Do You Know One of the Keys to Happiness?

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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.

MISSING McDO
“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

Failure

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

When Life Rejects You

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Street kids. Almost all countries in the world have them (except for Monaco, I suppose). My daughter and I had two encounters with them which somehow opened up my perspective on rejection, and in life in general.

Encounter #1: I pulled into a gasoline station to have my Lancer Evolution III gassed up (don’t be too impressed, I just jazzed that up. But really, it’s a Mitsubishi Lancer). I asked the gasoline attendant for a discount card, and I didn’t get rejected. So I sat in the car with my daughter waiting for my discount card, as the attendant did some paper work.

A boy street kid happens to walk by, and you guessed it, starts to beg for money. It is my philosophy not to give money to street kids and beggars. People work hard for their money. And some street kids are actually a part of some syndicate, hence if you really want to help, you can course your money to trusted institutions like He Cares Foundation. I waived him off, but he is so persistent. The attendant came back with my discount card and some paper work for me to sign, but the boy is still there incessantly saying – “Kuya pahingi ng barya pangkain lang. (Please give me some coins for food)”. He literally is fighting for real estate space with the attendant at the side of my car. The attendant has been pushing him away but this little kid just won’t budge. And your feeling went from pity to being quite irritated. He is begging for money as if it is my responsibility to give.

I would be pulling off the gas station, but the kid’s hand is reaching through my window – I couldn’t close it, and he just won’t let go. I slowly drove off, but his hand is still there. I am starting to get upset and I told him to let go, lest we get ourselves into an accident but he ain’t budging. The gasoline attendant is berating him to no avail. And as I speed up, he finally let go and shouted out some expletives as we pulled out the station.

Encounter #2: While sitting in our car waiting for our roasted chicken, a girl street kid selling rags taps into my window. I ignored her, waived her off and made her an example to my daughter – “we are so blessed baby that you do not have to do selling in the streets just so we have food to eat”. Then my daughter asked back, “why does she have to sell? Doesn’t her parents provide for her?” “It’s either her parents don’t work or what her parents is making isn’t enough for them”, I answered.

As we were having our father-daughter conversation, the girl just won’t quit. Incessantly taps my window saying – “Kuya, pangkain lang po. (Sir, please buy so I can have food to eat.)” From pity my feelings toward her didn’t shift to irritation. From pity it turned to admiration – I really admired her persistence. She needs to get money for food, and the only way for her to get her money is to sell these rags. So I rolled down my window, “magkano ba yan? (how much is that?)” “Limang piso po (It’s five pesos sir)” So I pulled out a ten peso coin and bought from her 2 sets of rags.

My daughter turned to me and asked – “Don’t you give money to beggars?” “She was not begging, my child – she was selling”, I answered. “Yeah, I guess it is ok to buy from them, we also need to reward her for being so diligent.” And that my friends, is wisdom from my 9-year old.

So it got me thinking, as I am in direct sales, I can use some of that little girl’s attitude (I am referring to the street kid, not my daughter). We all have heard that the average sale takes place after 5 presentations – but majority of the people quit before that. Multinational corporations are spending millions of dollars in ads running their campaign in order to coax us to buy. We don’t go running to the mall to buy a product off the shelf just because we saw a commercial once. But since we are in the generation of instant gratification, some people quit instantly as soon as they hear the word no. No does not mean, never. No might mean not yet.

Come to think of it, life rejects you every time. Every time you want to enroll your kid to art classes but don’t have the money to get her in, life rejects you. Every time you wish to eat in a fancy restaurant but it isn’t within budget, life rejects you. And you have no choice but to eat in a fast food chain. Every time you look at your friends vacation photos in Facebook and you wish you can afford to go off on a holiday as well but cannot – life rejects you. So it’s either you get rejected by life or look for ways to reverse your situation. There are two kinds of money problems – lacking money and too much money. I am sure all of us prefer the latter.

Free Starbucks Upsize

“You’ve got to ask. Asking, is in my opinion, the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.” –Percy Ross

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A couple of weeks leading to Mother’s Day Starbucks Philippines ran a promo – free upsize of the above drink (note to self, post regularly lest you forget). So as I did my usual meetings during the said days, I got myself a free upsize every time.

The free upsize though is only for this specific drink. Way after Mother’s Day I decided to give it a try – ask for a free upsize (even if it was way past Mother’s Day) plus asking for an upsize for a different drink.

