Saturday, November 30, 2013

Roar ain't Enough to Make a Good Bleat

The sun is peeping between the chains of mountains. The golden orange cotton cloud is gradually eating the light blue expanse. Life is starting to fill the surroundingschickens clucking, birds chirping, goats bleating.

Unique, the outcast tiger cub, cheerfully jumps off his flattened thick grass bed and greets the baby goats good morning.

The kids, with their unkempt clumpy fur, look at each other and laugh at Unique in chorus.

Unique was found by mother goat alone, wounded, and helpless in the prairie, so she decided to bring him home and to raise him well like her own.

It's been months already since unique lived, played, and worked with them but the goat's ways just fail to be imprinted upon him.

He cannot bleat like how the goats bleat. He doesn't like the taste of the meals of the goats, but he just keeps it to himself. His coat and body structure is different from the goat kids he plays with.

The kids always make fun of Unique because he is different—big and guttural voice, stripy fur, thick but few whiskers, big paws, sharp claws, stocky body. So Unique thinks that he is ugly; he is unacceptable; he is weak; he is cursed. Unique becomes the laughing stock in the prairie.

Unique starts to develop self-pity and inferiority complex, and other self-images that breed negative attitudes. The once cheerful and friendly unique now becomes aloof and insecure.

One day when the goats and Unique go up the mountain to play. Each brings a bag full of leaves and grass since the season is dry.

The goats laugh at the way Unique walks and the way his tail moves. Unique cannot talk back since they will just keep on laughing, this time at the way he bleats. So Unique contains the anger in his throat. When the goats start to get tired from playing on their way up, they start eating their food. Unique, on the other hand, is still full of energy and his food still untouched, partly because he doesn’t like it.

When they are halfway through up, the goats' bags are already almost empty. They ask Unique for some food as his bag is still full. Unique refuses to share his every time they ask him for some food.

Unique's back is starting to ache while the goats are starting to feel hungry and weak, yet the goats keep playing and laughing on their way up as they keep on making fun of Unique's manners of walking and bleating and his seemingly unflagging strength. The heavy throb in his chest makes him want to tear them apart; but the voice of his mother goat talking in his mind stops him so.

Seeing a river, they all stop for a drink. Unique sees his reflection on the glaring, clear, slow running water. He realizes not only are his voice and coat different from theirs but also his face and size. Unique feels even uglier and more insecure after seeing his reflection. He feels so inferior and unblessed.

To make himself feel better, he seals his bag so tightly so the leaves and grass will not fall from it as they climb and so the goats will feel the pain he feels even just by means of hunger. Unique feels bad about what he is doing to his brothers and friends; but his anger and insecurity shoot up that he'd rather see them hungry than share food with them.

Some of the goats faint as they move up the hardly trailed ridge; others stop at some point to find food; until only Unique remains walking up with aching back and all alone.

Unique reaches the pinnacle, and no-one else.

Unique looks around. He stares at the vastness of the field below. He realizes how big the world is and how ugly and weak and different and lonely he is.

In his sadness, Unique sobs. Until he cries so hard that his voice trembles til it cracks a roar. Unique is surprised of what he hears. He gets scared of the voice coming from within. Another roar comes out of his throat. He chuckles in curiosity and fear. He thinks the monster inside him is coming out due to his uncontained anger. He just cannot control it, he keeps on roaring as he cries in pity and fear.

To his surprise, a bleat fades in with the gush of the wind from behind. It is mother goat trying to comfort him and thank him. All the while, mother goat was following them as they played and climbed unaware.

"Don't be sad because you're different," quips mother goat. "Unique, you are special. You will never be like any of us no matter how hard you try because you were born bigger, stronger, and faster. Thank you for doing your best to be one of us."

Unique’s sadness now melts to confusion as to why his mother goat is saying he is special and is thanking him. Before he talks in disbelief and further skepticism, mother goat tells him the truth—how she found him and who he really is.

"I love you that's why I brought you home and cared for you. I saw your goodness and potentials that's why I trusted you in a lot of things, including how gently and carefully you treat your brother goats, who belittle you and laugh at your differences," says mother goat.

"You are meant to do other things than what we are doing. Your brothers are surely better than you in doing our thing. Your roar will never be good enough a bleat. All this is because you are born for another thing. Listen to the beat of your heart, it is telling you who you are," added mother goat in assurance.

