4 years, 7 months, and 16 days. If you pay attention, you can learn something from everyone you meet. Pay attention.

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https://www.purposefairy.com/78349/33-life-lessons-to-learn-from-eleanor-roosevelt/

http://www.timelessteacherstuff.com/readerstheater/MeFirst.pdf

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Believe in yourself, and learn to turn your attention outward.  Shosh, remember that book we read years ago about Pinkerton, the little pig who constantly cried, “Me first!”?  He finally learned his lesson after he had to care for Sand Witch.  (Remember, he thought the question was “who would care for a sandwich, not sand witch.)

It seems there are too many Pinkertons these days.  Everyone is about “Me first!”  See, e.g., https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/us/politics/louise-linton-mnuchin-instagram.html

Don’t be like them.  The world has more than enough selfish pricks.  If anything, we need more humility and kindness these days.

Be kind to others.  You never know what battles they are fighting.  But, it’s not just about them.  If you pay attention, they come bearing lessons from their lives from which you could learn.

Notice how everyone who meets Mr. Ted loves him?  Why do you think that is?  I suspect it has something to do with how he treats each individual he meets, and takes the time to talk to them.  His efforts don’t take away from the fact that he is among the top in his field, but they do make the world a happier place for that moment for those whose lives he touched.  Be like Mr. Ted.

All my love, always,

Dad

P.S., Eleanor Roosevelt is an amazing person.  If you have time, you should read about her.  In fact, try to read biographies and memoirs of the great ones.  They have much to teach us about life and how to live life fully and graciously.

 

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4 years, 7 months, and 14 days. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

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Here are the 4 rituals from Stoicism that will make you loved:

  • Not me: Stop talking about yourself. Let me talk about me and I’ll enjoy your company more. (Wow, this is more fun already.)
  • Practice “insult pacifism”: This is the worst blog post I’ve ever written? Trust me, I’ve written far worse.
  • Listen to the angel on your shoulder: Grandma is watching, potty-mouth.
  • Treat everyone as family: Treat people as your brothers and sisters and they’ll likely reciprocate.

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2017/07/make-you-loved/

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Shosh, do you remember your first heartbreak by a friend?  Up until that point, everyone you’d met had loved you.  You were beautiful, and smart, and funny, and kind.  What’s not to like.  Then came along Quentin (I think that’s his name).  He was your best friend in preschool.  You guys hung out every day, and played well together.  One day, he simply stopped playing with you.

You were crushed.  You kept asking why, but no answer was forthcoming.  You guys didn’t get into an argument.  We had no interactions with his parents.  None of us knew what happened.  He simply stopped being your friend and played with other kids.

You somehow took this break as an indication that there was something wrong with you, asking what it was that you did.  But, life isn’t about you.  His action was his to own, not yours.

This is a hard lesson to learn.  Too often in life, people cede control to others when they shouldn’t.  Why should you own someone else’s misery, bad attitude, poor upbringing, boorish behavior, etc.?  Don’t.  Their bad choices are theirs to own, not yours.

Be good to yourselves and be good to others, but don’t take yourself or life too seriously.  Laugh more.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  If you do, then how could anyone ever get under your skin?  If they tried to insult you, you’d simply laugh and say, “Oh, if you only knew the other 1,000 things I do wrong or stupidly!”  What are they going to say then?

As I told Ms. L from the moment we decided to make a family together, if we put you kids first, and she put me next and I put her next, how could we go wrong?  We would always be looking out for the other’s interests.  Happiness lies that way, my sons.  Seek to make yourselves happy, and you will  burden yourself with efforts to fill a bottomless pit.  We are black holes that can never be fulfilled.  We are psychologically wired to always adapt and to seek out the new and different.  Nothing will ever be good enough.  Today’s Rolex is tomorrow’s discard.  You can do better.  Live for other and, amazingly, you will find yourself happy.  (By the way, this is not to say lose yourself in others or let others walk all over you.  Don’t.  Find someone worthy of yourselves.)

All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 7 months, and 13 days. Be perseverant and resilient, not fragile

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Shosh, when you were a toddler, you had amazing dexterity.  You’d go around and pick up the tiniest pieces of lint, scraps of paper, threads, etc.  We’ve seen you try and try again to pick things up with your little fingers and not give up until you’ve accomplished your goal.  THAT’S PERSEVERANCE AND RESILIENCE!

