. Tell me your environment and I'll tell you what your lifestyle is. If we want to change our mind, we have to change our environment. It's a discipline. Our mind is affected by what we see, hear and feel.

You want to change your attitude? Change your environment. Negative people will tell you hundreds of reasons why you should give up! Get out of the cage of fears and low self-esteem. Be surrounded with good people who won't embarrass you when you commit a mistake. Ask somebody you know could help you to become a better you. Don't be afraid to ask because only the fool thinks he knows everything. Wise men know there are so much more to learn. So, widen your network. Scratch your feathers with eagles, not with ducks nor chickens. Then when you soar high, it's time for you lift others. Be with the flock of happy and successful people.

09 November 2010

The Mirror Challenge

One of the important things in life which we somehow ignore is the mirror. The mirror reflects the subject it faces. Side and rear mirrors are important for drivers. Girls stare at them to check if their face is worthy of the man's attention, making sure the hair and make-up is still good. On the other hand, just imagine those videos of funny cats scratching against their enemy on the mirror.

When you look at the mirror, what and who do you see? Do you see an enemy? Do you see a friend? Do you see someone special? Or do you see someone miserable?

What you see is what you get. What you think of yourself is what gonna happen. There's also an old principle of man that's perfect for this- "To see is to believe." Unless you see yourself succeeding, you won't believe you are on the road to success. You will reverse the gear and live defeated.

Try this not for fun but to inspire you. Face at the mirror and tell the best things you want to happen.

"You are gorgeous!"
"You are a millionaire!"
"You speak well!"
"You are intelligent, brilliant, good looking and healthy!"
"You are the next Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Manny Pacquiao and John Maxwell!"

Then, substitute the YOU with I AM. Suddenly, you will feel the hair all over the body rising. Your sleeping confidence wakes up. You empty esteem level goes high. See? Then believe! Don't make enemy of yourself. You are not a junk but a person of purpose. You just didn't exist to fail. You exist to do something others can't do! Definitely, every individual is unique.

Tell that mirror it has seen the very best person in the world. And, that's you!

05 November 2010

What Drummers Can Teach You

I am a drummer. Every practice my muscles flexes and I feel a bit of pain on arms and legs. Sitting there for how many hours makes me exhausted. My ears are numb already from the noise I'm making. When you come to the room while I'm drilling, you won't appreciate it. You can only hear nothing but noise. My favorite companion next to the snare drum is the bass drum. I love kicking that piece. And, both of them are noisy!

You need to understand that drummers don't just make noise. When he gives you that funk rock beat, you'll find yourself dancing with the groove.

Don't you think our failures are but a mess of life? That we won't be able to impact the world because of our faults? Are we thinking so little because somebody told us we can't do remarkable things? Hit that drum head!

Playing drums taught me discipline. I should have ignored being a drummer the first time I missed the paradiddle. I should have forgotten perfecting the strokes and rudiments the first time somebody laughed at my mistakes. Through the years, I have developed the discipline. It's the discipline of not giving up no matter what people say about me or against me. After all, people just remember the "noise" I have made not the pleasant sound I played.

Same with our life. Those around us may remind us how subtle and weak we are. There are very few who can lift us up after missing the beat. And, even without a helping hand, don't quit! You may need to memorize terminologies. You may need to master the formulas. You may need to rise early to be on time. You may need to extend working hours to finish a project. Endure it. Be more focused on your goal not on the difficulties.

The disciplines of time, effort, rhythm and hardwork, I owe it to my drums. It taught me to become more patient, to be an overcomer and an inspiration.

03 November 2010

Street of Happiness

"Happiness is a choice." This is already a cliche. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible for our own happiness. We create good memories. We craft our dreams. We plan for the future. But inevitably, we bump to tragedy wall, failure post and disappointment gates. All of a sudden, we step on the brakes and settle for damaged headlights. We pull off and check the broken bulbs and glasses and some scratches.

Life doesn't stop there. It's up to us to drive till we reach the road of happiness. If we'd know how difficult it would be to get there, we'll never go. Take a boxer for an example. While training, the boxer can't count how many punches he could take from the opponent. He'd never gonna win that fight! He has to count how many punches he could throw, what foot work to use and how many rounds he could endure to beat the other down. That champion belt is the reward of all his sweat and pain. His choice must be at the end of the fight, he must be happy with the victory and fame. Nothing less.

So are we. The ball is in our hands. Happiness is for those who can chase the sun, run after the cheetah and climb Mt. Everest. Get up from that couch. Be happy. Buy a toy. Play video games. Read interesting life stories. Chat with kids. Simple things can make you happy.

See you at the Happy Road. Bring laughs and cheers.