Unique brushes his face on the face of his mother goat. He is moved by the sincerity of his mother goat's words and the love she has shown him since the day he can remember.

Now Unique forgives his brother goats and friends, and most importantly, he forgives himself. He now embraces who he is and starts to unlearn his unfounded self-image as he begins to build a new self-image established on acceptance(of who he is), gratitude(for what he has), and forgiveness(for what his self-pity and insecurity made him to be).

"Go out in the open field, my son. Discover your voice, your strength, your beauty, and your role and place in the field," mother goat encourages Unique.

In gratitude and respect, Unique thanks mother goat and kisses her goodbye.

Unique checks, once more, his reflection on  the river. He practices his unsteady roar and runs and leaps as he reaches the vast open field. Unique feels the lightness and joy of being his own self. He now appreciates his strength, his size, and the purpose of the stripes of his coat.

Still in awe of his abilities and potentials, he realizes that the reason why his back ached as they climbed the mountain is not because he was lacking energy but because he never unloaded his "baggage" due to trumped up self-pity, insecurity, anger, and selfishness.

Now, as Unique accepts his whole being—both what he can and cannot do—he also gains self-respect.


Friends, go out, experience the world, and push yourself to the limit... Perhaps the reason why you feel awkward or your voice cannot be understood or others see you differently or you don't fit in is simply because you are different... Be bold. Your "bleat" will never be good enough if you are meant to "roar." Discover what you are made of, treat yourself as how you are to the eyes of your Creator, and grow where you should be. Seize the day as how He sees you!"


I am so happy I am here again! I have been very busy, happily busy, for the past few months that I was not able to write an article... I have a list of entries to write, though. I just need to buy time to sit and type. For now, enjoy the fable :-)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pork Barrel SideBar: Burning Unnecessary Fats

Greed allures one to obliviously live in the allegory of the cave, making one forget the beauty of light, authenticity, and freedom...

Janet Lim-Napoles is in the ridiculous conflict of being a victim, a medium, and a beneficiary. Whatever the real story is, the result of her choices and actions is just about to unfold.

Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is so hefty for a body whose task is primarily and generally to make laws. For me, PDAF should be abolished. The budget must be wisely rechannelled directly to the LGUs, educ/health/youth/livelihood/environmental projects, and marginalized groups and legit cooperatives of farmers and fishermen. Provided, there is a wise set of standard and safeguards for the budget allocation, project execution monitoring, and post-execution evaluation... Sadly, legislative is the one which can pass or approve such bills.

Whatever we say now, our remedy to our political diseases is found in elections itself. This is one of the reasons why we should know very well the candidates for public office and vote very wisely during elections.

For now, we are just spectators of the political exhibition and acrobatics.


The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
Ø  a lump-sum appropriation in the annual General Appropriations Act to fund the priority development programs and projects of the government; popularly known as “pork barrel”

Pork Barrel
Ø political largesse

Ø spending is subjective as opposed to “earmark”, which is an objective determination

Ø spending which is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes.

Ø originated in a pre-Civil War practice of giving slaves a barrel of salt pork as a reward and requiring them to compete among themselves to get their share of the handout. A barrel of salt pork was a common larder item in 19th century households, and could be used as a measure of the family's financial well-being (1919, Chester Collins Maxey).

Soft Pork Barrel
Ø non-infrastructure projects that are more in the vein of financial assistance like scholarships and livelihood programs.

Hard Pork Barrel
Ø projects or infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, school buildings, and the like.

House of Representatives (each Congressman, yearly)
Soft Pork Barrel Project: P30 million
Hard Pork Barrel Project: P40 million

Senate (each Senator, yearly)
Soft Pork Barrel Project: P100 million
Hard Pork Barrel Project: P100 million

Choices of Projects:
 1.        Education – scholarships
 2.        Arts and culture
 3.        Health – financial assistance to indigent patients, purchase of medical equipment
 4.        Livelihood/ social services
 5.        Housing
 6.        Rural electrification
 7.        Irrigation
 8.        Water supply – construction of water system, installation of pipes/pumps/tanks
 9.        Financial assistance – for specific programs and projects of LGUs
10.       Public works – roads, bridges, flood control, school buildings, hospitals, health facilities, public markets, multi-purpose buildings and pavements
11.       Peace and order – purchase of firetrucks and firefighting equipment, patrol vehicles, prisoners’ vans, multicabs, police patrol equipment, construction/repair of fire stations, police stations, jails
12.       Forest management

Monday, July 29, 2013

Managing Stress: Breathe and Start Living

Stress wreaks havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health. Stress narrows our capability to think clearly, enjoy life, and function effectively. It hampers us in our journey toward our goals.

