You Can’t Workout 7 Times A Year…

… and expect to be strong and healthy.

That’s obvious, David.

It is.

But there are equally obvious things, common sensical things, that, for whatever reasons, we fail to understand, such as:

It’s not enough to do relief work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that people are getting involved. People do need our help. But the smartest way to help people is to live excellently and generously daily – not simply when there’s a disaster. Let’s take this last storm for example. I don’t know if the rainfall was as much as the previous typhoons but, according to one article, Metro Manila had double the the flood spots than the last one.

Yes, double.

So now there are more people to relieve. When you take into account that there are still many families displaced from past floods, families we’ve mostly forgotten since “disaster mode” is over, we realize that we’re not solving the real issues that hurt people during heavy rains. Along with the growing pictures of people helping on social media is the growing number of the affected, adding up each year with the growing number of flood spots.

Until we fix the issues of illegal settlers, urban congestion, and lack of provincial development (many times due to the corrupt people running these areas), we can expect more of these disasters. We already know that there will be a few periods of major rains and storms in the country, yet we don’t have a long term solution.

David, we can only do our part. You should be glad people are even helping.

I’m not saying I’m mad. I’m just saying it’s not enough. And if our part can be summed up to reactive volunteerism than we’re in trouble.

More on “our part” later.

It’s not enough to rally.
It’s a great step. But, again, it’s not enough. More than our right to rally, we have a right to vote, a right which should be exercised and exercised wisely. I like a song by Rodriguez that goes, “Public goes irate but forgets the vote date”. It perfectly captures the problem with most societies that suffer from corruption: Good at complaining. Bad at the most fundamental things.

The people leading us? We empowered them. We voted them (or didn’t vote at all). We recommended them to our friends, to our employees, to our congregations. We dealt with them. We made their jingles, made their campaign strategies. We drank their Kool Aid. We allowed them to get away with this for so long.

And it’s not because we didn’t rally sooner.

It’s because we have other rights we didn’t exercise daily. Particularly the much abused  word “Freedom”. We’re free to be amazing people daily – not just rich or powerful or influencial or sexy or impressive – but generous, kind, helpful, encouraging, law-abiding, developing, growing, helping individuals. Yet, where is the general focus?

When democracy was conceptualized, with the idea of liberty (or freedom) were two other pillars: equality and fraternity. Way back then, the brains behind democracy understood, that if it was all about being able to do whatever one wanted, we would end up with chaos. Liberty needed to be balanced with equal opportunity (as is possible under the law) and an understanding that we are all responsible for each other as brothers.

So the only way democracy was supposed to work, the only it could work, was if people used their personal freedom to promote equality and fraternity. The body that was supposed to promote and safeguard this was the government they setup.

Keep in mind that during this period in France, the people rose up because two powers were wielding an unhealthy amount of power over them: the monarchy (the elite) and the church (religious institutions). The elite felt entitled to the power and to the services of the people. Sound familiar? The church was influencing a relatively superstitious and uneducated people who were afraid of crossing the church because they would be sent to hell. Sound familiar?

Before someone thinks I’m a communist, I’m not, I want to say that I do believe in the importance of leadership and that leaders will take a prominent role in society – but not to gain advantages but to serve. To serve actually means to be disadvantaged by advantaging others.

I’m also not an atheist. I believe in God and the importance of the church, but not to control people with superstition, not to threaten people with damnation and curses, which will happen anyway to anyone who rejects the source of goodness, Christ, but to present the Gospel, a gift, that while we cannot save ourselves we can turn to Jesus who loves all and wants to save all. Like I said in an old post:

Paul (the apostle) understood that love cannot be enforced, as many of us attempt to do. Love cannot be coerced. You cannot threaten someone with punishment so that they’ll love you – that’s manipulation. You cannot bribe love with blessings – that’s prostitution. You can try to explain love, yet you won’t go very far. We can’t explain the taste of chocolate to someone who hasn’t tried it. What more love? Love must be shown and love must be experienced, over and over, and over again.

