7 before 37

Faces. When I look at different faces — faces of loved ones, faces of friends, faces of acquaintances, faces of strangers, I think about the beauty and the mystery of life. Each face that I remembered tonight was seconds, minutes, hours or years of memories that made up my LIFE. How amazing is that? If you look at your life, how many faces have you seen? How many faces have actually taken up moments in your life?

In 7 days, i’ll turn 37. 37 is actually not a bad age. I think it’s actually the perfect time to contemplate on past actions and on choices that I’ve made, and still have ample time to work on more things.

I know my life isn’t perfect. I am not perfect. And I know that behind the faces that we have are complex individuals that sometimes others may not expect or even comprehend. Sometimes, we can’t even understand our own actions. But behind these complexities, we all have the same objective. Our objective is to be the best version of ourselves for whatever we believe we may encounter in the future (whether it be a God that we believe in, a divine being, reincarnation, etc.). So whatever we believe will happen to us after our death, we’re prepared and we know that we have acted accordingly to reach that “goal” or acted in accordance to what we believe is true to our nature.

I wish that life was that easy.

I wish that life could be as simple as choosing what’s right and avoiding what’s wrong, choosing good over evil. The reality though is that life presents us with tough choices. Some of these choices may all be “good”, depending on who “sees” it or who’s affected by the decision. And some may be bad, but sometimes, different factors can even blur that line of an act being “bad or a sin”.

In the past year, I’ll start with two things that I learned from my own experiences and from what I have observed. Do you know what these are?

It’s that life is made out of several (let’s say) time components, and when you see a single part or a moment in a person’s life, you cannot judge nor draw conclusions. This is because, you haven’t seen all of the components. And another thing is that you only have control over your own actions and decisions. You cannot and should not think or event attempt to control another person’s life. These two points (I think) are the basic premises of respect.

So keeping this in mind, we should not punish ourselves for broken time components, because we know that we can do better and make the next components better. In doing good, we don’t need to brag, broadcast or tell the world about those amazing moments, because what really matters is that you enjoyed those moments, you were present and that you will forever remember them.

So there. Those are my thoughts on this night. Those are the thoughts that came to my mind while remembering the faces, the feelings and the random moments in my life. On this night, 7 days before my birthday, I wish all of you clarity, empathy and hope that would help you live the rest of your lives in happiness and love. 🙂

Will Screws Screw You Over?

Discussions in the digital world about taxing robots have been brought up after Bill Gates suggested that idea. He said, “Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, social security tax, all those things. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.

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will screws screw you over?

Most of us are scared that with new technology (i.e. cars and trucks which drive themselves, when robots assemble gadgets, when robot lawyers defend people with parking tickets, etc.), we will be displaced from our work and livelihood. We will not have anything to do. We will be stripped from things that we have built and things that make us whole (well, at least from our perspective). And sad to say, we equate our worth and built that connection with the work that we do or with the career that we have. We often equate self-worth with our actual jobs and professions.

Hardly do we encounter people who dig deeper into what their life is all about. I’ve seen movies and TV series where successful businessmen allot time for meditation, from Axelrod in the series Billions to Gavin Belson in Silicon Valley. This was also an advice that I got from one of my mentors way back when I was a product manager. Meditation or looking inward makes us see things clearly and makes us focus on what is essential. I guess with the demands of daily life and the responsibilities that we need to do, we lose precious time to think about what we are really meant to do.

When we ask someone about what he or she does, we often tell them our position or designation. I’m the CEO of Manila Workshops or i’m the COO of Taxumo. Related to my previous point, telling them what they can absorb quickly and what we can explain in a concise way, makes sense in the fast-paced world that we live in. We hardly hear people say that they are great moms or great husbands. We also don’t say that we are helping increase the GDP of our country or we are promoting world peace and stopping world hunger. This is obviously something that we don’t share on the onset, because the other person will think that we’re some kind of a psycho or running for office (or both… haha!).  It’s okay not to be blunt about what our mission in life is. We just need to be clear on what our value is. If we are clear on what we can contribute, then there is nothing to be afraid of. And let me tell you this, all of us can contribute something.