Time flies so fast!

We are now in the second half of the year. I bet many of us need to reboot or refresh…

In the busy and fast-paced world we are living, stress, burn out, tension, strain are just some of the popular words we hear [and experience] almost everyday, may we be at work, in school, or even at home.

If we are living with high levels of stress, our entire well-being is being put at risk.

Stress wreaks havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health. Stress narrows our capability to think clearly, enjoy life, and function effectively. It hampers us in our journey toward our goals.

Difficulty is part of life, and this difficulty is the one that makes us feel stressed out. We cannot just shut “difficulty” down or be blind about its presence. The good news is, we can manage it!

Take charge of your stress! Do your best to prevent, reduce, and cope with stress.

The key to enjoy your life in the midst of hustle and bustle? EQUILIBRIUM. A balanced life.

Below are some of the easy-breezy strategies that can help you combat daily stress.

I. Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Managing stress is all about taking charge—of your thoughts, emotions, environment, and your manner of dealing with everyday difficulties.

a. Learn how to say “No”
Identify your limits and work around them. Accepting too much responsibility eats up most of your time and energy. Don’t spread yourself thinly; otherwise, your assets (skills, talents, and good attitude) will become your liabilities because your deliverables would become of less quality, or eventually you feel tired and abused, or your health could suffer.

b. Avoid people who stress you out
Limit the amount of time you spend with your emotional vampires, or those who consistently cause or bring you worry, anxiety, irritation, or complications. If you still cannot prevent them, handle them lightly and don’t allow them get into your nerves by just letting them be and just deal with them diplomatically (like if at work), and do your best to stay focused at what you need to accomplish at that very moment.

c. Take control of your environment
Think ahead. Figure out ways on how to deal with the situations that may arise when scenario A, B, C, or D happens. Don’t push yourself against the stress wall and be stuck, instead, find ways on how to climb it and get to the enjoyable side of life. “Preparation” reduces, if not totally eliminates, stress in every situation.

d. Avoid hot-button topics
If you get easily upset over a certain topic and you often find yourself arguing with people over it, just stop bringing that issue up or simply excuse yourself from the conversation to prevent conflicts that might burn you out.

e. Trim down your to-do list
Know your priorities and schedule your daily tasks accordingly. Distinguish between the “should” and the “musts”; and the “urgent” and the “important. Eliminate the unnecessary tasks. Don’t manage time for it will always be 24 hours a day; instead, manage your tasks efficiently and effectively.

II. Alter the Situation
If you cannot avoid a stressful situation, alter it! Figure out what changes you can do to reduce or prevent stress.

a. Express your feelings
If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your feelings honestly but courteously. Repressing your feelings tends to build up stress and might just complicate the situation. Conversely, opening up reduces your stress.

b. Be willing to compromise
If you want someone to change his attitude or behavior, be willing to meet half-way and change or adjust yours too. That person may also be experiencing something about you that he doesn’t like or agree with. Whether he is the only problem or not, doing your part will help you improve your social skills when learn the art of coping with people having a personality different from yours.

c. Be determined
Delay gratification. If you have something to do, stick to it. Be prepared and focused. If interruptions or distractions come your way, stand your ground by tactfully informing others what you need to finish or by abiding by first-things-first principle.

d. Take quick breaks
Don’t soak yourself in your work. It will not make you the Best Employee in town. Take quick breaks to stretch so blood will circulate well in your body or take a quick snack so your mind can refresh and be able to digest ideas or to release creative juices. During a “toxic” season, avoid overwhelming yourself. Break deliverables into manageable tasks, and do them systematically rather than one-time big time. Committing yourself to tasks that you cannot handle within the day will just affect the quality of your work and your mood.

