TOUGH GUYS NEED A BREAK TOO

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Most of the people I worked in the past calls me a tough guy. It’s not because of my built and looks but because I work alot and I deliver on- time, on-scope, on-budget and at the right quality all the time. Well, I may not be a 7AM person but I work way beyond the normal and I usually stay up for work for 16 to 20 hours daily. This is my daily routine.

Having completed a huge project running for almost a year, my mind is all set for vacation now. Although I have already mastered my work through the years in such a way that delivering projects regardless of complexity seems to look easier and fun to the eyes of the people around me, I still get tired after work. Besides, I’m human.

There is a saying that you won’t ever get tired of working if you love what you are doing. Well, this may be true at times but we all get exhausted at the end of the day. Same as any great devices we have right now like our smartphones and tablet computers, we all need to recharge and get the energy anew to continue doing what we love.

I remember when I was younger. I was energetic, enthusiastic and filled with high spirit. I wanted to get the job done in one sitting. I was a programmer, a system designer, an analyst, an administrator, a security specialist, a web developer, an applications consultant and an entrepreneur. I wanted to do everything because I love working.

It’s not that I’m older and lazier but we all get used to the monotonous routine of life. Like a car getting old, sometimes we need that little pushing and jumpstarting to keep us going. We get wiser, more experienced and tougher each day but like a tree, our leaves may wither and drop as we lose that thing that keeps us passionately engaged – our drive.

All these may relate to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs but I think that we all deserve a break. We all need to give ourselves a break from all the daily routines we have and recharge. Thus , I look forward to using my vacation leave credits this year in full to get back that energy lost. Besides, even tough guys need a break too!

AT THE END OF THE DAY…

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I was looking back awhile ago on what I have learned for the past 11 months now that it’s the first day of the last month of the year. In a few more days, 2011 is over and I should be wiser! Well, I realized that I have gained two important lessons in life and that is learning how to climb up the mountain and remembering how to safely descend back for home.

It might be metaphorical to some but it’s actually literal Not knowing how to climb is a failure in itself but being able to climb the peak without knowing how to go down and head back home is a disaster. I won’t expound further but I guess that the learning is clear. I reached the summit and I came home safely, happy and thankful. It may be a cycle but it should always be like that!

Tomorrow as I climb yet another peak, the excitement of reaching the summit is great but the excitement of reaching home after for the family is always greater. No amount of success should be able to blind you from where you came from. You have to remember your roots! You can be great, wealthy and famous but you have to always find your way back home…

At the end of the day.

CHEERING OTHERS TO CHEER ONE’S MIND

Facebook Status

Last night as I was scanning for updates with my friends over Facebook, I noticed this particular shout expressing frustrations about her current situation and about her life in general. I paused for awhile and tried checking her wall of other clue why such a jolly person would post such a shout. I found nothing.

Well, maybe it’s just the usual venting over a social network site but I thought of replying because I wanted to cheer her up. Normally, we find entertainment in checking rumors and updates with our friends over Facebook but for me, I find it a chance to help, motivate and cheer-up people. So I posted…

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My words may be too generic and obvious but I am hoping that the two posts above would be able to cheer her up. I write this because I am hoping as well that instead of finding cheer and fun out of other people’s shouts, we need to somehow put back cheer to these people’s faces by replying back with motivational thoughts.

That is why we call Facebook a “Social Networking Site” because aside from entertainment, we need to reach out and network with people coupled with our social responsibility to put people back to their knees and continue the struggle to a better life and a better world. We all have the responsibility to cheer people up!

Helping HandI need not to elaborate what I have written on the two posts above because both are self-explanatory but I want to stress that having to cheer other people makes surfing more rewarding because you are able to put worth to the little task that you are doing. No matter how petty Facebook can be, use it to cheer one’s mind!

THE LOVE OF A FATHER…

Rick and Dick Hoyt It was more than a year ago when my wife and I along with our only son went to a school activity. Just before the event ended, we were all asked to watched a short movie about a father who tried to make his paralyzed son live a normal life and fulfill every dreams he has. I cried that day and hugged my son.