Emotional Labor

One of the things that I think robots will not be able to do is emotional labor. Earlier today, I was listening to a podcast about this certain topic. Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfil the emotional requirements of a job. More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and superiors (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_labor). This is something that I think robots will have a hard time doing. Even when some robots or algorithms can actually read sentiments and analyze how people react, it will still be humans who will be able to determine and execute the best possible reaction to a particular sentiment. Managing emotions is complex, since there are a lot of factors to consider and it’s normally different from one individual to the other. This is just one of the things that makes humans valuable.

Change in Perspective

Robots are not our enemies. We have to view new technology as something that will help make our work easier, so that we can concentrate on things that we enjoy. We can focus on things that we love. We can focus on building relationships. We can focus more on self-development and loving life.

I don’t think these screws will screw us over. I think what will screw with us is our own perception of who we are. If we feel that we will not be of any value 10 years or 20 years from now, then we’re screwed.

 

 

 

 

Why YOU is More Important

Life is complicated. That’s a reality that each one of us needs to accept. My life is not perfect, and it may seem to be, but under the scrutinizing eyes of of someone more mature, they may be able pick out a lot of flaws and imperfections. No matter how much we strive to make our lives perfect, it will never be.

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So, do we just throw in the towel, and live life miserably. No! Of course, not. What makes life exciting and worth living is practically that. We go through life wanting to live it to the fullest (may be not perfect). Each and every breath leads us to things that are new, ideas that haven’t been uncovered, decisions we make that surprise even ourselves.

I was talking to a company last week that mentioned their goal (it was a really great goal), which was to help people achieve success. It truly is wonderful to see a company that aims to achieve that. It was refreshing to see a company go beyond products and services, and to have its main motivation to make it a point that me, their consumer, achieves success. But it got me thinking, do we really know what our own definition of success is.

For the businesses that we create, it may be easier to define. Having a sustainable, profitable business may be it. And to add to that, some of us may even add a higher purpose to what our business is all about. But this is for our business. What about us? We often attach ourselves too much to the business that we have (it’s really hard to separate and some may even say that it’s not really a business but a passion, so it will never be separated), but is the business’ success your own definition of success?

I personally see businesses as a tool to get you to your own definition of success — a means to an end. Some may see traveling the world as their own “end”; being a simple nomad and an advocate of discovery. Others may see living a simple life with no worries surrounded by loved ones as their ultimate dream. Others see that their ultimate “end” is having no end to what they are currently doing, since it’s their passion. It’s something to think about. What is your end? What is your definition of success?

Never forget that what ultimately matters is your own success. Success for me when you are happy with yourself, your choices and how you lived your life. When you are contented with your life, you are successful. You cannot compare your own success with other people, because we all live different lives. You cannot let competition drive you. You have to be your own worst enemy and your own best friend. Motivation will come from no one els, but you.

This is the reason why YOU is the most important thing in this world. Look inside and you’ll find clarity.

Why We Should Love Even when It Hurts — Sometimes.

Happy February, everyone! My next favorite month to December, and oh, October (since that’s my birth month), is February. I love February, because during this month, you can clearly see the honest-to-goodness feelings of people. A lot of extreme emotions this month will come into play. There will be a lot of love, lust (yup, just had to say that…haha!), pain, loneliness (love even when it hurts), finding new love, longing for past loves, and a whole lot more!

We have all expressed and felt all of these different emotions. When we were young and care-free, we couldn’t care less. We would love whoever we want to love and we would break-up with whoever we want to break-up with. Most of us didn’t see the “bigger picture”. We didn’t see who it was that we were hurting, because of our actions. We often didn’t see the repercussions of  the great love that we wanted to express. And love to us when we were young, was confined into that realm of romantic love.

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But now that we are all #adulting, we see different kinds of love. We see that love isn’t just about the love that you have for one special human being, whom you consider your soulmate. Love can mean love for one’s self. Love can mean loving your parents. Love can mean loving your sibling, relatives, a son, a daughter. Love can mean loving a friend, a business partner, a mentor, a co-worker. Love can also mean loving someone whom you have lost, or literally someone who is no longer with us.