I just want to be clear. I’m not a communist nor an atheist, but I do believe in aiming for equality (at least under the law) and, like Nacho Libre’s friend said, “I believe in science”. Good philosophy and good science are not enemies of faith, in my opinion they are incredible supporters of faith, so use your brain.

Which leads me to the final part of this post…

It’s enough to do our part.
One of the problems I have with people who keep promoting “rights” is that many times they forget that these “rights” are only possible if there is a higher authority that is capable of enforcing these rights.

All rights have a cost, and the way citizens can enjoy rights is for government to promote and protect these rights, and government is able to do that if its leaders are held accountable to the people. So there’s a cycle, a theoretical correcting mechanism. People enjoy the rights a government is capable of enforcing because they’ve been given power by the people, who also hold them accountable.

The point of all of that is to say, you want a better government? Start with yourself. Because you are actually the power behind powerful people. Politics is a popularity contest. And in general, we have bad taste. Most of our popular people have incredible impact on the habits of people but have a very shallow understanding of social issues, of really deep concerns. 
Some of you might say, “But they’re not leaders David. They’re actors / celebrities / singers / politicians / whatevers.”

Exactly. That’s all they are. So stop giving them so much. Stop giving them such a disproportionate amount of your time, energy, and money. 

“We’re not giving them much at all.”
Yes you do.When you watch their shows instead of studying, you power the disease of celebrityism, and you lose a moment to be a better citizen. When you waste your time on noontime shows instead of working your ass off, you lose a moment to be a better citizen. If you’re always early for movies (because you want to see the trailers) but always late for work, you betray your priorities. When you know more about the latest gossip but don’t take the time to learn how your government actually works, how you can actually take part, you default on your ability to be a force of good in a big way.
We know more about the coolest new series and have so little knowledge on how the executive, legislative, and judiciary works.
“That’s for smart people David.”

If you really believe that, then you should be ok with only smart people enjoying the benefits. But you don’t believe that because you know that’s not good for those who have no benefits. 
 
Every right we want to enjoy is powered by a responsibility accepted. 
You want a driver’s license? You’re responsible for your driving. You want to go to school? You’re responsible for your grades. You want to be a politician? You’re responsible for constituents. You want to be a pastor? You’re responsible for your theology. And if you fail in these responsibilities, you hurt your right, you may even lose your right.
There are certain opportunities I know are no longer for me because I did not decide responsibly.
And this is our part as a citizen: to take the freedoms we’ve been given, abundant or little, and use it as best as we can to promote justice (equality under the law) and to daily build our neighbor up to become better (fraternity). 
Democracies thrive when individuals, out of their own volition, driven by personal conviction, make it their life’s purpose to live for each other.
Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.
As a Christian, the book of James says it well:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27The religion that Jesus promotes, the role of the truly religious is to look after the widows and orphans (who represent the most vulnerable in society) – in their distress (in their lack, need, and hopelessness).
Widows and orphans had no chance on ancient culture. Jesus was saying that the religion God accepts is a religion that looks after the most vulnerable.

It is not only good citizenry to be an amazing neighbor, it is also what it means to be a good Christian. 
The verse ends by saying, “and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” When I look at my own life, I am most selfish, most apathetic, when I am most greedy for the power, recognition, and comforts that society offers.This is also when I am most blind to the needs of others. I am most blind to the vulnerable around me when I am most polluted by the rewards of society.And many times I find myself in this spot, when I’m actually making more money, gaining more recognition, and this is simply because that’s the human condition. Even in church, look who is exalted: the success story, the successful guy who also happens to be a  Christian. He’s the example. The successful girl who also happens to be chaste. She’s the example. Every sector of society has their own set of the exulted based on the criteria they value. And those who are far from this, who fail this, are rejected.