The video was about a a father’s love to his son. The story is all about Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick and Rick HoytRick has cerebral palsy, caused by loss of oxygen to his brain at birth because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. His father, Dick along with mom Judy were advised to institutionalize Rick because there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a "normal" life.

Well, Dick opposed the idea and he instead gave his life as  a father to make his son’s dreams into reality. They joined marathons as how Rick wanted to do. This was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.

Father and SonIt took me almost a year to be able to see the same video again and I saw it over Facebook. I watched it twice this morning and I cried. I cried not just because I missed my son so much being far away but because I wanted to do more as a father.

After watching the video, I have realized how much I have failed to be the best father I can be to my only son. Team HoytI have put so much time in making a living to ensure that I can send him to the best school and buy him the best toys that I failed to give him the best gift that he could have – time.

Perhaps, this is also a perfect example of God’s love to us all as His children and how He has been carrying us all these time from our burdens. This is also a living proof that we can always do more as fathers. Thus, I vow to do just the same – make my son’s every dream a reality no matter what. No more. No less.

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NOTE: The first video below is the exact material that I have watched more than a year ago with my wife and son. After almost a year of wondering if I will be able to ever watch it once again, I have seen the same video (see the second video below) from a friend’s wall at Facebook this morning. Thus, I took the chance to save the links and blog about it. Perhaps, it could inspire some dads out there just like me.

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BATTLING ONE’S FEAR

I am a tough guy and since childhood, I have not feared of anyone in terms of expression and in terms of defending myself from people who intends to inflict harm and offenses especially when my position holds the truth and that it sides with what is right and good. I am a fighter since birth and I never back out in a fight.

I remember when I was in Grade 2 that I was being mocked by a batch mate who was twice my size in terms of built and height. I was cornered at the back of the gym with this fat kid along with his 2 classmates famous for being fearless bullies. They have bullied almost everyone but not me. So they took me as their next target.

The place was filled with stockpiles of old school chairs and old lumbers. I have nowhere to run as well because the place was then gated and the only way I could get out is being blocked by the bullies. I stood and waited for them. They tried making fun at me by curses and teasing. We were kids.

I asked why I am being bullied. They just laughed and laughed. Then the biggest kid started pushing me just as how kids would start a fight. I was almost swept away. I tried to balance myself and pushed back but with less effect because I was too small for his match. They laughed once again.

Although, I was thin and small then while he was too big for me, I stood still. I prepared myself. What came next after the pushing was punching. I was told repeatedly by my grandfather before that in a fight, the first strike should come from my foe no matter what. I held my fist and did nothing but wait.

In the real world, this is a little hard to accept for me as a kid then. I was thinking why I had to be punched first before I can punch back. Perhaps because I was being taught then that fighting should be a thing of last resort and it should only come as a defense. So I had to control myself and my wish of getting even by these bullies.

As a result, I was punched once in my shoulder really hard. Kids way back then were less violent. Almost it is rare that kids would punch their enemies in the head nor they would use any weapon to inflict fatal offenses because all of us are afraid then of wounding a fellow student and even leaving a black eye which can cause an instant dismissal from the school. So the chest, the back and even the arms were perfect spots then.

So as my arm muscles ached due to the strong punch I just received, I gathered my energy to punch back. It was my time to fight. I was almost crying when I got my fist ready and gave a strong blow in his arm where a scar from an immunization was visible that I used it as my target.

I gave him not one but series of jabs and punches mimicking my idol then – Fernando Poe, Jr. who punches like an automatic rifle. I was punching and at the same time looking at his face. He was motionless as I was making his arm a punching bag. His 2 classmates were in a state of shock as well as they never thought I would fight back.

After 10 to 20 punches in his arm, my tears fell but I was standing still and looking at him straight in his eyes. I was quiet. Suddenly, his eyes turned red and tears fell as well. Just before I was about to apologize, he cried like hell yelling and asking for his mother. He was threatening me that I will be reported to his teachers.