Understanding love isn’t confined to the people to whom it is given. How it is given, when it is given, in what form it is given are interesting to see and look at, too. There are some people who find love and are lucky to have found them. There are some who give love, and feel great pain when they lose it. But we should love even when it hurts.

Why? Because…

Love helps you understand yourself more.

When you get to experience truly loving someone, it inspires you to go beyond what you are usually capable of. Sometimes, you might even surprise yourself.

Love makes you stronger.

You know that ultimately, everything will be okay. You have gone lengths to express and give love. Even if unreciprocated, you know that at least on your end, you have shown how valuable the other person is. You know that you’re not on the losing end.

Love fuels everything, even if it’s not explicitly mentioned or seen.

The decisions that we make, as we normally say, is for someone else’s good or for your own good. That decision is fueled by love for others or love for yourself. Love is the flame that lights the world on fire.

There are more reasons why you should love even when it hurts. Hope you can share your thoughts on this!

I end this article with a quote:

Love myself I do. Not everything, but I love the good as well as the bad. I love my crazy lifestyle, and I love my hard discipline. I love my freedom of speech and the way my eyes get dark when I’m tired. I love that I have learned to trust people with my heart, even if it will get broken. I am proud of everything that I am and will become.

– Johnny Weir

This month is about all forms and types of love. Keep on loving!

Greed vs Dreaming Big

Last month, a friend of mine shared shocking news that one of the people we knew was sent to prison. He apparently stole Php 90 Million from his clients while he was working as a branch manager in a bank. I felt sad because I think (obviously) he knew that the day would come when he would be found out. My friend and I were talking on as to what would make him that greedy? We really had no clue. I knew this person and he was an extrovert. I knew that he had big goals and dreams. Did dreaming big get him to where he is right now?

Then, while watching the newest season of Gilmore Girls, a scenario spoke to me once again (I won’t mention the scene to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t seen it. It made me think of greed versus dreaming big. Where do you draw the line when you’ll say that a person is being greedy versus that he/she is just aiming high? When do you say that enough is enough?

greed

Don’t Step on Other People while on the Way to the Top

I personally think that there is nothing wrong about aiming high and setting big goals for yourself. But when you step on other people, then it becomes an issue. For example, if you dream about being a famous writer, there is nothing wrong with that. When you spread false stories or news about other people just to be famous, that’s where it becomes greedy. Another example is when you want to be the “boss” in the future. There is nothing wrong with that, but how you get there is what you need to think doubly hard about. If you know that you will hurt someone else in the process, try to rethink your strategy. There may be another way to get to the top.

What Good is Winning if you Lose Yourself

In life, there are a multitude of times that a hard decision is presented where you need to chose between two things. The tricky part is that oftentimes, this is not a black and white or a wrong and right choice. Oftentimes, these choices both seem right or both seem wrong. You can actually argue your way out and justify any of the choices. This is what makes life interesting. And the choices that we make define what we value most in our lives.

At the end of the day, it’s about staying true to your values and principles. These values and principles make up who you are. This was explicitly shown in the Disney – Pixar Movie MOANA. The choices that were presented to her were choices that would define who she was as a person. Both options were good, either to stay in the village and be the obedient daughter or to follow her passion which was to set sail into the ocean. The most important thing is to know and to be true to who you are.

You may hear a voice inside/ And if the voice starts to whisper/ To follow the farthest star/ Moana, that voice inside is/ Who you are”

 

*Moana image from http://www.idiva.com/news-entertainment/moana-the-new-disney-princess/1510085

*Moana image from http://www.idiva.com/news-entertainment/moana-the-new-disney-princess/1510085

What’s Next After you Have Achieved it All?

Have you ever thought of what your life would be like once you have achieved all of your dreams? Yes, you say that you want to be a huge rockstar like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Tyra Banks, etc. Have you ever thought of what your life would be like once you get there? What would you have? Who would you love? Who will be by your side? Will you be amidst your loved ones or will you be a lone wolf in the dessert? Will you still have that respect from other people or will people abhor you (mostly because you stepped on them along the way)?

I know that most of us are creating plans to start the year right. I’m leaving these questions here for you (and me!) to think about as we all plan our way to success. I hope we don’t leave anyone behind.