__________________

Note:
Success, virtue, these are good. But the practice of these virtues are not for gaining exultation but must be motivated by a desire to please God. I am guilty of this over and over: practicing virtues such as discipline and hard work and forgetting the source of all virtue, the Lover of my soul, God. Even as I am blinded by the pats on my back for the achievements, I must daily search my soul for the many sins that live in my heart, that no one but God sees, and isn’t He the one who truly counts?
__________________

Christianity says this:

Don’t be like that. Don’t go for the exalted. Don’t be overly impressed with the success stories of the world, even religious success stories. Jesus has a different definition of success.  Go for the vulnerable. Spend your time, energy, and money on lifting the vulnerable – these includes those you call sinners – because you’re one too. In fact, defend them from those who take from them, who trap them, who abuse them, who condemn them. Be the servant. That’s greatness. Make yourself last. That’s winning. Disadvantage yourself for them, that’s what Jesus did for you. 

If you see someone succeeding and using that influence to trap, and alienate and manipulate someone else, that’s a good sign he or she is missing it. If you see someone who is apathetic, who has no interest in taking part in the bigger picture or defending the vulnerable because it doesn’t or shouldn’t affect him or her, that’s a good sign that he or she is missing the point as well.

I see this a lot to be honest. I see this most when I look in the mirror – so I must remind myself not to miss the point of democratic  freedom, even more, not to miss the point of Christian freedom as well.

Don’t Marry A Woman Who…

I get asked a lot of questions. I don’t mind at all. My email is pretty public and I actually think it’s good that people are asking questions, questions are good. I can’t say and I won’t say that my answers are always correct, they’re my opininos, and like I keep saying on this blog, you have a mind, use it.

I get asked a lot about “my type”. Looking back at the females I’ve been attracted to, I can’t say I have a single type but I think what I want is being refined.

At the moment, “my type”, what I want, is peace and quiet when I get home so I can work, read, study, paint, or do one of the many amazing things a person can do with his or her life instead of wondering about who will complete their life.

But because you keep asking, and because I haven’t finished my other post on what kind of lady is wife material, I’m making a list of MY don’ts. I want to make it clear that these are MY don’ts, not the thoughts of any of the institutions I’m connected with.

If my opinion offends you, the good news is, again, you have a mind – your own – so use it instead of relying on mine or anyone else’s. Learn from others, yes. But think for yourself.

Anyway, here we go. David, don’t marry a woman who…

You don’t love and don’t trust. 

And don’t marry someone who doesn’t love and trust you.

What? That’s it?

Yes.

So many articles out there on what kind of person to marry, on compatibility and incompatibility, on criteria, on so many things but these two essentials.

To love someone is to be patient, kind, gentle, not be envious, not be boastful, not be proud, not be rude, not be self-seeking, not be easily angered, and because we’re all journeying (hopefully) towards this ideal not keep a record of wrongs, not to delight in evil, to rejoice in the truth, and to TRUST, hope, and persevere.

I don’t believe that everyone understands this. I don’t believe everyone is interested in committing to this. (Obviously, I’m not at the moment.) Too many people are enamoured with the minor and don’t invest in the major (that’s my next post by the way). That’s why we need to choose well.

I was talking to a friend who wanted to propose but told me he didn’t have enough money to give her something special, I told him, “You’re promising her your life and your love. If that’s not enough for her, you should leave her. You don’t want to be married to someone like that.”

I don’t want to be married to someone who needs a rock (like diamonds), or a piece of metal (like watches), or fabric (like clothes), to be convinced of my love. If I do get married, I want someone who’s happy to have me in her life. Period. Because she understands the life, my life, is way more precious than any rock, metal, fabric, or trip.

I like giving gifts anyway. But these should be extras not fundamental proof of love. Isn’t marketing great?

Marry someone you love and trust and marry someone who trusts and loves you.

When I read some of the questions I wonder how our thinking became so weird (which I should know given my opinions actually sound weird to most people), but underneath the inquiries is a very plain fear that’s needing assurance from, of all people, the most credible ones, bloggers like me.

