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Saturday, May 13, 2017

8:50 PM

Why we shouldn't stop dreaming

by , in
Illustrated by Robert Labayen

Walter Elias Disney was fired from a newspaper because the boss didn’t find him creative enough. He put up his own animation studios and he got bankrupt at least 2 times. He was cheated by his business partners and was abandoned by some of his artists. He is said to have been driven by poverty to eat dog food and he almost went to jail,too. Today, we can no longer imagine a world without Disney movies, Disney cartoons and Disney princesses.

Oprah Winfrey was born to an unwed mother. They were so poor she had to wear potato sacks to school. She was molested, too. After she became a small time tv journalist, she was assigned to a poorly performing show. This program later on became the Oprah Winfrey Show and Oprah is now considered as one of the most influential women in America ever.

J.K. Rowling was divorced and left to take care of her daughter. But she was so broke, she depended on government welfare. Twelve publishers rejected her manuscript for Harry Potter. Today, Harry Potter, a world of magic for millions of people, is worth $15 Billion.

Steve Jobs was fired by the company he founded before he bounced back and regained top leadership of Apple.

Thomas Edison famously failed 10,000 times before he was finally able to invent the electric light bulb!

If you think about it, the things we enjoy in life are creations by people who have failed miserably ! Our beautiful world and pleasurable lives are a creation of people who have once been total failures ! Artists and scientists rarely become successful on their first attempt. If they didn’t persevere, we will all be probably dead by now or living dull lives.

In the book The Miracle Morning, bestselling author Hal Elrod mentioned a finding by the Social Security Administration ( United States ) that after working for 40 years, 95% of people are NOT living the life they had wanted for themselves. These are people who probably didn’t get the lucky breaks, were diverted into a different career, or those who gave up trying to make their dreams come true.

Bronnie Ware is a nurse who worked in a ward for the terminally ill. After talking to the dying patients, she learned that their biggest regret is not having lived the life they wanted for themselves.

We don’t need to accept what has happened to the majority as our own fate, too. For as long as we live, we can keep taking a crack at that elusive dream.

We have a duty to never give up. I believe it was God who planted the seed of the dream in our heart. That’s because He wants our talents for a purpose that serves Him. For example, if you’re dreaming of becoming a great musician, that’s because God wants you to use that gift to touch the hearts of millions.

But God doesn’t give us our success just like that. He wants us to work hard for our success because it is in our struggle that we acquire wisdom and shape our values. If our triumph was given to us on a silver platter, we might not be able to handle it well.

I remember back in 2005 when our media company lost the battle for ratings after 17 years of solid leadership. Our Chairman said “I am not in a hurry to be number one again. We have to learn our lessons first before we reclaim success. “

Dreams are killed by the voices of some people around us. They tell us we will never make it. But the deadliest killer is that small voice in our head. It has no respect for our talent.

If God is speaking to you through this article, He is telling you to never give up. The success that God will give you may not be 100% exactly like how you envisioned it but it will be the same in essence, and surely even better in every sense. When you are failing in one thing, it is very likely that God has another plan.

Take the case of Pia Wurtzbach. She did not make it big as an actress. She turned to beauty contests. At first try, she didn’t make it. She tried a second time and still didn’t win the title. On the third, she became Miss Philippines. Possibly because of the experience she has acquired over the years, it was easier for her to become Miss Universe in 2016!

Some of us are dreamers but not doers. So, time management consultant David Allen advised in the book Making It All Work that we should have the creative perspective of a dreamer and the task-focused control of an organized person.

The Bible tells the story of a young man named Joseph. His brothers hated him because he had a dream that he will someday lord it over his brothers. The brothers threw him into a pit to die. But at that time, a caravan passed and the brothers decided to sell him to the caravan leader named Potiphar.

Joseph became a servant of Potiphar. But falsely accused of raping Potiphar’s wife, he was thrown into jail. In prison, he interpreted the dreams of a fellow prisoner. Later on, this prisoner recommended Joseph to interpret the dream of the Pharaoh. The grateful Pharaoh rewarded Joseph with the second highest rank in all of Egypt !