III. Accept the Stressor and Adapt
Accept the things you cannot change and control. If you cannot control external factors, it’s okay! You can always manage the internal factor—you can choose to do better, feel better, and think better. You can better adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and your attitude.

a. Don’t force yourself to control the uncontrollable
Forcing yourself to control the uncontrollable (like the weather, the traffic, the mood of your boss, etc) will only create your burn out, and even fan the fire. Focus on the things that you can control and change.

b. Look at the bright side and from the upside
When faced with a problem, don’t focus on its inherent difficulty. Look at it as a good break to shine. Trials are opportunities in work clothes. Once you solve or overcome the problem, it will not only take you closer to your goal but will also reward you with good self-confidence and self-image.

c. Adjust your standard and attitude
Perfectionism is a major source of stress. Don’t be cruel to yourself and to others by expecting perfect results or the best quality of work all the time. Set reasonable and attainable standard for yourself and for others.

IV. Back to Basic
Refresh your outlook and reboot your system by going back to the heart of it all—yourself!

a. Nurture yourself
Dedicate one day a week for a really good rest day. Sleep like a baby. Relax! Do the things you enjoy and love. Have a good time with friends or simply have a “Me-time”. The important thing is you afford yourself a window time to recharge and appreciate your life.

b. Laugh
Keep a good sense of humor. Read funny articles, watch funny movies, or crack jokes with your friends. Loosen up and learn to laugh, even at yourself!

c. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Exercise regularly to allow your blood to circulate well and to stimulate your brain. Have a healthy diet so you feel  healthy and feel good about yourself. Get a good sleep.

Remember, life is a gift to be enjoyed and shared with your loved ones.

Take care of yourself and live a balanced life!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Accelerate: Go. Grow. Glow.

Accelerate your life. Constantly go to God and surely you will continuously grow in every area of your life and the people around you will see the glow in your heart.

Exhausted. Empty. Crushed. Confused. Broke. Insecure. Hopeless. Life is difficult!
Heavy words? Not anymore!

Now that we have encountered Jesus, we know that when we are being emptied it is because God wants to fill us with new and better blessings and when we are stretched, He just wants us to grow. So now, when life throws us dirt it’s okay. We simply shake it off, shake it off, and shake it off; and use it as a platform to step upon until we emerge victorious.

We are living in an era and area where almost everything is instant, where people are mobile, and where the demands and dynamics of daily life have evolved with time. At one point, we have become slaves of our work, unhealthy relationships, financial incapacity, family issues, personal insecurities, or other problems that dry our spirits.

We have become stray, hungry souls in the modern jungle of glass-and-steel skyscrapers of the present world.

Walking down the memory lane, our experiences a month, a year or years ago may bring pinch on our hearts, deep breaths, or tears in the corner of our eyes.

Thanks to our merciful and gracious Father Lord God, He called us in ways and times unexpected to give us new and better lives for us to do good and enjoy blessed lives. (He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. ~ Titus 3:5)

Through our transformation, the jungle turned into a mecca of love, care, and enlightenment that propelled us to do our best to become obedient to God’s word, to have better relationships at work and at home, and to be channels of God’s blessings wherever we go.

We now have new and better perspective about life and reinforced Christian values.

Breakfree! Move forward!

Whether by responding to a friend’s invitation, reconnecting with God due to necessity, or personally choosing to renew personal relationship with God, it is by no accident that we are transformed. We were all hand-picked by God and are now renewed in spirit and heart. It’s just up to us how we will remain in Him.

We are all works in progress!

Embrace your potential not your past. (But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, ~ Philippians 3:13).

“Your past does not define you. God can take all your imperfections, so don’t stay there,” shared by Randy Borromeo.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Remember the old days—what you were thinking of and how you were feeling.

Look at yourself now! People may know your transformation, but only you can truly tell how your life has changed. Perhaps, you have already moved forward and are now aware of your bigger and brighter life ahead.

When we listen to God’s word and make good use of our blessings—time, talent, and treasure—we feed our souls and nurture our life in general.

Accelerate your life. Constantly go to God and surely you will continuously grow in every area of your life and the people around you will see the glow in your heart.

Be Jesus’ torch-bearer. Listen to His voice. Respond to God’s call and reflect the light of Jesus’ wherever you go.

Accelerate your life! Move onward and upward.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spotting The Lighthouse: Clear About Your Desired Destination

Know what you want. Live up to your clear vision and work your way right through it. People are drawn to leaders who have compelling vision and help others forge their own visions, and who help others help themselves.

Growing old and growing up is much like commanding a ship through the vast ocean of life.

As we set out—to drift around or to purposely achieve our goals—our actions and decisions affect the lives of those who are on-board our ship (our families, friends, and even the strangers we meet somewhere). Our every action has ripple implications on the lives of others, whether we know it or not.

