Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So You Want to Know the Road to Your Success

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; turn your foot from evil.”   Proverbs 4:25~27

Last Friday, I filed a leave from work for a day to support my children during their school’s foundation day celebration. It was tough decision because the deadlines of my work deliverables were closing down on me like burning arrows falling from the sky.  

Everyday we arrive at a crossroad and we have to decide which way to go. At work, I usually run into crossroads like should I attend this meeting or do something else, should I work on the contract manufacturer’s concern first or do design stuffs instead, and on and on. At home, I run into crossroads like these: should I take my wife to a date or should we just stay at home to save money, should I assist my children with their school work or do my personal stuffs instead, and the list goes on.

I am pretty sure that you have your long list too.

The thing is, oftentimes we are so used to our everyday crossroads that we tend to become complacent and act in autopilot – we think less and react more. This is usually when mistakes and errors of judgment are made. The good news is, every time we make a wrong turn, God provides us with a small path back to our main path, though we still have to face the consequences of our misjudgment. But if again we choose the wrong path then we get farther and farther away, and the road back to our main path gets narrower and narrower.  

So where’s your main path?

The main path is where your dreams lie. It is who you want to become, and where you want to be down the road.

I believe the reason why many people are not getting anywhere in relation to their dream is because everyday they make small choices away from their main path. Still others don’t get anywhere because they have no dreams at all. They have nowhere to go.

Let’s take the case of Christopher Gardner. He and his son were abandoned by his wife. Not only that, he was broke. Since he couldn’t pay the rent, he got evicted. So he and his son slept in a public toilet and in the streets most of the time. However, he had a dream; a ticket out of their misery – he wanted to become a stockbroker. One day, he was offered an internship at Dean Witter for six months, but without pay and without assurance of getting hired. At that particular moment, Mr. Gardner was on a crossroad. He could accept the offer or go somewhere else. Why wait for six months when you have a toddler to take care of? But Mr. Gardner thought that his dream was worth it, so accepted the offer and worked his heart out. Had he not, he would have taken a detour. Now He is a CEO of his own stockbrokerage, Garner Rich and Co. And his life was portrayed in the movie, In Pursuit of Happyness.

Let’s examine the case of Carlito (not his real name). Carlito finished computer science. Immediately after graduation, a company offered him a job as a bill collector. Carlito was on a crossroad. Should he accept the offer which means instant job or should he patiently seek a career in software programming. At that time, he wasn’t really sure what he wanted in life, and he was more concerned with the unemployment statistic, so he accepted the job offer. Years later, when a career in software programming became a lucrative career, Carlito wished he chose the other path. Now he is trying to find a way back to where he wants to be. My belief is, if he can emulate the examples of Christopher Gardner, he should. Mr. Gardner showed us that if you really and badly want something on a consistent basis and go for it with your guts out then you shall have it. It won’t be easy though.

So how to stay on your main path?

To get to where you want to be, you have to make small ‘right’ choices every moment. You have to choose the right path no matter how narrow or small it is every waking second.

According to Tony Robbins, we make three basic decisions every moment of our life that shapes our destiny: (1) What do you gonna focus on? (2) As you are focusing on, what does it mean? (3) What am I gonna do?

In practical application, it means that before you choose your path, pause. Focus on who you want to become or where you want to be down the road before you decide to do something or say something. Ask yourself, “If I do this, will it take me down to where I want to be?” Then choose to interpret the events as they unfold in your life in a way that will help you grow in strength and confidence, not put you down. And finally, act. Move towards your goal, not away from it. Don’t allow difficulties and fears to paralyze you. Do this religiously and you’re on your way.

However, there are deeper questions that need to be answered by each of us: “Is my main path the right path? Is my dream the right dream? Am I pursuing my dream the right way?”

God gives us free will, the freedom to choose our destiny – a wonderful privilege yet dangerous when misuse. So in life you have basically two main paths before you – God’s way, and the other way. A blessed life happens when your way aligns with God’s way. Otherwise, you may have abundance and pleasure, yet your life is empty. You find no satisfying meaning or purpose at all.