The 2 other boys fled the scene and soon ran to their teacher to report me assaulting their classmate. Soon, the teacher asked me to explain and in the end, I was vindicated from all the accusations. Besides, I was the one being bullied and cornered. I just acted to defend myself after being punched by a kid twice my size.

While at the Guidance Office, the fat boy could not look at me in the eye nor can he mock me afterwards. He thought I would fear him same as his other bully victims that I would not fight back but he was wrong because he found himself a match in me. I gave him an instant karma that day he thought of bullying me.

The news broke and soon I was being cheered by bully victims. I was lucky that day by making them realize that they have found their match in me because I stood strong and fearless not because I was tough but because I did not started the fight – I just defended myself fearless amidst their number and their size.

From that day on, I was never bullied. I sometimes played the bully but I was never bullied as a kid in school. Outside, I met some who were really evil bullies but still, I got the reputation of being a strong-willed and hard-to-beat person that defined who I am right now – a fighter.

For almost 21 years until now, I have taken that lesson in life that requires each and every one of us to successfully battle out the fear we have inside us. For as long as you know that you are right and that you know that what you intend to perform is something that is not violating someone’s rights, you need to proceed.

The real victory comes to those who try to triumph over uneven fights of life – to those who conquer the highest mountain and deepest sea amidst uncertainties and dangers. The reality of life is filled with success stories of underdogs making it big because of they have tried breaking off their limits as underdogs… battling one’s fear. 

INSPIRING PEOPLE TO BE BETTER… THAN YOU ARE!

It’s been quite awhile indeed! It’s just today that I get to post some blog entries I have written over the past week and it’s just today that I came to read some blogs I regularly visit. In just a week or perhaps month, I have seen how a fellow blogger has improved so much. I have idled a bit but he has never took a time out in expressing himself just as how I wanted him to be during the time that he was too silent that the only means he could voice out his ideas was to approach me and ask for a little time to talk.

After the first talk we had where I got to send him off to write himself and his mind out, much has changed. I am happy. I am happy because in a few days, he could already surpass my blog stats. Hehehe. I am happy because he has revived not just his passion for writing but for mastering the courage to speak when everyone else keeps quiet! He is a testimony that indeed we can touch people’s lives to make a difference! I am happy because in one way or another, I may have inspired him to be a better man much more than I am.

A SIMPLE STORY FOR MY TEAM

I would like to share this story same as how I have done the same to my team just now. Just an hour ago, two of my teammates had some misunderstanding brought about by some decisions done with no malice. I put them in a vacant room together with the others and we let all the ideas and sentiments be expressed. It was a chaos.

 

team_work1I know that the stress level now has rendered them all virtually deaf and too smart to listen and accept things but I thought it would be best if I think of something that will make them realize the very essence why I am trying to mediate in the first place – to keep the team united for a common goal!

 

I may have succeeded or I may perhaps fail later but the point is… A TEAM IS A TEAM. No more, no less! So here is a story or rather a parable with an origin I too am quite unsure. Anyway, it is not from Aesop and this has been passed from one tongue and pen to another. So please read on…

 

What’s a mouse got to do with teamwork?    Here’s a very brief story about teamwork…

 

A little mouse living on a farm was looking through a crack in the wall one day and saw the farmer and his wife opening a package. The mouse was intrigued by what food the package may contain. He was aghast to discover that it was a mousetrap. The mouse ran to the farmyard warning everyone “there is a mouse trap in the house, there is a mouse trap in the house”.

 

The chicken raised his head and said “Mr. Mouse, I can tell you this trap is a grave concern to you, but it has no consequence to me and I cannot be bothered with it.”

 

The mouse turned to the pig, “I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse, but the trap is no concern of mine either.”

 

The mouse then turned to the bull. “Sounds like you have a problem, Mr. Mouse,” the bull said, “but not one that concerns me.”

 

The mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected that no one would help him or was concerned about his dilemma. He knew he had to face that trap on his own.

 

That night the sound of a trap catching its prey was heard throughout the house. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness she could not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.

