Dinotrux or D-Structs

Dinotrux is an animated series in Netflix set at a prehistoric world inhabited by hybrid characters that are part dinosaur and part mechanical construction vehicle.  The story revolves around two leaders – Ty, a red Tyrannosaurus Trux, is the leader of the Dinotrux, and the evil Tyrannosaurus Trux named D-Structs.  Ty and his team focus on working together and building up structures that improve their living conditions while D-Structs destroys and wants the whole crater for himself.   My son Etan loves this series.  His collection of die cast Dinotrux characters is almost complete.

I believe in life there are just two sides: whether you are building or you are destructing.  In social media, you can see a lot of bashing, cursing, blaming and tearing people down.  At the same time, there are also people posting inspiring quotes, uplifting stories of hope and love.

When people bash, curse or blame, I hope people would think first and ask ‘What is it that I really want?’  And also ‘What do I want to happen for this person?’  Sometimes we are quick to say what we don’t want.  Maybe it is time to self reflect and know what do we want.

Bashing, cursing and blaming are cognitive distortions.  We bash because we think we are right and people are wrong.  Our belief, our religion, we believe is the only one and the rest are flawed.  We filter quickly based on our beliefs without understanding other beliefs. And your beliefs form your reality.  We bash because our reality is threatened.  We insist that what is real for us should remain real.  What we need to do is to open our mind and understand more.  Life is not about being right or wrong. It is just your ego that is telling you that you should be right always.

We curse because we believe life should be fair.  We believe that bad people should be punished and good people should be rewarded.  But the reality is life is unfair.  We have a merciful God.  Storms, typhoons wash away people without any regard whether they are robbers or priests.  Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.  Life is really unfair.  But then, why do we need it to be fair?  Let’s think about it.

We blame because we don’t want to take responsibility.  We don’t see ourselves part of one nation.  We’d rather sit on the sidewalk and tell our government how stupid they are, how our President speaks so lousy, everything about our government is wrong – except us.  We need to start owning up to our problems.  Stop blaming our government, your parents, your neighbor for your miseries.  You are poor, miserable and bitter because that is how you reacted to the things that happened to you.  Blaming is disempowering.  It disempowers you.  You are denying yourself the power to change.  And because you denied yourself, you stagnate.

Life is about love.  In the end, the only question we need to answer is ‘ how much love did we give?’  Building people up is love.  Telling people ‘kaya mo yan‘ is love.  Forgiving is love.  Understanding people is love.  Taking responsibility is love.  Spreading inspiring messages is love.  Every word we utter, every thought we cultivate, every act we do,  everyday, every moment is an opportunity to love.

The next time you post on social media or talk to anyone, don’t be D-Structs that tear people down but be Ty, the loving Dinotrux that builds people up.

Life Stewardship

People work hard to acquire the things that they need and want.  Work consumes most of our time to buy properties for our family, cars so that we can go to places we want to go, we build businesses to create wealth, etc.

We take pride on the things we have but the truth is, none of these we can bring when we die.  This makes us stewards not owners of the things and wealth that we created.

I find this fascinating because the more I understand this concept, the more I understand that we have nothing to lose.  If we have nothing to lose then why are we so afraid in doing the things we need to do?

By accepting that we are all stewards, the focus shifts to management not on ownership.  If we think in terms of ownership, we tend to keep it to ourselves, put boundaries and barriers.  But if we think in terms of management, we will think of optimization, rationalization, sustainability, and succession.  We will ask questions like: how can I take care of the blessings that have been entrusted to me?  How can I use my time, talent and treasure in order for those who are in the dark will see the light, those who are hungry will be fed, those who are insecure will have confidence, those who seek for love will realize that they have been and always will be loved.

We all came into this world naked and we will all die naked.  We are all passers by.

French-born American missionary, Etienne de Grellet, once said, ” I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.  Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Don’t wait for tomorrow to come.  Today is a great time to be a brave steward.