This power to affect others is what makes us an influencer, a leader, whether we like it or not.

Being a leader, we need to be clear about our visions and press on them no matter what; in the same way a ship captain needs to be clear about his destination and sail towards the flickering lighthouse, stormy or sunny.

We don’t need an official title, a crown, a salary, a cloak, or a badge to think of ourselves as real leaders or, subtly put, influencers.

A brother or sister who takes care of his/her other siblings is a leader. A teacher is a leader to her students. A traffic enforcer is a leader to a crossing pedestrian. And the most noble of all leaders, a parent who leads his/her family every single day.

You are a leader! When you decide to lead your own self to your new and better self, you are a leader.

When others see your transformation, these people who also want to become better naturally gravitate towards you.

Wisdom of Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” On the contrary, no one can stop someone who is clear about what he wants. People follow leaders who know exactly what they want.

In sailing through this life, we need people for various reasons: to help us adjust the sails when we get out of focus; to talk to when we feel crazy; to man the bridge when we have to take a break, among other things. When we dock for some pit stop, we need to deal with strangers or some new friends.

Simply put, whatever we do and wherever we go, we will be dealing with people and build relationship with them. The way we connect and relate with them could make or break our journey towards our destination, our goal.

Hence, before we set out for any destination or goal, it is very important that we prepare for the journey. Be clear on where you exactly want to go and when exactly you want to get there.

Some of our plans may be dispensable. But planning per se is indispensable if we are to precisely know our direction; get to our destination efficiently; overcome unexpected storms; to be responsive to emergency calls; and arrive at our port of destination safely.

Sail prepared and with clarity of vision.

Before pulling the anchor, we must know where the lighthouse is so we have a clear reference point of our destination as we sail off the coast.

To have clarity [in our lives], we need to remember and live up to three important things:

First, be clear about your vision (the what). Know exactly what you want. An effective leader is clear about his vision. If you don’t cast a clear picture of your future, you will be fixated on your past. God can take away your imperfections, so don’t stay there.

Second, be clear about your values (the why). Have your values intact. If you want to win the fight against temptation, you have to decide to win long before it arrives. Decision-making is hard only when you’re not clear about what is most important to you.

Third, be clear about your vehicle (the how). Show people how to do things right. Lead others by example. Live up to your clear vision and work your way right through it. People are drawn to leaders who have compelling vision and help others forge their own visions, and who help others help themselves.

If you are clear about your vision, values, and vehicle, people will naturally follow you.

Know what you want! You can be whoever you want to be. You can go wherever you want to go.

Be clear. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

As you begin you journey the challenge is, will you be a good influencer/leader to the people around you?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thinking Out Loud in My Boudoir: Escaping Reality

This will always be the reality and you can never escape it: you are in charge of your choices (mind) and your happiness (heart). Freedom is a gift. Reality is a guide. Do not escape freedom and reality.

When we were kids we wanted to grow old and assume responsibility, we were curious about a lot of things and wanted to try them.

Now that we are adults, we want to be like childrenconsciously or unconsciously. We want to be stress-free, problem-free. We want to be free from responsibility.

I remember just a little over the death of my father, my perspective of a lot of things changed and I started to become aware of many things, perhaps necessity dictated and demanded. I believe that was the first turning point of my life, and my “official growing up” was way too early, or so I believe.

Part of my new perspective then was that I should be grateful and excited when I recognize I have a trial. When I feel uncomfortable—pain, difficulty, negative emotion—I thought I had new things to be thankful for and to look forward to. I have new things to learn.

When I was a kid, trials or challenges or problems meant new experiences, new lessons, and wisdom.

As I (we) grow older, we think we have had learned more than enough about life, that we are better equipped after all the various experiences we have gone through in life. So we stop being interested about life and we start avoiding pains and stress brought by problems thinking we've had more than enough.

Little do we know that our knowledge of things, our mind map of our lives and our future, needs constant revision, and sometimes major revisions.

We all know that growth
in any area or aspect of our livesrequires pains and taking responsibility as we face our problems. Yet, most of us we ignore this obvious fact. As a result, we avoid responsibility and suffering.

What we don't realize is by avoiding responsibility and suffering, we either let our problems grow as we hide them and deny them, thinking they naturally go away; or we let others handle them for us.