Perseverance and resilience are necessary conditions for success, my sons.  Nothing worthwhile comes easy.  Push yourselves to succeed — even when you don’t feel like it.  Giving up offers you a moment’s respite, but will give you a lifetime of regrets.  Don’t give in to that temptation.  Fight for your dreams and goals.  Only you can get yourself there — no one else.

Look around you.  People are so fragile these days.  They are weak and fragile and complain about everything.  They blame everything and everyone for their own failures.  Don’t be like them.  Own your mistakes and learn from it.   Rest when you must, conserve your strength as necessary, but never give up.

Life is fragile — it can be taken from us at any moment — but we are not fragile.  We are strong, and we are resilient.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 7 months, and 8 days. Adopt the habits of the successful, not the unsuccessful.

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7 daily habits of rich people that you should copy

Habit #1: Exercise

In his research, Corley found that rich people exercised an average of 30 minutes, four days a week. So whether it’s a high-intensity CrossFit workout or a walk with my wife, I dedicate an hour a day to fitness. While I used to squeeze in workouts whenever I could spare the time, I now make it happen no matter what….

Habit #2: Build relationships

Relationships are the currency of the wealthy, Corley says. I keep a running list of positive influencers in my life and regularly connect with them. I call to say hello and listen to what’s going on in their lives….

Habit #3: Visualize your goals

Daymond John from “Shark Tank” has shared that he looks at his list of seven goals—each with an expiration date and action plan—when he wakes up and before bed. I wanted to attack my goals with the same intensity….

Habit #4: Read. A lot

According to author and speaker Grant Cardone, the most successful CEOs read an average of 60 books a year, whereas the average American worker reads just one—and earns 319 times less. After setting my own goal of consuming two books a month, I followed Corley’s other tips to make time: I stopped watching TV and listen to audiobooks in the car….

Habit #5: Practice affirmations

Self-concept is a huge influence on your quality of life. The more you like yourself, the higher your self-esteem and well-being. Once I learned this, I made up daily affirmations related to the most important areas of my life, from faith and family to business….

Habit #6: Volunteer

In his study, Corley found that 72% of the wealthy volunteer for at least five hours a week, compared with just 12% of the poor. Of course, there are many reasons to volunteer, but he says the rich use the opportunity to expand their network of like-minded people….

Habit #7: Confide in a mentor who’s been in your shoes

Even the most successful people on earth value mentors who’ve walked in their shoes and made it to the other side. Mark Zuckerberg credits Steve Jobs as his mentor, and Bill Gates has talked about how Warren Buffett mentored him through challenges at Microsoft.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/7-daily-habits-of-rich-people-that-you-should-copy-2017-08-09?link=sfmw_tw

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai, now compare that list with the list of the habits of unsuccessful people.

7 Habits of Poor People that You Should Avoid.

1. Buying small stuff. Have you tried going to a “bargain”? And when you go home, you realized you have bought some small stuffs that when you add them it cost you about more or less P500? Or did you try to go to Divisoria and spent almost P1000 for little things that you don’t really need? These are some of the bad habits of poor people, buying small stuffs that they don’t actually need.

2. Depending on one job only. One source of income is fine but it cannot give you an abundant life. It will just drive you around to the poor road and never get out of it. That’s why I don’t believe in the famous saying, “live within your means, I say instead, “increase your means”. Living only in one income will just allow you to survive life but cannot give you wealth. That’s how poor people work. They depend on one income only for the rest of their life.

3. Spending money for a “good luck”. I used to live in a community where everyone was poor, including my family. It’s only now that I recall that people there have common spending habit, they include “jueteng, gambling and lotto” in their budget. They believe in good luck to have money without realizing that doing these hurt their budget and worst making them poor as always.

4. Neglecting to save and invest. These two things are actually not included in the vocabulary of poor people. Even though they have full time job, it’s not their habit to save nor to invest. This is probably the reason, why they keep borrowing money when there is an emergency or occasion. That’s why in their next salary, they run short and borrow again, repeating the cycle.