Fulfillment and Happiness

For many of us, there is nothing special about eating french fries. It’s a staple, it’s so ordinary. But not for my son, Etan. Everytime he eats french fries, it’s like his first time to eat it. He would sway his head as he eats them, he would dance, he would do all sorts of crazy moves while he devours the oily potato.

If you are a parent, I’m sure your kids do that too. I believe children behave joyfully because happiness is built in. You do not pursue something that is already built in.

There was that movie ‘the Pursuit of Happyness’ that perhaps made a lot of people think that they should pursue happiness.

Happiness is a choice that you can choose anytime, anywhere. It should not be dependent on anything, more so to something that you are not in control of. Many people would require things to happen before they tell themselves to be happy. You will only be happy when you get a promotion, when you close that big deal, when you travel abroad, when you have a fat bank account, when your crush smiles at you, etc.

If you have any of these as a requirement to be happy, I urge you to stop because you will never find it. You will forever be in a vicious cycle of wanting it more. This is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people are miserable.

Happiness is in the journey, not the destination.

I used to have this mentality and it really ruined me. When I was growing up, right at time when I was in college and at the start of my career, I was hungry for attention and validation. I would beat myself to work, learn this, learn that and constantly looking for ways to be validated as a human being. I was driven, I am still driven. But the difference between then and now is the why. Then, I was driven because I was seeking for pleasure – I want to buy things to make me happy. But now, I am driven because I want to help people have better lives. I have so much love to give because God loves me so much. I can’t really help it. I am bursting with love that I am compelled to help people see and feel the love of God.

Instead of pursuing happiness, what we need to pursue is Fulfillment.

Fulfillment is growth seeking. We grow in maturity and character when we pursue fulfillment. Pursuing fulfillment makes you look at the future with faith as opposed to pursuing happiness which is anchored on fear.

(To be continued. Please leave your comments below. If you like this blog, please share to your friends.)

The Boring Stuff

Millions of people love American Football. Two years ago I was in Moscow, Idaho to visit my sister in-law and in one of those days in that trip, the local team was in town and was playing the Washington State. Boy, you can feel the love and enthusiasm of the people for the sport because everywhere you go, the people are tuned in to their TV set or to live streaming.

Another sport that is very populat is Cricket, national sport of India. I’ve been rubbing elbows with Indians for the past three years because of my engagement in a software implementation project and everytime we find ourselves in a casual talk, they always insert in the discussion how this team won the Cricket game. They share the story as if they literally watched the game and without regard whether I am a fan of the sport or not.

You see, no matter how interesting these sports are, how many people would even die for their favorite teams, I find these sports boring. I find them boring because I don’t understand the games and how they are played. There is nothing wrong with American Football and Cricket, there is something wrong with my understanding.

For many years, I also found the Holy Mass boring. I used to question why we always pray the same prayers, why do priests (except for a very few) give boring sermons, why do we need to eat the bread, and so on.

In later years as I studied the Bible more often and understand what it really means to be Catholic, my world just suddenly opened and learned how rich the Catholic faith is. I learned that there is nothing wrong with the Holy Mass or the priests are not boring, there was something wrong with my understanding. Now, I always look forward to attending the Mass.

If you find somebody or something boring like the Holy Mass, maybe you just need to take time and understand it well, or if it is a person, take the time to know the person more. In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Habit number 5 states that we shall seek first to understand, then to be understood. There is a reason why we have two ears and one mouth.

Life is so (raised to the nth power) abundant and rich just like the Catholic faith. There is so much you can do. Take a pause from the daily grind, open your eyes to the richness of life and you will find out that there is no way life can be boring.

Do It Afraid

I started reading voraciously when I was in college, some 30 years ago. A little bit late based on the standards of many. I read books on biographies, psychology, history, self-help, finance, marketing, business and other non-fiction books. I have four courses under me – Accounting, Advertising Arts, IT and Supply Chain. All these wealth of knowledge and information for years, I just kept it to enrich my life. But at the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to share what I know. What prevented me from doing it were the fear of rejection and the fear of making mistakes.