Raise Great Kids: Healthy Balance Between Responsibility and Fun

I have a new yaya and it’s her first day today. Although, we loved the last one, she had to deal with personal issues. We will miss you, Ate Nene. So anyway, going back to this new yaya, she was really impressed at how well behave my daughter was. She is one of those great kids you’d see — always such a good girl. She was shocked that my little lady knew how to pack away her things, knew how to answer adults respectfully, etc. The new yaya was also amazed at how unattached my daughter was to the TV. She didn’t really care much for shows. Our daughter, also, wanted to play at the playroom more than to play with just her tablet. She loves it when people tell her stories — random stories about anything!

When people ask us how we did it, how did we raise such an amazing kid, I actually don’t know what we did well. We actually don’t know what specific things or lessons or parenting skills we have applied that contributed to making our child such a great kid with a great attitude.

Great Kids Mommy and Me

What I will tell you now is what we do and what we follow in our household, and I don’t even know if this is what helped. It has worked for us, but of course, it may not work for you.

One of the things that we keep in mind at home is to do everything in moderation. We can have fun and play with our daughter, but we expect her, too, to do her share in some of the chores. “Chores” for a three year old really is just packing away her toys, helping get stuff, help put things away — those simple things. We make it clear that we can be silly and funny, but if she does something wrong or does not fulfil commitments, we switch to our serious, stern parenting modes. I think she gets it that we mean business!

Great Kids PH 3

Parenting can be tiring but fun! 🙂

Also, moderation means having boundaries with certain things and activities. When we go inside a toy store, we already set expectations. We talk to her and say that she can have just one toy or she needs to wait for the weekend for us to buy her a toy. She ends us just playing with the toys inside and she doesn’t throw any tantrums when we don’t buy her anything. Although, occasionally, she will cry when she thinks about a certain toy, but she hasn’t really cried loudly and uncontrollably inside a store.

Great Kids PH 4

I teach her to try to dress up by herself or pick the dress that she wants to wear.

We also teach her to commit to doing things and to be responsible for things. We bought this task chart in one of the Homeschooling Conferences that we had before. We use it now for Zeeka. If she completes tasks and fills the chart with stars for one full week, she is allowed to choose a prize. The tasks in her chart included sharing (since this is what we have noticed to be something difficult for her to do), dressing herself, brushing her teeth, taking a bath, etc. For the reward that we give, it’s normally a toy that I can afford or an app that we have to pay for. This week it was a Yo Gabba Gabba application that cost me $4.99. Haha!

We also teach her to make her own decisions. Do you know that this great kid chooses her own clothes? We don’t pick them for her. She chooses what she wants to wear on a daily basis. This little lady loves shopping, and believe it or not, she has great taste! She even has more fashion sense than me.

Great Kids PH 8

Great Kids PH 9

My daughter also has a set schedule and I encourage the yaya or anyone watching her to follow this schedule. I’m sure when she grows up, she will eventually break the schedule, but I think that having a routine instills good habits that I think she will carry on until she’s older (like taking care of her health and having enough sleep).

Making them responsible for things doesn’t make you a boring parent (I think we’re cool parents! haha!). When they are still young, my belief is that these children need to have a balance between fun and learning to handle responsibilities, and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach them to balance these things.

PS. Check out the Mommy and Me collection of Great Kids PH! Have you seen the clothes that we wore above?! It’s so cute!

Mommy and Me Great Kids

 

Talking about Feelings

I was watching this really awesome show on Netflix, Drop Dead Diva. It’s the story of a model who died and whose soul went back to earth and is now using a body of a kick-ass lawyer. Anyway, there are a couple of episodes when clients would go to psychotherapists. Then I wondered why in the Philippines, there are not a lot of people who go to psychotherapists and even wondered more why I haven’t met any psychotherapists at all. It seems like a lucrative specialization really, and no one seems to be talking about going to one. This for me is odd since psychotherapy deals with emotions and mental conditions.