 

The wife developed a bad fever and the farmer knew the best way to treat a fever was with chicken soup. He took his hatchet to the farmyard to get the soup’s main ingredient.

 

The wife got sicker and friends and neighbors came by to take turns sitting with her round the clock.   The farmer knew he had to feed them, so he butchered the pig.    

 

The farmer’s wife did not get better, however.   In fact she died. So many friends and family came to her funeral that the farmer had to slaughter the bull to feed them all.

 

So the next time you hear that one of your team-mates is facing a problem and think it does not concern or affect you, remember that when anyone of your team is in trouble, we are all at risk!

LET ME GROW 10 PERCENT MORE…

I was so damn tired last night. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. I was tired. I had this long one-on-one conversation with someone in the office and suddenly I woke up in a realization that you cannot always be the best for everyone. People have always this tendency to forget all the good deeds you did for them even if you have the guts to remind them so. The hard part is…  it is all true! Sigh.

GrowWith all the pressure draining my entire enthusiasm and energy for the day, I simply decided to call it a day at 08:00 PM. Instead of heading to the basement parking area to get my car and head home, I went to the 12th floor to check with a team member and some officemates (and an ex-officemate) to release some of the tension. I took Nelson, Elmer and Joseph with me downstairs.

The place was quite or perhaps I was deafened by all the arguments I had inside that room upstairs at the office. Anyway, as they were gulping their beers, I was sipping my iced-tea as I reflected. Sigh!  It’s so unfortunate for me to be stressed out on a Monday when I intend not to drink on Mondays by choice! Well, I am a changed man! Not unless I am forced to do so since I am just a man – weak and easily tempted. Hahaha.

Well, we talked about work and about one of my friend’s fantasies and how brilliant his best laid plans were with his “no. 1 among the no. 2s”. Hahaha. I was listening. I was listening to how a brilliant guy whose initial intention of applying for a job was to work for a living and provide for his family has turned against his own beliefs and ideals in life because of the blinding effect of peer influence and money.  

It’s a saddening thought. At one point, I admit on having almost tempted to take the wrong path but I was lucky to have been awakened and renewed. This guy has yet to learn all the lessons I learned the hard way. At 08:30 PM, we decided to separate ways and head home. I took Joseph with me and Mike since they were to be dropped 1 block away from our place then off we went! Free ride, huh!

As I was driving, I noticed my phone blinking. It was on a silent mode all the while so I used the word blinking than ringing. Perhaps flashing was more appropriate. Anyway, I checked on its screen and I saw several missed calls from my friend Jojo, an Infrastructure and DRP Expert! Now I remember that he has been sending me SMS since 04:50 PM that day for an invitation to yet another one-on-one talk at Pier 1 at Julia Vargas near Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Ooops!  I even forgot that I told him earlier that I will be coming over. He’s been waiting for me now for almost 4 hours!

I arrived at the location for about 09:30 PM. I was so busy and that is my perfect excuse. So we met as he asked me to order something for my dinner and for “pulutan”. I was served a bottle of beer afterwards. Agenda? Life! I met Jojo almost 3 years ago. He is older than me and a single although he has a daughter with whom the mother has already her own life to be busy with as he buries himself with work. He is a good guy too tough to be turned down. He is a good friend as well.

We talked until midnight and I switched the topic with a question. I asked him why he has decided to stay single. He simply answered it with a question – Did you and your wife planned for your first meeting as strangers then? I said no. Have you both planned about who you are now? I said no. Then he answered my question finally by explaining that everything will come in its own place in due time. No matter how hard you plan for something, you have no control of whatever will come. You just need to be ready to face the music. Nice lesson!

Now, I asked him another question why amidst his expertise, expanded network and his experiences, he has not taught of engaging in a business like with me perhaps? He just simply answered. We will come to that when I get to grow myself 10 percent more! Let me grow 10 percent and I will come to you with a proposition you cannot afford not to have. His answer amazed me. Was it alcohol or this guy is just really a guru of the practicalities of life, family and career. I was enlightened.

Writing in progress…