So now we get to the main crossroad in the road of life. Should we follow God’s way or should be go the other way?

In the other way, being strong and courageous is enough to get anywhere. But in God’s way, it’s not. You need to be righteous as well, knowing what is right before the eyes of God and doing it. In short, you have to have faith in God and in His goodness.

Now it’s time to choose. But before you do, pause for a moment. See the crossroad before you – God's way, and the other way. Feel the wind that blows against your face. Then ask yourself, “Is my ultimate goal the life now or the life after? Am I to live for my body alone or for my soul as well? Do I want to spend eternity with my Creator or with the enemy?” Now put your palm above your eyes and look far, far ahead down each road. I tell you, each way will lead you to two distinctly opposite places and makes you into two distinctly opposite being. Now close your eyes and listen to that faint voice inside your heart. What does it say? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Your Powers to Success

“Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." Genesis 1:26

I was a loser!

As a young child growing up in Mabolo, I can still remember vividly the day I attempted to climb the stairs of the two-storey poultry farm of our rich neighbor. (We were squatters in a vacant lot close to it.) I waited until nobody was watching, and then I slowly crawled my way going to the second floor. Two or three treads away from the top, I chickened out and reluctantly went down back to where I started. I was afraid of height.

Losing is not when you are stuck against a wall and can’t seem to find a way around it. It’s when you retreat back to your shell, and quit. I had my share of failures. More than I want.

Why we fail? Aren’t we created in God’s image and likeness? God is definitely not a loser, right? So why?

Sin has everything to do with it. When Adam and Eve were created, they were like pure, sparkling water put inside a crystal clear glass; they were perfect. They were created to rule all over earth. Yet, they both erred in one of their gifts or powers – their will. When they disobeyed God, it was like oil was poured into that glass. Purity gone, power diminished. In effect, they surrendered their inherited kingdom, this world, to Satan. (Not to scare those who do not realize it yet, but Satan rules this world ever since the fall. But God promised that it will end…)

Yet everything is not lost. Man may not be the ruler of the world anymore, but God still created us to become winners in our own right by giving us innate powers or gifts. And one of the reasons that we lose in life is because we either ignore our gifts or don’t use them properly.

What are these gifts from God that can help us succeed?

You have the power to choose. You can choose to succeed or to fail, you can choose life over death. It’s your choice. The gates of hell can’t force you to do anything if you choose not to. Even God listens and respects your choice. You are not really exercising your power if you allow others to choose for you or if you allow your circumstances to force you to choose the wrong choices. Choose what you know if right before the eyes of God, and you can’t go wrong.

Your brain can do a lot of wonderful stuffs for you such as creating ideas, learning new things, solving problems, and weighing your options. If you want to succeed in all areas of your life you 'must' use your brain, and avail of all its incredible functions. Don’t allow other people to think for you; do you own thinking. You can access the knowledge of others, but it is your duty to yourself to filter the information that you received – store what is right and useful, throw away the garbage. In the end you are responsible for your own actions no matter what are your excuses.

I am not necessarily referring to the fist-size organ in your chest, but your ability to feel emotions, and understand the emotion of others. With this power you can relate to others in a deeper level. You are not using this power if you ignore your own feelings and that of others.

We use our words to communicate with each other. But there's more to it. God created the world with His words. Since you are created in the likeness of God your words are powerful too. It’s like a stone thrown into still waters; it creates ripples of blessings or curses. The only thing is that most of us do not see its impact into our life or the life of others specially our love ones. We see it everyday so we take it for granted. Here’s a very obvious example. Express your appreciation sincerely to someone you know. Or curse and berate someone close to you for a mistake he or she did. What do you think will happen? I can tell you with certainty that this person will ‘do’ something in response to the words you released even long after you have forgotten it. And the effects could even last for years.

The power of the words is that it begets result, sooner or later. So choose your words wisely.

