A Free Man or a Slave

The Philippines was under the Spanish rule for 333 years, 45 years under the Americans and 3 years under the Japanese. It has been 72 years since we won our freedom. Now the question is, are you a free man or a slave?

If we are indeed free men, why is it that over 90% of our population live below the poverty line? Why is it that one out of five marriages fail? Is it enough to be recognized as a nation with laws and rules of our own? Does freedom for us Filipinos only mean NOT to be under the rule of someone else?

You only need one thing for you to be a free man. And that one thing is honor.

1. A free man honors his commitments.

If you are married, you would agree with me that marriage is tough because it is a lifetime commitment. As a husband and a father, I am committed to provide for my family, to love and cherish them as long as I live. Those are words spoken during the wedding but many do not realize the huge responsibility behind those words. This is the truth. Best-selling author and world-renowned Catholic lay preacher, Bro. Bo Sanchez once said, the biggest problem of the world today is the lack or absence of parenthood. Most of the crimes today are done by people who came from broken families, who have parents who are drug addicts and drunkards or were beaten, molested, or abandoned by their parents. To be responsible for another life is a big thing. Here in the Philippines, it is our custom for men to ask for the hand of our wife in marriage. What it basically means is that we are telling our future in-laws that we are ready to sacrifice to give their daughter a better future. My brother Rommel once told me that as the head of the family and a provider, you need to provide at least the basics. Basics include food, clothing and shelter. Jewelries are already extra, but never forget the basics.

That is being a provider. But you see, being a husband and a father goes beyond providing for your family. You need to outdo everyone in showing love. You need to lead in the contest of love.

I believe a lot of marriages fail because a lot of fathers still behave like boys. They are not courageous enough to face their responsibility as a husband and as a father. They build barriers made of fear rather than conquering them. They never outgrew their issues.

I used to be ashamed of my failures in the past. Now, I realized that for every failure that I made is a plus to my courage. Every time you try moving out of your comfort zone, whether it results to failure or success, is an attempt to make life better.

Another example of commitment is how you regard your debts. If you have debts, you need to honor them by paying them. Do not hide from your creditors. Be a man and face them. If you don’t have money yet to pay them, think of a plan on how to pay them and show up. Don’t ever think your creditors will forget about them because they never do.

2. A free man honors other people.

We are a nation that is part of the world with many other nations. Each with their own laws, culture and tradition. A free man respects and understands freedom of other people. A free man makes other men free. A free man is a leader not a ruler. A leader guides and paves the way for other people to find their light. A ruler insists his light is the only one. Diversity is what makes life interesting.

3. A free man honors God.

God made us human beings with free will and capable of making rational decisions. If we are made to follow whatever life throws at us, then God should have made us robots. We are made in His image and likeness. I believe God wants us to create, to lead and to live.

God wants us to create, or to make things happen. We need to act on our dreams. God wants us to lead. By letting your light shine, you unconsciously liberate others. God wants us to live, not be lived.

Your life is God’s greatest gift. By letting your light shine is a way of honoring God.

What is it to be a slave?

In computers, a slave hard drive just waits for commands or triggers from another program. It is not capable of creating an event. The computer can function without it. But take note that slave hard drives have the same specifications or features with master hard drives.

Slave people hide from the truth. They hide from their responsibilities. They have no direction in life. It is not that they are incapable, they just don’t seek for the truth. These are people who are enslaved by their own fears.

Last holy week, I was in a retreat at SMX, and the whole message of the retreat was to go Deeper: to go deeper with our relationship with God and with our families. I also believe that the message also meant that being good is no longer enough. We need to step out of our comfort zone and help those in need. If you were blessed to have good education, it is time to rise. There are a lot children that need to be cared for and to be loved. There are over 90% of the population still live in poverty. People who need guidance. People who need to believe that there is light in them waiting to shine.

Step out of your comfort zone and you will be surprised there is so much you can do. If you don’t know where to start, start with your family.

Predict your Future

Albert Einstein once said, ‘Imagination is more important that knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

A lot of people believe that visionaries are only the CEOs, company directors, the presidents, and the people on the executive level.

No. I believe all of us are visionaries. We are not just visionaries, I believe that we are prophets also. I believe this is so because all of us have the gift of imagination. Our imagination is so powerful that it creates our future. The future that we will live is the sum total of all the imagination of the people today.

Let me tell you why you are a visionary and a prophet.

First, let’s do a little exercise. Imagine what will happen in the next hour? Can you predict with such accuracy? Think about it for a minute.

Done? If you can imagine what will happen in the next hour and with great accuracy that means you are a visionary and a prophet.

Let’s break it down. I will take myself as an example. For the next hour, I’m done writing this post and I will be eating my breakfast together with my family. How did I know?

My mind is quick to consider my pattern and the patterns of the people around me. It considers the time and the activity I am currently doing which is writing this post. So my mind is going into my memory bank and takes into account that the last time I wrote in the morning, immediately after, I ate my breakfast. My mind is also getting some signals from my grumbling tummy. And how can I tell that I will be eating together with my family? My mind goes again to my memory bank, normally my wife and my son comes down by 8 in the morning.

So there you go, I just predicted my future and I am sure you can do the same.

When you are done, try imagining later. Then tomorrow. Then next week. Then next month. Then next year. Before you know it, you can imagine what will happen 5 years or 10 years from now.

The elements that you need in imagining the next hour is the same as the elements you need in imagining 5 years from now.

In my example, assuming I don’t like the outcome which is eating breakfast with my family, then I need to do something different like leaving the house and play basketball. What happens is, our minds consider previous patterns and current signals and gives you suggestions. If you don’t like what your mind suggests, you have the power to choose not to react and alter the outcome.

CEOs and presidents of companies are oftentimes regarded as the visionaries. It is true because it is part of their jobs.

But you see, all of us are CEOs. We are the CEOs and presidents of our lives. You are responsible for your future. Don’t blame anyone if your future is not what you wanted. Blaming is for losers. You are a winner. You need to believe in yourself.

I will give you a tip. Look back 5 years of your life, reflect on your schedule, what activities did you put your time into? Who did you hang out most often? What stimuli did you respond most? Now, consider where you are now. If you like where you are now then just continue what you are doing. If you think there are certain areas in your life that needs improvement, then you need to change those patterns. If not, chances are, you will be where you are now, 5 years from now.