By definition:
Psychotherapy is a type of therapy used to treat emotional problems and mental health conditions. It involves talking to a trained therapist, either one-to-one, in a group or with your wife, husband or partner.
*http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Psychotherapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx

The reason that I got from friends when I asked them what they thought about this is that it’s a bit taboo to admit that you have mental issues. Yes, I get that, but then again, we are not talking about just mental problems. We are also talking about emotional concerns. We are talking about feelings, and I really think people need to speak up about how they feel, just to get it off their chest.

Feelings
If a loved one died or if you have been a victim of an abusive partner or rape, or if you, as menial as it may seem, have given everything to someone you love and they just leave you and drop you like you didn’t matter at all, where do you go? If you have issues with your family or with your best friend or issues like fears that you want to overcome, who do you go to? If you just want someone to talk to without judgement, who do you talk to?

I think our society needs to understand that we all need to talk about our feelings, and we shouldn’t judge people who talk to experts to seek for help and advice. I think a lot of the suicide incidents happen because these people found their problems to heavy to handle. I think if they had someone to talk to, this would have been avoided.

Emotions are important. It’s what makes us human. And sharing your story and talking about feelings when you need to share the emotional load is fine.

Just saying.

My Exciting and Complicated Life

It’s Friday and i’m working at full speed. I feel so alive and inspired today. I feel like most of you missed the bubbly and the enthusiastic Ginger, and guess what?! I’m back!

I’m sorry that I have been such a downer lately. It’s probably because I felt like I had to fulfil so many expectations and obligations. I also felt like I wanted to please people that I loved, and that became so much to bear. At times, I felt I wasn’t giving enough and, sometimes also, I felt depressed because I felt I wasn’t getting enough in return. I formulated expectations in my head, when in fact, life is just simple. I think I overthought things and aimed too high, too soon, that I felt exhausted.

I realized though that it was mostly all ME
. I was the one putting so much pressure on myself. I wanted to achieve things quickly and successfully, that I lost the fun and adventurous Ginger along the way.

I was going through different animation shorts today and this was what inspired me and reminded me of myself.

On the Same Page

What I Love about my Life

What I love about my life is that it’s always fun and exciting. There is not a day that I don’t get to learn new things. I am not much of a reader, but I love talking to people. I know it’s such a far comparison, but talking to one person for me is a lot like reading a book. When I talk to people, I am always excited as I get to discover new things and learn from their experiences, perceptions and thoughts. This may be probably the reason why I love blogging, also. Blogging allows me to meet various kinds of people, and share things that I learn from their stories.

Moms-11

I love that I have so many ideas that I want to do and so many goals that I want to achieve. Here’s the thing, people. Never let other people say that you dream big. Do shoot for the stars and let go of your fear. How do I do it? How do I let go of that fear? I just do things, because I know that even if I fail, love will help me survive. People who love you will always be there for you, but even if you feel that you’re alone and no one gets your dream and ambitions, remember that you have enough love for yourself to get you by. Have faith (even if you don’t believe in God or the idea of a god) that their is a bigger plan to all of these things — that there is a higher purpose.

A Moderately Complicated Life

When people say that they don’t want a life of complication, I get it. Who would want drama in their lives? But in the same way, who would want to be doing things that you don’t love? Why would you give up your dreams or the person who truly makes you happy, when you have a chance at it and a chance with that person? Why would you purposely miss a bus ride when you know for sure that it will take you to Disneyland?

Life, in general and basically, is complicated. I’d give anything to know how to live every day “perfectly” (oh, that can be a super hero power that I’d wish for) and make perfectly, non-regrettable decisions, but I can’t. We all can’t because of this fact — we are only human.

I think we should aim for a moderately complicated life. It makes our life more interesting and worth living. I think what will make it moderately complicated is if we try to do things that we have always wanted to do, but were always scared to do. Sometimes, the thing that scares us the most is the thing that is good for us. We can make our lives moderately complicated yet fulfilling and exciting when we pursue our passion (yech! overrated phrase, I know… but really true, so I apologize if I had to say that).

My message for you today

Embrace life, because life is fun and exciting! This may be a bit extreme, but the lyrics of this song may be a weird kind of inspiration… 🙂 haha!

Just go and do things that you love and things that you have always wanted to try. If you fail, then c’est la vie!