Three out of five adults cannot swim. I am part of the non-swimmer statistic.

I do not know how to swim.

Interestingly two days ago, when the province of Batangas is under storm signal number 2 – my wife, my daughter, and I went freediving. On Christmas Day, during the calm before the storm, we were chasing fishes underwater and enjoying the sea.

Tomorrow would be my birthday. Much has happened during the past year.

There were lots of challenges, but there were also so many lessons learned.

The challenges came from various sources – those from the outside (other people, outside circumstances) and the thoughts inside my head. I found out that the latter was a more dangerous adversity.

It is true that we are our worst critic. It is true that we have the ability to put a noose around our necks.

It is also true that our inner world shapes our outer world. Unfortunately for us, there is both an angel and a demon inside of us. Fortunately, it is up to us who we would choose to listen to.

The bad news for me is I tend to listen to the demon inside. The good news is that for next year, I could choose to listen to the angel more.

I am still not 100% comfortable in the open sea. For the love of God I still could not do the survival float.

Being a non-swimmer, the road to being a certified skin diver appears to be a thousand nautical miles apart.

But the way I see it, it is just another challenge that has to be overcome. And I know that I have a couple more in store for me in the next year.

As I continue to reflect on the year that has passed, I noticed that the saying is so true – “We would be the same person a year from now, the difference will come from the people we meet and the books that we read.”

I wish that 2017 would be your best year ever. I hope that you would meet amazing people who will bless you and make you grow. I pray that you would pick the right book at your favorite book store that would give you the seed of thought to make 2017 your best year ever.

Happy New Year!!


Dr. Frankenstein’s Igor

Daniel Radcliffe, is best known for his work as Harry Potter, the boy wizard.

I most remember him though, in his role as Igor, in the 2015 movie Victor Frankenstein.


This happened 10 minutes into the film, when Igor was talking to Dr. Frankenstein. The former was telling the latter about his life at the circus.

Igor experienced so much cruelty in the circus – kicked, spitted upon, and locked like an animal. Victor was horrified as Igor relates the cruelty he endured in his life at the circus.

Igor replied – It is hard to judge cruelty, when you have never known kindness.

He has experienced so much cruelty in his life, that he has never experienced kindness. The only types of human interaction he knows off is grossly inhumane.

It is hard to judge cruelty, when you have never known kindness.

My friend Rebecca has a kind heart. I have known of her kind heart for more than 20 years.

But when smelly, filthy, street children approaches her asking for alms, her personality changes.

The kind heart suddenly becomes cold. She turns into one of the villainous witches in your favorite Disney movie.

Rebecca is one of the disciples of Louis Pasteur’s germ theory. She hates germs. She really hates germs. She really, really hates germs.

That is why I completely understand her personality shift when a 10-year old smelly, filthy, beggar approaches her.

So she shuns the 10-year old girl away. But the girl is persistent. “Ano ba? (What is wrong with you?)” as she angrily tells the girl.

For the 10-year old, in her reality, this is the only way for her to live. She needs every small change that she can get to be able to eat.

Rebecca, on the other hand, does not see the 10-year old girl. What she sees are the germs. What she sees is the filth, she does not see the humanity behind the filth.

Two realities, one event in time.

It is hard to judge cruelty, when you have never known kindness.

Would you like to help the 10-year old girl? You may help her and others like her through the Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home.



The Not So Happy Path

You want people to experience the failure so they can reflect on it, and improve their performance the next time around.*

I once heard a wise man say that there are three ways to learn –
1. You learn from your mistakes
2. You learn from the mistakes of people that you know
3. You learn from the mistakes of other people. Which you get exposed to through books, podcasts, and in-person lectures

I often say in entrepreneurship seminars that the wisest way to learn are the last two. And 90% of the audience agree.

But the wisest way is not always the most effective – experiencing the failure ourselves could be the best thing that ever happened to us.

No wonder there are countless others saying they are graduates of The School of Hard Knocks.

The first time I heard this – I say to myself, “Now that is foolish” But as I could not sleep after hearing it, I am at my laptop typing this at one in the morning.

And as I reflect on the hats that I wear in my life, I realized that it is true.