5. They love to “rest” rather than think, plan and do more. Poor people always rest. They always long to lie down after meal, watch “teleserye” and sit down for a long period of time instead of thinking or planning about their work, plans etc. Poor people failed to recognize the power of thinking. Idowi Koyenikan once said, “never underestimate the power of thought; it is the greatest path to discovery”. It’s probably one of the reasons, why they don’t discovery new ways to improve their living. They are lack in “thinking time”.

6. They maintain poor friends. Jim Rohn says, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend time with”. So if you are poor, chances are, you surround yourself with poor or nearly poor people. That’s the habit of poor people, they fail to meet new friends intentionally. Friends who are rich and successful. That’s probably the reason, why they remain poor, because they don’t hear anything new, they see new opportunity and worst, and they adopt poor mentality.

7. They don’t read. Try to visit the home of rich and poor people, the rich man’s house has library and the poor man’s house has no library or even small collection of books. Since they failed to read, they miss the opportunity to learn new things, to read success stories that they can emulate and to learn tips on how to have financial freedom.

http://changeforlifesuccess.com/7-habits-poor-people-avoid/

Now, let’s be clear: I’m not saying eschew the impoverished and those down on their luck.  Monetary wealth may be a temporary state for those rich in thought, spirit, and friends.  They will find a way to be successful … they may not end up with a lot of financial wealth, but their lives will be rich and meaningful.

On the other hand, I am saying avoid the whiners, the nay-sayers, and those who forever blame others for their own lack of success.  Avoid these like the plague.  They will only drag you down.  Theirs is but a life of misery.  Everyday is but another opportunity for them to affirm how others are cheating them of their future, how others have it good and have the smile of fortune while misfortune dogs them, etc.  They fail to acknowledge how their negativity and misery chase away opportunities and the smile of fortune.

  1. Read voraciously
  2. Exercise daily
  3. Believe in yourselves
  4. Help others
  5. Make friends
  6. Follow your dreams
  7. Do your best always
  8. Ask for help when you need it
  9. Be grateful for your health, your intellect, your friends, your family, the opportunities you’ve been given, and the opportunities you will be able to cultivate

Be well, my sons.  Be happy.  Be successful in life

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 7 months, and 7 days. Read and learn the lessons of those who came before us.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Shosh, when you were young, you were a voracious reader.  Your mom did one thing right: she read to you constantly.  As a result, you had a huge vocabulary and were a smart little tyke!

Unfortunately, Jaialai, when you were about one, I lost my job as a result of blowing the whistle against the Enron of Healthcare and your mother had to go back to return to work because no one wanted to hire a whistleblower.  I stayed home to watch you, but was also occupied with the lawsuit against crooks who were ripping off the sick and dying; thus, I failed to read to you as often as your mom did for Shosh.  But, you still ended up being brilliant!!!!

That said, we tried to read to you both when we had the opportunity.  I hope you continue to read voraciously in my absence.

Books are wonderful things.  In addition to exposing us to far flung places in distant lands, they also introduce to us ideas that help shape our understanding of the world in which we live.  The wisdom of those who came before us is passed down in stories captured and preserved in those great instruments of knowledge: books.  Appreciate them.  Be kind and gentle to them.  Be grateful for the knowledge they bring and the authors who made such transfer of knowledge possible.

The lessons of yesteryears remain amazingly relevant today.  For example, today, I finished Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, and found a quote towards the end of the book that captured well current events of the day.  Speaking to the protagonist (a journalist who had managed to spend years in Indochina to cover the conflict there without investing himself in any side), one of the characters said, “[O]ne has to take sides.  If one is to remain human.”  Page 166.

Life requires us to choose.  Will you side with might or right?  Will you choose to help the oppressed or the oppressors?  To do nothing in the face of evil is to give tactic approval to that evil.  Don’t.  Choose wisely.  Read voraciously and gain the wisdom of those smarter than you or I.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

 

4 years, 7 months, and 3 days. People matter, not things.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-massacre-at-least-30-children-die-in-indian-hospital-after-oxygen-cut-off/2017/08/12/5f51cf70-fcc8-4fd3-8a71-94fcba37094f_story.html?utm_term=.74075c1cde17

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/12/543096666/white-supremacist-protest-in-virginia-leaves-one-dead

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_surprising_insights_about_success_and_happiness

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

There are difficult days, then there are DIFFICULT days.  Today is the latter.  The sadness is palpable.