By doing so, we either unconsciously pet our problem like growing a monster we're too scared of or we give away our liberty and control to decide for ourselves. Consequently, either way, we keep our problem and we hamper our own growth.

As adults faced with problems, we tell ourselves now:
1. It's all my fault, but I'm tired of this. I will let it be, anyway all this shall come to pass. (Blaming oneself)
2. It's his/her/their/this world's fault. I have no control over them. Why should I bother myself with his/her/its mess. The heck I care. (Blaming the world)

If we will not take the time to look at things or situations, we will not be able to identify the source of the problem and the significant problem we need to solve.

With our era, where everything is fast paced and new information is available everyday, we must be willing and deliberate in equipping ourselves with skills and knowledge to be able to keep up with time and grow with it.

Let us engage ourselves with our peers. Observe and learn from others.

Most importantly, nurture our relationship with our very own selves. Let us take the time to know ourselves better
—skills, weaknesses, strengths, potentials.

Let's live in the now. Face reality. Take accountability. Embrace and accept ourselves. Know, feel, and believe that we are valuable whether people around us perceive us as such or not.

One day we will be surprised, solving life's trials and managing our time for pain and pleasure becomes natural and easy for us. What will be more surprising is, we will naturally become more grateful, blessing expert, and happy persons.

When we know in our deepest fiber that we are valuable, then we start realizing our need for constant growth and the importance of taking hold of our freedom to choose and decide for ourselves are both indispensable parts of having a good life.

And the result?

We become more willing to experience pain and we become more open to new things because we know that through them we become capable of understanding and helping ourselves, and it's ripple effect is we become resilient, understanding of others, generous, and happier than ever... All because we grow and refresh our perspective.

There will always be people and situations that will make our lives difficult, and that's the reality. Our pains or discomfort will always be part of our lives as long as we breathe. Hence, we need to constantly recognize those which are necessary problems and unnecessary ones.

To do that, we must take time to spot the source of the problem; make ourselves comfortable with it; take reasonable time to study the necessary problem; focus; solve it; and learn from it.

Know you are no longer a child totally dependent, helpless, and problem-free.

Live and act your age. Enjoy your independence in deciding for yourself and utilize your control over whatever consequence your decision may breedpainful or joyful. Take responsibility.

Nonetheless, balance your life by acting your age yet enjoying that childlike gratitude, zeal about life, and courage.

This will always be the reality and you can never escape it: you are in charge of your choices (mind) and your happiness (heart).

Freedom is a gift. Reality is a guide. Do not escape reality and freedom.


Thinking Out Loud in my Boudoir is a column for some of my random thoughts that, perhaps, other ladies my age are also experiencing or thinking of—whether from same vantage point or another. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s just my own voice reverberating in my own world. I will do my best to discriminate my reason in this column, and just write spontaneously the first things and thoughts that a normal lady could think of. Just writing as I think...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sure, You Can Make It!

Intelligence and money are not reasons to pull you down or to hinder you from achieving your goals.


Sure, learning is a process.
Sure, maturity is a choice.
Sure, life is a constant voyage.
Sure, each of us is given built-in skills that will enable us to be better and to better enjoy this good life.
Sure, we are the captain of our own lives.

We can become whoever we want to be. Truly, we are not given equal amount of talents, skills, and other gifts gifts; but surely, we are all given the same amount of time each day—24 hours. Whether too long or too short for you, we can’t do anything to adjust its length.

Time is equally given to each of us—rich-poor, young-old, girl-boy, literate-illiterate, good-bad. 24 houts a day; 525,600 minutes a year. Period.

Time is fixed. But the good news is, we can diminish or increase its value by how we make choices and how we act upon our choices.

Learning and maturity should be directly proportional to our time alive, our age. But we all know that a big chunk of humanity is not a reflection of it. I’m not discounting myself.

If we look around, we will see many people who have become skilled and empowered in their chosen fields, and  some in the places they found themselves. However, there are more people who are otherwise or who don’t enjoy the lives they are entitled to enjoy.

We sometimes catch ourselves quipping, “She’s brilliant. I wonder why she ended up like that,” or “He’s diligent, but it seems he toils today to feed himself today so he can work tomorrow.”