Before, I used to think that you have to be an ‘expert’ in a field before you start sharing. To be an ‘expert’ in a field means you need to have Masteral and Doctorate degrees, amassed riches, or authored books and spoken to thousands of people.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer like my father and my brother Rommel. I admire authors and their works. I like the idea of how they are able to communicate and inspire a lot of people. To be a writer, I figured then that you have to be effective with the use of your language of choice and your grammar must be impeccable. I looked for clues if writing was for me. Back then, I didn’t have any references that could push me to pursue writing. In school, I didn’t do well in Grammar and English, I wasn’t part of the Newsletter Club and nobody really encouraged me.

I had all these requirements in mind.

Then I heard the story of Bro. Bo Sanchez and how he started as a preacher. He started preaching when he was 12 years old. He also shared that during time, he wasn’t a good preacher. He started with only 20 people in the audience, most of them were his relatives. But as he honed his talent and skill, he got better and better and better. Now, Bro. Bo preaches to thousands every week and millions are following him to hear him speak.

When the disciples of Jesus travelled by twos and started preaching the Word of God, they were still afraid. But they did it anyway.

It is good that you need to prepare before you take the plunge. You have to do your homework. But don’t overdo it. I have learned through the years that nothing happens if you don’t act on it.

I started writing and sharing what I know because I feel this is what God wants me to do. Occasionally, I am still haunted by the thought that my grammar may not be impeccable, my use of language may not be effective. But now, I am comforted by the truth that perfection in form is not the point why I am writing.

I am writing to share with you how God is working in my life. I am a work in progress and will always be.

I am still afraid every time I publish my blog. But I do it anyway because I realized life is not about me. If I have inspired just one soul because of something I wrote, then I have fulfilled my “why”.

Three Essential Factors in Achieving Abundance

In John 21, Peter and John , the apostles of Jesus, with some friends went out fishing. They fished for the entire day and caught nothing. When night was about to fall, Jesus stood on the beach but they didn’t know it was Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Children do you have any fish? ” They answered “No.”. Then Jesus replied,”Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it there, and they were unable to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

In this classic biblical story, there are three essential factors in achieving abundance:

1. Do not journey alone. In the story, Peter did not go fishing alone. He brought with him John and their friends. My guess is that he brought with him his friends so that they could share the catch, perhaps grill the fish and eat together.

In business or in any endeavor, life is more meaningful if you journey with somebody. Jesus did not hop from one city to another preaching alone. He had 12 friends with Him. Every successful person has a supportive team behind him. No matter how intelligent and talented you are, you need a team to back you up. You don’t need to do everything even if you can. The genius is in sharing the load.

2. Be Humble. The men didn’t know it was Jesus standing on the beach. To them it was just another stranger yet they listened and tried what the stranger suggested. We have to remember that Peter was a seasoned fisherman. And probably his friends too. He was an expert in fishing. It was his livelihood. You could imagine how good Peter was. But even with his credentials, he still listened to a stranger.

There is a divine reason why we have two ears and only have one mouth. One of the greatest authors of all time, Stephen Covey wrote in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, that habit number 5 is to seek first to understand, then to be understood. What I have learned recently from a client of mine is that it is best to check if you understood things correctly before giving your opinion. And that’s all what we need. It doesn’t really matter whether you are right or wrong. All we need is to be validated.

3. Interrupt your Pattern. How does your weekly pattern look like? Does it give you the results that you want? Maybe you have been working all week long yet you still fall short with your budget. If this is the case, you may want to interrupt your spending pattern or maybe you need to interrupt how you do business. Or maybe you have a work that is financially rewarding yet it consumes all of your time that you have no time to be with your family. You have to be willing to try a different way of living. You may want to cast your net on the other side of the boat.