So I went into the counter, chatted up with the barista, then placed my order. I said one of the above drink (drink 1), and another coffee drink variant (drink 2). I usually just order cappuccino, so the rest of their coffee variants, I am really not that familiar 🙂

Then using my charm offensive – ey (insert name of barista here) I know it is way past Mother’s Day but can I still get an upgrade for drink 1? He said sure, I will give you an upgrade for that one. So that’s one point for the affirmative… Then I pushed it further saying – how about for drink 2, can I have a free upgrade for that as well? All right Sir! We do not usually do this but you get a free upgrade for that one as well! And with that, 2 points for the affirmative.

I don’t usually visit that Starbucks branch so customer loyalty is out of the question. Plus on that night, that was my first coffee fix for the entire day. So me reeking out of Starbucks gourmet caffeine is out of the question.

Couldn’t agree more with Percy Ross on his quote above – “You just have to ask”. And you would be surprised how people respond. And with that simple gesture from that barista, guess which coffee shop I will step in if there is a Coffee Bean, Starbucks and Figaro within the vicinity?

 

3-2, advantage – Rejections

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2-3, Advantage - Rejections

Learning how to blog made me forgot how to count 🙂

Here’s a rundown of what I have so far
1. Asked a couple of friends to partner up – Rejected
2. Worked at Social Security – Yes
3. Go on a Holy Week retreat – Rejected
4. Made new friends in a Lions Club event – Yes
5. Traffic violation not to issue – Rejected
That’s 3-2, advantage – Rejections

So the traffic officer asked me to stop, asked for my license. Uttered it’s a one-way street, yadah yadah yadah… Asked for my license again. “Come on, officer it’s a Sunday. And I am really sorry that I missed out on that sign. To be honest, I didn’t know this is a one-way street.” The officer was firm – “Your license sir.” So I handed it over. Thought of a scene from this Jay-Z video. But then again, my version’s got more #swag.

I should have my rejections on video, but then again I would leave the video thing to Jia. I might as well paint you a montage of my experience with my words.

I was able to talk myself out of getting tickets (that’s plural) before, so I guess I can handle this one. So I negotiate… Looks like the officer got out of the wrong side of the bed – the guy sure is grumpy. And as I speak and continue to plead my case it looks like this is a lost cause – I am staring at a P2,000 violation. “Sir, I could have let you go… But your first reaction is that you would be speeding off, if not that the other officer I am with is not blocking your path.” Of course I denied it. But I sure thought about it (hehe). It went really heavy because when I sensed that he is about to start to write that ticket – I was about to grab my license out of his hand. Now that’s #swag.

By the way did I mentioned that I went out of the car? I sure am feisty that day. He has asked me a several times to get back inside the vehicle – but I ain’t budging. Sensing that I need some reinforcement, my wife stepped out of the car. And worked a charm on the guy.

So, instead of counterflow (P2,000) my violation was decreased to disobedience of traffic sign (P500). That’s 75% off for those good in math. And here’s a couple of my take-aways on the experience.

  • If you got on the wrong side of the bed – you tend to do stupid things. I did not went through my morning success ritual that day. Got that idea (and basically journaling/blogging) from my virtual mentor Jonathan Milligan. And it caused me P500 plus the time I spent in getting back my license.
  • Apologize. Right away. Without appearing to run away.
  • If you decide to just go for it. Back your car up.
  • It helps if you have a partner. In this case it is my wife. Hats off to her, her smile has more swag than mine. Or is it a gender thing? That is, males tend to be more favorable towards females, and vice versa.

That happened Sunday, and I went to claim my license on Wednesday. Before claiming my license. I passed by Resorts World again, this time hunting for the officer who issued me the ticket. My intention is to get a picture with him. (Filipinos are indeed “pictural”) Kidding aside, I would just like to confirm that he already surrendered my license. Does not make sense for me to go to the office to claim it if he has not done so yet.

He is not anymore stationed in the spot where he apprehended me. I asked another security guard – “radio the guy and see where he’s at”. But he didn’t show his face, he just confirmed via radio that indeed he has surrendered my license. Could have been sweeter if I ended my post of a picture with him. So I just leave you with a picture of myself and my partner.

Drive safe and watch out for the road signs! 🙂

2-3, Advantage - Rejections