(Setting aside those people who are able to get what they want because they know how to manipulate people for their own advantage, or see things as “delegation” when in fact they know in themselves that they intentionally make others do things for them, or get to finish a requirement by doing 20% of the work…)

The legit achiever knows four basic things: diligence, focus, responsibility, and sharing. The self-made achiever is like a house built on a rock, strong storm or raging flood comes, it stands firm. Wherever you put him, whatever you ask of him, whenever you need him, he can deliver well.

I. Diligence

Being diligent doesn’t require exceptional IQ. What one needs is only common sense and initiative. Being diligent is being able to discern what an ordinary prudent man would do in a specific situation.  Diligence is also the ability to delay gratification and do some a-little-tightening-here-and-a-loosening-there.

A diligent person would ask himself what shall I do first; what is the most efficient and effective way in doing this; will I bypass or disrespect or hurt someone; what degree of care is appropriate.

More than being industrious, a diligent person thinks of the implications of his actions before he executes his action plan. He eats first the icing before the cake, I mean, he does first the things he doesn’t like most so he can enjoy the rest of the day doing the things he likes.

II. Focus

A purpose driven and dedicated person knows his goal and he presses on it every single day. He knows where he should end up. Whatever the weather is—stormy or sunny; whatever kind of road he is taking—bumpy or smooth—his mind, feelings, words, and actions are all oriented to his goal.

A focused person is not discouraged or demoralized by trials or failures. Instead, he is fueled by his challenges. For him, another trial means another platform for him to stand on so he could see things from a better vantage point. He sees failure just as a delay to his goal or sometimes a detour so he may take a better path towards it.

Being focused is being able to see clearly what you want and seeing it steadily through layers upon layers of distraction.

III. Responsibility

Acceptance of responsibility is being open to challenges, pain, heartbreaks, and other uncomfortable emotions associated with growing up, achieving, and victory. Responsible persons know that trials, challenges, or problems don’t go away unless you yourself work through them, or else they will remain a hindrance to your growth and victory.

Some people deny to themselves the problems they encounter; others acknowledge the problems but do nothing about it hoping the problems will just go away. But the responsible person acknowledges his problems, sits down and studies each problem for a reasonable time, make an action plan, and face the problem properly—right time, approach, and means—based on his evaluation of the situation.

A responsible person knows that when he avoids the legitimate suffering that results from dealing with problems, he also avoids the growth that problems demand from him (Peck).

Learning is the twin of responsibility. As in taking on responsibility for what one feels, for what one ought to do, for whatever situation one finds himself, one will always surely learn whether he fails or succeeds.

A responsible person's mentality is, "Either you win or you learn."

IV. Sharing

An empowered person shares what he learns. An empowered person is someone who becomes who he is because of what he has gone through in his life. He has a personal account to share about his journey from rags to riches, or from being a victim to being the philanthropist, or from being the last to being the first, or being the nothing to being the superstar.

Having a first hand experience of the essential polishing in life—from thinking of a dream to being diligent to pursue his dream and making it a goal; to being focused and dedicated to his goal; to taking on the responsibility for every circumstance that leads him his goal—an empowered person knows the feeling and thoughts of one who is also driven to legitimately achieve their goals, which enables him to empathize and believe in them.

A small mind will tell one that his dream ridiculously difficult and he will not achieve it because of he is poor or he is not intelligent or he is ugly or he because he is who he is. But an empowered person will encourage one to pursue his dream, pray, and work hard and that if others can do it, he too can do it and may even do things better.

Sharing is a mechanism that multiplies and scatters good things in life. Sharing is the system which makes giving away good things come back in better packages, better quality, and sometimes more in quantity. Simply put, sharing makes good things last from generation to generation.

Whatever our statuses in life are or wherever we are and whatever we want to achieve, it is possible to achieve our goals if we are willing to do our part and focus our energy and resources on the goal.

Intelligence and money are not reasons to pull you down or to hinder you from achieving your goals.

Everyday, within 24 hours, do something that contributes to achieving your goals. If you want to be a teachers, entrepreneur, priest, lawyer, doctor, or corporate executive…

Think like one.
Talk like one.
Act like one.

What you think of, speak of, read about, or do in a day will make a difference in the quality and essence of your 24 hours and 525,600 minutes.

Dream. Believe. Feel. Receive. Thank. Share.

…and thank God for the each brand new day He gives you to become better, do better, and become step closer to your goal.

One sure thing, you can make it if you believe and want it.

Never underestimate your capacity and never underestimate God's power.

Pray and work hard! You can make it, I know!