You need to make time to evaluate your current situation. Ask yourself, if you continue to do what you are doing now, what results do you think will you get? If the answer is satisfactory to you, then you continue what you are doing. If not, then you know you need to change something.

Do not journey alone, be humble and interrupt your pattern are three essential factors you need to achieve an abundant life.

Pain and Pleasure

Best-selling author Tony Robbins once wrote that the force that continuously compel us to do what we do is either out of the need to avoid PAIN or our desire to gain PLEASURE. With this, each one of us is capable of making change instantly.

Maybe you are already suffering from diabetes, obesity or any medical condition yet you still eat rice, lechon or any food that is detrimental to you. Maybe you have experienced financial loss yet you seem to be doing the same things that made you a loser. Maybe you have a kid and you know that demand for money will increase as he will be going to school soon, but still you can’t seem to force yourself in looking for ways to augment your income.

Why and what is the solution for this?

Why.The reason why these things happen because you allow Pain and Pleasure to use you rather than you using Pain and Pleasure to control your life. If you want to take control of your life, you have to understand this. If not, you will be in reactionary mode for the rest of your life. What are the signs? If procrastination is your favorite pastime. Procrastination is you know what you are going to do yet you don’t do it. Why not? Because doing it now is more painful than putting it off.

Take smoking for example. If you are a smoker, you know that smoking is bad for your health. Isn’t the graphic on the pack enough to tell you that it is BAAADD for your health? Isn’t it enough to tell what smoking can lead you to? Instead, they rationalize their habit: it makes them more creative, it calms them, it makes them cool,.. maybe these are true. But the real, undeniable truth is you will suffer from lung cancer or any pulmonary disease. Smokers know this already. The reason they still don’t stop because they haven’t experienced it yet. They wait for it until they feel putting it off becomes more painful.

What. You use pain and pleasure to shape your destiny. You need to link images or thoughts to pain and pleasure to fuel change. What do I mean?

I am overweight by about 30 pounds. My problem is I love to eat. I have not just sweet tooth but sweet teeth. I love cakes, muffins. My favorite is Krispy Kreme and Max’s fried chicken with rice. Mentioning them already makes my stomach hungry. Just yesterday I ate two original glazed doughnuts. Can’t resist. Ok so how will I lose the excess weight?

This is my plan. Everytime I see rice, cakes, fried food, I will link images of pain such as the pain of not fitting into that slim fit jeans I have been wanting to wear, the pain of not able to run around and play with my boy in the park, the pain of not living long enough to see my boy grow up and become the successful person we have always wanted him to be. I will zero in on these images in my mind instead of focusing on the short term pleasure I will get from eating.

In my plan, I will be using pain as my friend versus the pleasure I get from eating. Because the force is stronger when the food is already in front of you, it would greatly help to ask for support from the people around you. In our household, I already asked our cook not to cook rice and prepare as much as possible vegetables and soup. Get an Accountability Partner. It’s hard to go to the gym alone. The Accountability Partner is your gym buddy. You go to the gym together. With your partner, going to the gym is not hard anymore.

We all have dreams in our hearts. Take time to know what they are and have the courage to pursue them. Take control of your life. Reorganize your life if you need to. Ask God for help and He will be sending a throng of angels to you.

God never fails.

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.

Tough Love

Do you know how eagles teach their young how to fly?

First, Papa Eagle builds a nest made of strong twigs and sharp thorns and covers them with soft grass to make it comfortable.  Not contented, Mama Eagle would pluck her own feathers to add more comfort. Several times, food are just brought to the kids without them lifting a feather.  Whenever there is a storm, Mama Eagle would just spread her enormous wings to cover her young.  What a beautiful life for the eaglets.