But, as the enlightened Buddha has said, “Life is full of suffering, and the cause of suffering is selfishness.”  Open your eyes and see the world for what it is.  On one hand, you have 30 children die in a hospital in India because the hospital failed to pay for the oxygen needed to keep its patients alive.  On the other, you have a man drive his car into a crowd of protesters who hold views different from his own.

What is more important — the life of sick children or the death of those whose beliefs are different from your own?  A mere child can see the value of the former and senselessness of the latter.  Yet, adults often allow foolish thoughts to cloud their better judgement.

Don’t fall into this trap.  Remember always that people come first — not things, not ideas, not money.

(Let me be clear: even the grandest idea finds beauty only in its expression.  If a beautiful idea brings about ugly results, then the idea must not have been beautiful to begin with — its beauty was but an illusion.  Religion may be a beautiful idea, but countless number of people have been killed, maimed, and tortured in the name of religion.  The concept may not be flawed, but the expression of that concept certainly can be.)

As Americans, it is believed we have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.  That is a fool’s errand.  Happiness is not thing that we can catch.  It is more like a butterfly that will alight upon us when we are in the right frame of mind.

How do we achieve this “right” state of mind?  By being real, and by channeling your energies toward helping others.  (I use the term “help” here loosely to mean any act of kindness which would bring positivity to the lives of those around you.)

As one of my favorite sites states,

Kim Cameron, a University of Michigan professor and pioneer in the field of positive organizational psychology, tried a new kind of mapping: He plotted employees by their “relational energy.” Relational energy is how much your interactions with others motivate, invigorate, and energize them (rather than draining or exhausting them, something we’ve all experienced).

The result? The relational energy network predicted performance four times better than networks based on influence or information. In other words, having a positive and energizing impact on others seems much more important to how much you achieve at work than getting people to do what you want or hoarding secrets. And when a leader is more positively energizing, her employees perform better, are more satisfied and engaged with their jobs, and have higher well-being at home….

Are you searching for meaning in your life?

Most of us don’t have to look too far, argued University of Missouri professor Laura King. In a passionate and thought-provoking talk, she cited research showing that little things can increase our sense of meaning: seeing images of trees that represent the passing of the seasons; being reminded of morning-related words (pancakes, bacon, sunrise) in the morning; or having more routine in our lives….

“People don’t need to know how to make their lives meaningful. They need to know that they already are,” King said. And when we believe in the meaningfulness of our lives, we unlock the benefits of more positive feelings and better relationships.

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_surprising_insights_about_success_and_happiness

Be kind to yourselves and to others, my sons.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 6 months, 27 days. Nothing worth having comes easy.

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My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

Heed the words of the wise.  In life, you either work hard and try your best to achieve your dreams, or suffer the pangs of regret later in life for having never tried.

Look around you.  How many do you see falling into the latter camp?  Look at your cousins, aunts, and uncles on your mom’s side?  They are roofers, fast food workers, warehouse laborers, sanitation department workers, etc.  Those are honest jobs and there is nothing wrong with those types of jobs in and of themselves.  But, the question is what else could they have made of themselves?

Life isn’t that difficult, really.  The rules are fairly simple:

  1. Do your best.
  2. Be true to yourself.
  3. Treat others as they want to be treated.

You will find that many people in life are “minimally exceptional” not because of their abilities (or lack thereof), but because of their lack of efforts.  They’d rather complain and blame others than strive to improve their lots in life.  The good ones who do will rise to the top while the rest will gravitate towards their rightful places in life.  The good ones will leave healthier legacies for their children while the minimally exceptional will leave their children the minimally exceptional.  I introduced you to Mr. Ted, one of the best in our field.  Who has your mom and her siblings introduced you to?

Where will you be in 10 years, boys?  I know what your abilities are, but will you put in the effort to get yourselves there?  I pray you will.  That is how I taught you to be.  Don’t be like your mom, who would rather veg out in front of the TV instead of taking you to the park, the library, the beach, or other places where you can exercise your bodies and your minds.  Strive to be the best you.

All my love, always,

Dad