I am not necessarily referring only to your two hands, but to your overall ability to transform ideas into tangible things; your ability to create something meaningful and useful from thoughts. You are not using this power if you procrastinate or if you are being lazy.

Your sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing give colors to your world. In effect, you can create colorful and wonderful ideas which when work upon by your hand will produce something beneficial and useful to you and to others. You are misusing this gift if you numb yourself by alcoholism, by substance abuse, and by other excesses that distort your senses. God wants you to create beautiful things, so take good care of your senses.

This is your innate ability to do a particular activity easily. Most often than not, you do it instinctively or you just feel your way easily. If you are good in singing then sing, if you are good in teaching then teach, and so on and so forth. Spend your time and energy developing your skills. Don’t be stubborn and try to be someone God did not cut you out to be. Know your talents and flow into that direction. Most important of all, use your talents to express your love to God, to yourself and to others. Not just yourself because that would be a misuse of your talent. It could be as bad or even worse than ignoring your talents altogether.

God wants us to succeed not just in the physical aspect which sad to say it what most of us only see, but most importantly, in our spiritual life. I am sure because I am a father myself, and I can say without blinking that I only want what’s best for my children. I want them to be successful when they grow up. How much more is our Father in heaven who is all good and holy?

Friends, when we are three treads away from our success and a defiant wall stood in front of us. Don’t quit. Your Father in heaven is there in your side, encouraging and cheering you up. He is also urging you to use your innate powers that He has bestowed upon you since birth. Please be a good child and obey…you don't have to be a loser. You can be a winner!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Your Ultimate Guide to Success

There are so many words spoken about success by experts. So many books have been written about it. These books sold along with the audio tapes and CD’s because until now man is still searching for the Holy Grail of success.

The truth is that the Holy Grail of success is right under your roof, in a shelf covered with dust. That’s right. The Holy Bible is the Ultimate Guide to success. He who thinks that the bible is only about spirituality will be in for a surprise. Allow me to highlight a few passages to make my point.

Success in Marriage
“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:21~33

“When you see a good-looking woman, look the other way; don’t let your mind dwell on the beauty of any woman who is not your wife. Many men have been led astray by a woman’s beauty.” Sirach 9:8

Success in Parenting
“Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.” Ephesians 6:4

“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24

Success in Relationship
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

“A gentle answer quiets anger, but harsh one stirs it up.” Proverbs15:1

“Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose.” James 1:19~20

Success in Health

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27

 Success in Business and Wealth
"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 3:8~11

“…judging even godless people fairly, sharing expenses with your business partner or a traveling companion, sharing an inheritance, using accurate weights and measures, making profit, whether great or small, bargaining with a merchant… …” Sirach 42: 2~5

There is nothing wrong with being rich if you haven’t sinned to get that way. Sirach 13:24

And many more.

Surprised? I was, too, when I started really reading the Bible. You see this incredible book doesn't just address the needs of our spirit, but unknown to many, it also addresses that of our body. This is like the A-Z book of success. This is 'the' complete user manual our Creator handed to us so that we will know how to live our life well and be successful now, and the life after.

If you are looking for a life-changing book then look no further. The Holy Bible has changed lives for the better before, and is still changing lives today. It can change your life too. If you are tired of your old ways and you want a breath of life God promised to us, then spend time with God's Words as written in the Holy Bible; our ultimate guide to complete success. Then be amazed...

PS: I recommend that before you read your bible say a short prayer and ask God to bless you with wisdom and understanding. Not everyone who reads the bible can quickly grasp the message, but keep at it with faith in your heart. It is written, "Ask and you shall receive..." Sooner or later you will feel that a passage in the Bible talks to your heart specially when you are in the dark and trying days of your life. Isn't that great?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reaching Out For Success Successfuly (Part 2)

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:7~8


What does it take to become successful? Money? Connections? Looks? Talents? Education? Smart? Guts? Attitude?

All of the above might help, but it won’t necessarily guarantee your success. So what does it really take to become successful?