My immature mindset and approach to marriage made my wife leave. She did came running back but that is another story 🙂

At 24 years young I forgot to apply the lesson I learned in school when I was 8 years old – That what every women wants is to have their way with men.

And I saw this sign at Tiendesitas 10 years too late.


Reflecting now, that failure made me better. The sting of going home in an empty house for three years made me say to myself that “next time, I would be a better man.”

As the late great Zig Ziglar said, “Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife understood that they are on the same side.

Now we understand.

Our marriage has not been a straight line of perfection after that. But we both came winners after that experience.

The next time you find yourself in the not so happy path, or maybe, you are now in the not so happy path 😦

If you are, I want you to sit back on your chair… Take a deep breath, and welcome failure as a good friend – He could be here to give you one very timely advice 🙂


paris email large

The most valuable land in the world

By Francis Kong

What is the most valuable land in the world?

Some might say New York. Others might say Hong Kong or Singapore or maybe a choice location right in the heart of London.

If you ask this question, you will most likely get different kinds of answer. The more analytical minded people will mention the oil fields of Middle East. It is the South African gold or diamond mine for others.

Todd Henry said, “The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, un-reconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.”

I meet many kinds of people because of the nature of my work. I do training almost every day of my life and I have the privilege of learning lessons from my clients. I have met tycoons and in some cases, typhoons – these are people who are so full of air, they talk big but accomplish little.

Guess what these people often say, “You know what? Long before this Tycoon began the business that made him so rich, I have already thought of the idea.” I trace a tinge of sadness and envy in their tone.

And if being the first with the idea can make a person wealthy and successful, how come there are so many patents of original inventions lying idle in the Patents Office gathering dust, forgotten and going nowhere? Ideas are useful only when there is determination to execute it, deal with the challenges and bring them to fruition.

Let’s get closer to home.

There are many people with big dreams and goals but they are never interested to work for it because working is difficult and uncomfortable. And there are those who are working hard but at the slightest taste of failure, they give up.

Then there are some who picked up the fallen business after their partners have left. And through their efforts, they will experience its rewards. The quitter, however, will be left with no choice but to lament.

As I say in my seminars, “Life is never fair. If it was, then we would be building condominiums.” There is a difference between fairness and sameness.

Life is always fair when you think in terms of the Biblical Law of Sowing and Reaping. We always reap what we sow and the harvest is always more than the number of seeds planted.

Jim Rohn said, “Life does not give you what you want, life does not give you what you need, life always gives you what you deserve.”

Self-growth and self-development should be intentional.

Not all of us are meant to be tycoons, but God does not invent junk. People do it to themselves. They bury their untapped talents and potentials underground and bring them to their graves. They are afraid of doing work and being responsible for their actions.

Others work hard and achieve an enormous amount of success. But then, success creeps into their heads making them unable to be a blessing to others.

I laughed when I came across this anonymous quote, “A sure cure for arrogance is a visit to the cemetery, where eggheads and boneheads get equal billing.”

Yes, I do have to agree. The most valuable piece of land in the world is the graveyard where some people buried their God-given talents and potentials with them. This is also the same valuable property where the successful people have mismanaged their successes, have grown arrogant and insensitive to the needs of others. They failed to realize that they are not owners of the things given to them but stewards and managers.

“You can’t bring anything with you”? I think this is partially true. We can bring with us the “person” we became when we lived our lives. Be the best you can ever be. Be a blessing to others. This is our purpose in life.

PS: What bridges you from where you are right now to where you want to be?
To be successful in life, we all need a vehicle. A vehicle that will get us from point A to point B. From where we are right now, to where you want to be?

The question is, doing what you are doing right now – are you going to get there?

Missing McDonald’s

pain of discipline

Success and failure come hand in hand together like a flip of a coin. It is up to you to make that single decision to choose to either be a success or a failure. Success is not by chance, it is by choice. Make your decision today. Because TODAY matters.

The preceding paragraph was a hybrid of sorts from two people I greatly look up to. Thai entrepreneur John Iamranond, and of course everyone knows John Maxwell and one of his best sellers – Today Matters. Human beings have the most potential in the whole animal kingdom. If you are still not aware, you actually have the capacity to shape your destiny.