But then, when it’s time for the eaglets to learn to fly, life is about to drastically change.  First, Mama Eagle stops bringing food.  The eaglets would cry for hunger, ‘Mommy, Mommy’ and nothing seems to be heard.  Next, Mama Eagle would then remove the soft grass and every comfort in the nest allowing the thorns to be exposed, pricking the sensitive skin of the eaglets. ‘Ouch!’ The young eaglets cry. Then nightmare starts.  Mama Eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest.  The little ones would insist on coming back to the nest but they will be pushed again until they fall off the cliff, ten thousand feet above the ground. Down, down they go.  Before they hit the ground, Papa Eagle swoops down and catches them and brings them back to the nest.  Before the eaglets catch their breath and figure out what had just happened, Mama Eagle would kick them out again until they figure out the message and start flapping their wings.  Soon, the eaglets are confident and soaring along with their proud parents.

Parents who shield their kids too much from the realities of the world are preventing their kids to grow their wings and be able to fly on their own.  As parents, we need to understand that tough love doesn’t mean loving less.  If Mama Eagle listened to the cries of her young when they were struggling to learn how to fly and instead stopped the training and cuddled them, the eaglets will grow up to be like chickens.  If you prevent them from experiencing pain, you are depriving your child’s necessary steps to grow and eventually become dependent all his life.

If you want to eat an egg, regardless if you want it hard-boiled, sunny side up, or omelet, what do you do first?  First, you break the egg.  Why? Because you don’t want to eat the shell.  Nobody eats the egg shell.  Seriously, why? Because the best part is what is inside the shell.

If you want to eat an orange, what do you do?  First, you chop it.  Then you squeeze it in order it’s juice to come out.

Plants need pruning.  Fire shapes metal.  Sculptors chisel and hammer the stone to create their masterpiece.

The pattern of going through pain first in order to grow and be blessed is incredibly embedded in the fabric of life.

I know of some people who came from close-knit families, went to good schools, resources are within reach yet they are failing in life.  Common reason why they are failing, is because they have very protective parents.  They are just so afraid to try.  They don’t want to come out of their shell.  In spite of the blessings they have, all you hear from them are rants why life is so hard.

I am a parent to a two year kid.  I know the instinct to protect and to pamper.  Between my wife and I, I am the more protective one.  Every time our son throws a tantrum and would lie on the floor and cry, I have the tendency to pick him up and cradle.  But knowing that it would not help him in the long run, I would inhibit myself, leave the scene and let my wife handle him.

If you are a parent, allow your kids to fail.  Allow your kids to commit mistakes, to be hurt, to lose.  It is in these moments that their character is tested and shaped.  Just be there with them.  Your presence is all they need.

If you have been too much protected as a child, life is not yet over.  Have the courage to try things out and reach for your dreams.  Fear is an illusion.  Failure is but a step to success.

If you are going through some pain now, if you think you are being squeezed to the point of suffocation, have faith, be patient, be still, because the best part is what is inside the shell.

Three Simple Steps to Success

If you think about it, achieving success is very simple. It only takes 3 simple steps.

1. Know what you want

2. Know the price to achieve it

3. Go pay the price

That’s it. If achieving success in life is this simple, how come there a lot people linger in poverty?

I believe there are a lot of people who don’t know what they want in life. I have talked to a lot of young people who just graduated from college and they don’t know what they want. Many of them can only see the short term. They know that they need to work, buy branded clothes and gadgets, eat out with friends, travel, and so on. Before the pay date, they are broke then they get paid and then they go through the same cycle again. Before they know it, they have wasted a lot of time and energy.

You need to know what you want in life. You have to think long term. If you don’t know what you want in life, disrupt your routine, take a break and go meditate. Try to figure that out. Read books. Follow my blog.

There are also people who already know what they want in life but don’t really know what price they need to pay to achieve it. My tip for those who already know what they want, get to know some people who already have what you want. Get to know their habits, their routine, their character, what makes them tick.

Lastly, a lot of people stay in poverty because they don’t want to pay the price. People only see the pain, not the prize. People only see the barrier, not the paradise. My tip, place a picture of your dream on your desk, as your screen saver, or near your bed. The key is to be reminded about the prize, and hopefully you will forget the pain.