14 September 2010

What I Try To Teach My Kids

Most parents insist on teaching their children the value of success: To excel in their studies and make a lot of money. I am all for that. A child eventually needs the skill of mastery over money in order to succeed in this world, and one way of attaining this is through a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the world, and this is attained through education, through a life-long passion for learning. In my mind, the path to true education starts with learning arts and letters. Arts and Letters opens the gateway to learning the sciences and mathematics. After all, how can one effectively learn and communicate these concepts without first obtaining a good grasp of language.

But I am not sold on the concept of measuring success through wealth and education.

Since I was a child, I have observed how many people measure a person's worth in this world by how much money he has, or how educated he is. While it is indeed a practical metric, especially in this material world, it should not be the definitive barometer for judging the success of one's passing through this temporal world. We have been told, time and time again, that money and riches will not get you to Heaven. Money itself is not bad, it is how you earn it, how you use it and how you look at it that is important in the matter of money.

Education, as well, is fleeting. When we grow old, we almost always lose everything we have stored in our minds. When our bodies give in to the compounding years, we will have little use for our hard-earned education. Moreso for those who succumb to senility in the latter part of one's lives. However, we must remember that education is important for us to understand the meaning of one's existence, to understand the ways of the universe. To that end, education is important. To the end of attaining titles, prestige and honor where none should exist, it is fruitless. In fact, in the path to the true light, you do not need a Doctoral Degree to understand its secrets.

One these two items, Education and Wealth, take heed of the perspectives we take on them. As with a double-edged sword, there is a path that brings us closer to light, and a path that drives us away from it.

Going back to the matter of success, then, the proper use of money and education, which is to attain enlightenment and to make this world a better place for everyone is vital to the equation. Money and education directed towards nothing more than personal gain is a waste of one's lifetime.

And remember this truth: Money and Education can be lost, but that which benefits your Soul, which is virtue, remains forever.

If you were to ask me how I would educate my children, and measure their success in life, I would say this: I would rear my children to be kind and compassionate, sincere and righteous, detached from materialism, and a productive member of society. Whether he becomes rich or not, does not matter, as long as he is a conscientious worker, survives and provides for his family. He must be adequately educated, enough for him to be cultured and decent, not necessarily a doctor or lawyer. If he wants to be one, and he wants to be wealthy, by all means! As long as he/she remembers what is important in this life, and to always Love God with all his might and Soul!

13 August 2010

True Change Starts from Within

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the Change you want to see in the World.". Quite incomprehensible, I once thought. How can you effect change in the world we live in by being that change? I think a more simpler interpretation would look something like this: If you want the world to change, you must change first. But on deeper introspection, if you want peace in the world, then be peaceful first. If you want more love in your surroundings, then you must be the embodiment of love. If you want the government to be less corrupt, then you must find it in your heart to rid itself of all corrupt emotions and inclinations. Then, and only then, can you set out on your divine mission of making this world a better place.

Gandhi wanted peace, and so he not only espoused peace, but he was the embodiment of peace. Even when it was right for him to fight back, even when it was correct for him to retaliate, even when the world around him was shouting for revolution. Even our own Dr. Jose Rizal knew this profound truth. Both Rizal and Gandhi could not have made such an immense difference in this world if they had not first found Peace in their own hearts. In the end, what ended centuries of colonial rule was not a revolution of men, but a revolution in their hearts.

When we are faced with trials and tribulations in our lives, it is always comforting to go back to the Truth. It is easier to blame God for our conditions, and even point fingers at the world around us, but what needs to be done to find peace, is to first be peaceful. This is a universal Truth, one that the wisest and most holy of men have known since the beginning.

We are often told that there is perfect plan for everyone, yet it is hard to see anything at any distance when you are in the dark. We are told that God is always there, but it is hard to feel when you are numb from the coldness of humanity. We are told that we should trust in our fellowman, but it is hard to go beyond the evil that stares us in the eye. The answer is not found in the outside, as Gandhi and Rizal knew all too well -- the answer is within. Peace, Love, Righteousness, Sincerity-- these are all found deep within all of us. We cannot find them from the outside, not from a climb up the highest peak, not from traveling the farthest lands, they are sprouted from somewhere in our souls. Be that change, and your world will change.

With a heart of gratitude, be thankful for all your blessings. Then, Intend to do what is right; Decide to love all beings; Purposely cultivate that compassion for all, then you will find the Peace you seek.