Preacher Joel Osteen said that if you think you have been thrown into a pit to die, a caravan will pass by to pick you up.

When I was in college and getting initiated by a fraternity, the “masters” asked us to recite a poem when we were tempted to give up and walk away. The last two lines of the poem by an anonymous poet are these “So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit; It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2:11 AM

Why we should live extraordinary lives

by , in
Illustrated by Robert Labayen

Gazing at a night sky decked out with stars is a most humbling thing.

Scientists are learning how accurately designed the universe is. Any slight deviation in the “fine tuned” cosmic formula, the universe would have fallen apart. So, scientists have concluded it was impossible for the universe to have begun without a designer-creator.

In the endless heavens, the earth is a speck tinier than a grain of sand.

But even in our little spot in the universe, all works of God are just breathtaking. The golden sunrise, the vast oceans, the gorgeous mountains, the colorful birds and animals, the dazzling world under the sea. As you can see, God doesn’t make anything ordinary. He only creates awesome things.

God, the God of amazing things, wants us to live extraordinary lives, too.

Every parent can understand this. Does any parent want their child to live a life that is boring, mediocre, unfulfilled ? Becoming rich may not be every one’s ambition, but very rare is a parent who’d wish their child would live and die poor.

Having a life that is spectacular doesn’t mean we have to become rich and famous, popular, highly skilled or influential. It’s not even about what opportunities are accessible to one’s economic status.

I believe God gave all of us the potential to live special lives. We are all free to develop our talents, pursue our passions, serve the public, serve the Church, dedicate ourselves to a worthy cause, dedicate ourselves to people who need care, make people happy, find something to laugh at every day. We can do a variety of things to make our lives more exciting and the world, a better place.

God wants us to go for more because he is a God who pushed the beauty and abundance of His creation to the extreme.

A parable told in the book of Matthew berates the servant who buried his master’s resources in the soil and therefore making them unproductive. It’s God’s lesson against some people’s tendency to waste the talents they have been given. Maybe some don’t actively look for chances to use them. Others use their gifts for self-destructive things.

We are therefore advised to free ourselves from the bondages that limit our abilities. These could be bad habits, laziness, pride, a resigned attitude, bad peer pressure.

If we develop our endowments, it’s not just us who will be happy. That’s because those talents are meant to be shared. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” ( 1 Peter 4:10)

When we use our talents to serve and delight others, we can get even better in our craft. Jesus told his disciples “whoever wants to be great among you must be their servant”
( Matthew 20:26 ).

When I discussed this thing in our Couples for Christ household, one of our members said that service to the community made him discover a hidden talent. Where once he was too scared to face a crowd, now he is one of our most articulate speakers.

It’s not always a religious service that will bring out the best in us. Many songwriters and poets become prolific when inspired by love for country or love for somebody deserving. Engineers are motivated by visions of beautiful cities.

If you can afford it, it’s also good to help those who have no means to fulfill their dreams. For example, my CFC brother Rudy Gaspillo initially wept because he knew he couldn’t go to college. His father sought help from their landlord. Eventually, Rudy placed 8th in the national board exams for engineers !

Two nights ago, I listened to a lecture by a doctor specializing in the care of old people. She said that keeping the mind and the body active are good protection from  disease and other forms of dementia. It’s good to stay engaged in life !

Bronnie Ware is a nurse who worked with terminally ill patients. She learned that the biggest regret of dying patients is the fact that they were not able to live the life they wanted.

As young people say, YOLO. And a boring, unproductive life is surely not what we had wanted.

For me, a special life, a spectacular life, is one filled with miracles, answered prayers, fulfilled dreams, goals reached, work created,  people served, people loved and people who love us.

“But for those who trust in the Lord for help will find renewed strength. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” ( Isaiah 40:31 )

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