Having a daily prayer time, reading devotionals certainly helps. Keeps you grounded spiritually, and sometimes you get some golden nuggets along the way. This one’s a golden one worth sharing… And if you still do not have your daily devotional, I would recommend this one from Bo SanchezKerygma Daily Readings.

It’s worth cutting and pasting here to save some internet traffic. But you can find this story here.

“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.” – Matthew 21:30
Roger was a successful businessman. That’s probably why a neighbor approached him and asked if he wanted to be involved in a new hamburger chain he was starting. He offered Roger the fourth franchise. Roger’s dad, who was himself an astute businessman, said, “Take it!”

Roger thought about it but later on turned down the deal. He must have regretted that decision when that startup burger joint, named McDonalds, became the giant chain it is today. He was on the brink of so much wealth, but he missed it because of one decision: He ignored his father’s smart advice.

You may be on the edge of one monumental and life-changing blessing right now. You may be on the threshold of something big that God wants to give you. It may be an emotional treasure, a financial blessing, the answer to a longtime prayer, a special relationship, a new beginning, maybe a greater impact in your ministry, or a breakthrough in some impossible situation. But, like that man who missed his share of Ronald McDonald’s fortune, it may all come down to your making the right decision. Will you avoid sin and obey God, or ignore Him and have it your way? Jon Escoto 

Sometimes one single decision shapes our destiny. And it takes courage to act. Have you decided to decide not to act on something? As the saying in the Boston Celtics practice facility says – There are only two kinds of pain in life, the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret.

Fear is a Liar


Click the above image to enlarge.

I regularly find myself in a room full of strangers. Meeting one on one with an acquaintance in a coffee shop, a conference room of about 10-20 people, a virtual classroom with almost 100 logged in from places in Europe and the Americas, or addressing a crowd of 200-300 people. But this time it is a bit different.

It was a Saturday night – my fever is on and off since the Sunday prior. I have a head-splitting migraine thinking my head is about to crack. I was in the hospital emergency room the Wednesday before and the medications they gave me does not seem to work. I was sitting there and in a few minutes it would be my turn to speak.

Brian Tracy is a renowned public speaker but he says he still gets nervous every time he takes the stage. Being a lesser mortal than my friend Brian, I get that to. My body is showing its signs of nervousness as I get into diarrhea fits minutes before I get on stage. But as I said, this is a bit different.

I would be addressing a group of business owners and C-Suite executives of corporate Manila. I have prepared and rehearsed my speech, took my medications but my fever is still killing it. The head-splitting migraine is not a big help either. To make matters more interesting I even got a fish bone stuck in my throat from the dinner course.

That’s when fear set in and a series of questions came racing through my head – what if I just veer away from my script? It would be much more convenient to give a shorter speech as the pain of the fever and migraine is bothering me. These are very successful people, what right have I to speak in front of them? I will just make this short and sweet and do a graceful exit as possible. They say fever makes a person delirious, I say fever magnifies stage fright ten trillion times.

Veering away from the script would be a rational decision. My fever is legit. I am rationalizing to myself that it would be okay. If I would not go the whole 9 yards these people has nothing to lose as they are already on top of the financial food chain anyway.

I suddenly got reminded by this statement from Brian Tracy – “Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.” I also got reminded of my advocacy – health education and financial education through entrepreneurship. I remembered my 212 reasons why I was there and doing what I do in the first place. I took the stage and delivered my talk.

And it was just amazing! I got the engagement from the audience far from what I was expecting. I was delivering privileged information that they do not know about, yet. I am not the message but I was a worthy messenger. The room was climate controlled but beads of sweat is trickling down my face (must be the fever). But I held on, I did the whole 9 yards as I planned.

And boy I am sure glad I did not let fear and the rationalizations take hold of me. The end result is a potential business that can gross half a million in sales revenue monthly. Have I succumb to the seeming helplessness of my situation, how much monthly sales do you think I would get?

In closing, feel the fear and do it anyway. If you fail take it as a lesson. As the Japanese proverb says – “Fall seven times, and stand up eight.” (Or was that Dwyane Wade?) But what if you do not fail? What if you did succeed? Would you rather face the pain of discipline to push through your goals, or would you rather face the pain of regret?

pain of discipline, pain of regret