Your ability to succeed is like the Earth; it has layers. The crust consists of your learned skills, acquired knowledge and external plus factors. The mantle is your habit, your instinct and your talent. The core represents the choices that you make that put you closer to your goal. This is the most important aspect of your success. Even if you have the external factors and talents, but if your decisions sabotage your chances of success, and blow every opportunity that comes your way, then it’s safe to say that you won’t get so far.

Numerous books have been written about various skills, body of knowledge, habits and talents, so I won’t go there. Instead I will settle on the core of success – the decisions you make.

According to our Master Craftsman as written in Book of Joshua 1:7~8, there are three important decisions that you and I have to make in order to become successful – to choose to be strong, to be courageous and to be righteous. That's right, these are choices not attributes.

Be Strong
On your way towards your goals and dreams in life, problems will surely come. Not only that, to permanently solve most of your problems, you need to make changes in your life, in yourself. For example, if you are buried in debt, in order to pay off your debt you have to find extra income, and become more disciplined with your spending. Both would require changes in your life.

Problems by itself can cause emotional, psychological and physical stress, discomfort, and pain. So does change. This is one reason why it is not easy to succeed.

How many times did you try to do something new; something that you think will be good for you? Maybe you started to jog, attempted to quit smoking and boozing, tried to stop doping, etc. but could not sustain it because the discomfort and pain of deprivation was just too much to bear.

God says that to be successful you must patiently bear the discomfort along the way. In short, you have to be strong even when you feel like quitting.

Here’s the good news. God did not leave us on our own. He said, “Come to me those who are weary and I will give you rest.” When you’re tired and weary in your toil, you can rest in Jesus and surely ease will descend upon you. I know because I've tried it.

Be Very Courageous
On your way towards your goals and dreams in life, doubts and fears will surely creep into your heart and mind. People may say discouraging things to you, discouraging thoughts may shroud your mind, and things may not turn out as you expected.

Yet doubt and fear come to all of us from time to time, but we don’t have to drink its paralyzing poison. There is a better choice – choose to be courageous.

Courage doesn’t mean absence of fear; it means presence of trust. To be courageous is to trust. To whom should we trust?

If your trust is anchored on yourself alone then your anchor is settled on very unstable ground. A single blow to your ego could end your quest. If your trust is anchored on other people alone then be prepared for disappointment because like you they are not perfect. The good news is that there is a better choice – put your trust in the Almighty God for He is perfect and stable. He is faithful, just and holy.

God said that to become successful you have to choose to move forward even if others are in doubt because in your heart you believe that whatever adversities that lies ahead God is with you to walk you through it.

Be Righteous
This is where a lot of people go astray. Many believe that to thrive and succeed in this world you have play by its rules even if it's against our Creator's rules. And should you play by God’s rules, you have to be selective; choose only what is convenient, and self-serving.

God says, “Love me with all your heart and mind,” but man says, “I love myself above all else.” God says, “Keep holy the Sabbath,” man says, “I will open my business even on Sundays because I don’t want to lose money.” God says, “Do not lie,” man says, “I’m in business and marketing.” God says, “Though shall not commit adultery,” man says, “Are you kidding me?” God says, “Forgive,” man says, “After my anger is quenched.” God says, “Love the poor and the helpless,” man says, “Yuck! They’re dirty and disgusting.” And so on.

I know for a fact that there are those who instinctively believe that if they play by God’s rule they will lose. (I was one.) But God promised that if you do what is right in His eyes (not based on the standard of the world) then you will become successful and prosperous. Now whom will you believe?

If you choose to believe in God as I do, then I have good news for you. God did not leave us in the dark to feel our way. He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, not only to save us but also to teach us His ways, and His as recorded in the the book called the Holy Bible. For us to succeed we need to study this Holy Book everyday, and follow its instructions all the time even if the world will be against us.