27 July 2010

Seeing Things Clearly

One of the hardest things to do is to see things as they are. Yet, a clear and unbiased perspective is an essential skill in many facets of life.

Take, for example, an opinion on the matter of whether to marry someone in particular. Your decision would obviously be affected by factors such as your family's take on the matter, your current state of affairs at the time, your friends' opinion, and a host of other forces.

But what truly should be your basis for marriage? Or employment? Or place of abode? From the complex to the mundane, it is hard to keep your objectivity when something is clouding your judgment.

So it is with many things in this world, people take different positions on matters because of differences in opinion. True, it is hard to see things from another's perspective, but in doing so, we eliminate a lot of divisiveness in the world today.

Let's try to see things from a different viewpoint today.

24 July 2010

Loyal Employees

Today, I had to let go of one of my most trusted employees. For two years, he worked as a purchaser in one of my previous companies. When that company was bought out by a capitalist, me and my 4 partners decided to take it up upon ourselves to take care of him in spite of the lack of a formal entity to assign him to. We each shared in his salary by covering a week's worth of wages, and for that week, he was yours to command. That went on for about a year. If you needed him longer, then by all means take him if no one else needed him. At least we got him to do a lot of things we would otherwise have loathed doing ourselves, and he was able to put food on his family's table.

For the past year or so, I hired him full time to do liaison and logistics for my consultancy, food importation and cold storage businesses. Really not much for him to do, since work mostly comes in spurts during the week. Mostly, his job is to try to balance inventory, monitor my cold storage infrastructure, do some infrequent deliveries and bill/collect from my clients. Most of the time, however, he sits idly, waiting for me to bark up some orders. Apart from him, we've also got a helper who does the cleaning of my office and warehouse, so workload is really light. Time is never much of a problem for him. He wakes when it is convenient, except when they need to do their market puchases at around 7AM once a week. The rest of the time, he can wake up to his heart's desire. Occasionally, it would be nice for him to be around when I need him at around 4:30PM -- but oftentimes, he's next door playing basketball. He takes his day-off Saturday afternoons, insisting he needs to leave for Manila just after lunch so he can get home at a decent time, and then he usually skips reporting for work on Mondays. If by some stroke of luck he does appear on a Monday, or Tuesday, he arrives at night, claiming the whole day as official work and that his salary must be in tact. Of course, he never gets away with that, but that's not the point.

So, after a few more recent events such as making and selling ice from my freezers, never finding the time to organize our goods, inaccurate inventory reports and a refusal to act as part-time merchandiser in the department store we finally got accredited to sell our vegetarian products, we figured it was time to let go.

He was sent back to Manila today.

To think that he was paid more than the proper minimum wages, given transportation and food allowances, and he chose to be arrogant in spite of it all.

As a messenger and as a man-Friday, he was great. In everything else, he would mope around in doing it, or just didn't want to do it.

I hate asking employees to leave, but for whatever reason they lose my trust and confidence, it always is difficult to let them go.

Laziness and arrogance, I can probably take. Dishonesty is something I cannot tolerate. Well, good luck to him, and I do hope he learns from this lesson.

Now, as many times in my life, I've invested so much time and effort, trying to impart knowledge and skills to my personnel -- not just common staff members, but high-value corporate managers as well. Coaching them, spending time with them, doing favors for them, helping them solve problems, helping them reach their goals --- being their mentors. In the end, you're a no one to them. They've gotten what they needed, they don't need you anymore. In their minds, "I have everything I need now". Good Riddance to them, too. I hope they look back at their lives at some point in the future and remember that they couldn't have done it all by themselves.

23 July 2010

Well, Hello There...

It has been quite a while since I last posted an entry. With the popularity of Facebook, it was amusing to quickly post a picture, or a status update, or comment on something. But then, it seemed to me that I was starting to grow wary of too much online exposure. I still enjoy the relative anonymity I have created for myself here in this blog of mine. I realize I have lost many regular readers by not posting often enough, but such is life. We sometimes have to many things all over again, even in life.

I started this blog to share. Share insights, thoughts, observations; To help in any way I can. To extend the reach of my advocacies, and maybe even serve as an avenue for dispelling myself of some of the angst thrown my way -- an outlet, so to speak.

So, I am back, hoping that this time around I am able to share more, and probably come around to answering the many questions that have found themselves in my inbox after all these months.

I will endeavor to post, even quip, as frequent as I can.

quip, quip. :)