You know what? After you read this message choices will be put before you -- to act on this or to ignore this. Eventually, you will make a decision consciously or subconsciously. I pray that you make the right one because your success, and the future of those who depended on you may be defined in this single moment.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reaching Out for Success Successfully (Part 1)

"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

The other week I visited one of my favorite places, National Bookstore. As I sauntered around I couldn’t help but noticed the many books about success packaged attractively. It got me thinking: “How to really attain success? What does it really take to become successful?” With so many books about success packed shoulder to shoulder in those shelves it was confusing which one to read first. So instead I searched for answers in my most favorite book, The Holy Bible.


Let’s start with the question, “How to attain success?”

A big tree doesn’t just grow up to become what it is today. It starts with a tiny little seed. A beautiful butterfly isn’t born that way; it starts with a slow fat caterpillar. Nature dictates that for something to become SOMETHING, it should undergo a process.

The same is true with success. To become successful you need to follow a process.

FIRST: Set Your Goal, Establish Your Finish Line, Know Your Dream
To know whether you are successful you need to know what success looks like to you. The best yardstick for your success is your own dreams and your goals in life. The most common mistake people make is to align their goals with the goals and expectations of other people. Don’t do that. Follow your own heart.

I believe there are four basic dreams in life: to receive something that you do not have now, to do something that you haven’t done before, to go somewhere where you haven’t been, and to become someone you are not now. So the important question to ask in this stage is, “What do I really want?”

Of the four basic dreams, I believe that the most important is to dream to become someone better than who you are right now because the other three normally follow. In your quest to become SOMEONE, tie your dream around your talents and innate skills. The common mistake people make is to try to become someone God doesn’t intend them to be; someone that doesn’t align with their natural talents or innate skills. So they ended up unhappy and average at best.

Finally, when you dream might as well dream BIG. It’s not a BIG dream if you can reach it easily now. Also, at this stage you don’t need to know how to get there; you only need to know how badly you really want to attain your goal and dream. The more intense is your desire the better is your chance of reaching goals and dreams.

SECOND: Determine the Steps towards Your Goal
How to become a successful businessman? How to become a successful professional in your field? How to become a happily married couple? How to become a wonderful parent? How to become an outstanding student?

Don’t ask me. I don’t know all the answers. (Grinning)

There is a famous saying that goes like this, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The journey to success requires a few or more steps, and to attain it you need to know the right steps. To get to where you want to go you need to know the right path. So in this stage of the success process the right question to ask is, “What are the right steps towards my success?”

If by now you realize already that you do not have all the right answers then you are on the right track. The common mistake people make is to assume that they already know everything they ought to know. The other common mistake is to think that to be successful you need to know everything. Nobody knows everything except God. And you don’t have to know everything to become successful.

We need the help of our fellow men and women. To aim for success as a Lone Ranger is the long way to success. The fastlane is to help others and let others help you. In short you need to build bridges towards other people. To know the steps towards your success you got to connect to the people who have done it already successfully. Read their story, ask them if you can, and pay if you must. Look at it this way, if you are stranded in the desert without water wouldn’t you pay anything to someone who can show you the way to the nearest oasis. If your goal and dream is very close to your heart then it is like water in the oasis.

THIRD: Work your Way One Step at a Time
You already know what you want, and you already know the steps how to get it. The final step in the success process is to roll up your sleeves and work your way to success one step at a time. This is the stage where those who are interested and those who are committed to their goal and dream will be separated. Knowledge is useless if you won’t apply it. You can read all the books about success and interview all the successful people, but won't find any change in your life if you won’t apply the knowledge and wisdom they shared.

In this stage you need to ask – “How to do this step?” – and do it. Adjust if you must, but do not quit.

More often than not, each step of the success process may require new sets of skills or new knowledge; something that you do not have now. So in this stage of the success process you should be prepared to learn and to do. Of course, you can ask other people to do it for you or even hire professionals. Whatever way you choose doesn’t matter much. What matter is that you are willing to do what it takes to succeed.

In summary, God wants us to become prosperous and successful. To become successful you and I need understand the process, follow the process and work the process that leads to our success.