HAHA! I’m being completely sarcastic.

We only share our opinions – you need to develop your own mind.

I’m surprised at how many “experts” think relationships can be built without trust as a foundation and love as motivation. I’m a known non-expert and I understand this. What happened to the so-called-experts? So much emphasis on techniques and “pa-cute” when the most basic is absent. Just as strengthening the beams of building won’t stop it from crumbling when things shake, a relationship without trust and love won’t last – no matter what anyone says.

The start of love is a miracle. The sustaining of love is a personal discipline. I don’t believe that miracles cannot be lost. Yes they can. When we fail to value the miracles in our life, and fail to protect them with  personal discipline, we lose them.

Since you keep asking, here are some suggestions on how to attract an amazing partner. Given that I’m the one writing and not known for actually succeeding in this department, I suggest asking future questions of this nature to my brothers, Joseph or Joshua, who actually have the credibility.

My basic thought is: don’t spend too much time on the minor things but develop the major areas such as your mind, your soul, your spirit, and your body as well. Here are some ways:

1. Don’t waste your time trying to attract people – most people don’t think. So if you try to attract people who don’t think, you’ll end up doing thoughtless things. Instead, really look inside you at what God has placed in your heart to do, which I hope is WAY BIGGER than God’s perfect choice. Sometimes people forget that God actually has equipped us with a special tool to know what’s right, it’s called the mind. So sharpen it. Don’t just use it for storage. Make it a weapon. Your parents told you this when they said to get good at listening and learning. Time to listen. Time to learn.

If you’re trying to attract people because you need validation, then you’re going to be a Venus Fly Trap. You’re going to be bad for them. How can you say you love someone when you’re only going to use them? When being near you means ruining their life?

Attractiveness should be an outcome of a life well-lived, NOT simply the manipulations of Facebook profile photos taken in good light, press releases, and deliberate “cool” actions.

2. Ask a lot of questions. Ask the right questions. Ask the right people. Make your own conclusions – when I read many of the articles of successful people, I always notice the variety of ways people have taken to succeed. God has so richly designed life that every path, no matter how unique, can be a path of fulfilment and joy. Discovery is really an important part of every person’s journey. So ask a lot of questions, and go deeper by asking the right questions and asking the right people.

Sometimes I find we ask the wrong questions so we get unsatisfactory answers. For example, “is she the one?” the better question is “Do I love her?” and follow this up with “Do I trust her?”Asking the right questions frames our mind to identify the factors that are priority. Asking, “Do I love her?” gets us thinking about the commitment 1 Corinthians 13 asks us to make. “Do I trust her?” gets us thinking about whether we actually want to wrap our lives.

One super dumb question is this “Do you think she’s the one for me?” If you need someone else to figure this out for you, you shouldn’t go forward. You’re going to feed this girl and take care of her. You’re going to cultivate her and put up with her crap – figurative and literal. You better know, know for yourself, that you love and trust this girl. 

Better yet ask people about their experiences, keeping in mind that every experience is unique but can be gleaned from. Ask, “How do you know you love someone?” or “How did you know that you loved your wife?” or “What are good areas to look at that reveal trustworthiness?”

And, my opinion, don’t marry a girl who needs to ask her “leader” if she loves you.

I’m sure you’ll find what I found. All the best love stories have this in common – they’re all different.

You’ll also find another similarity, they all concluded, for themselves, that they would love and trust each other.

3. Be yourself and be the best version of yourself. It’s the only way to sustain credibility – helping others become the best version of themselves is one of my life’s passions. Life’s just too short to waste in mediocrity. The time spent bumming around and pining away could have been used to developing one’s self into an amazing person.

Let me give you an example, if you memorized one poem a week, which isn’t hard, you would have memorized 52 poems at the end of 1 year. 52 poems! If you did the same thing with a verse, you would have memorized 52 verses as well. If you keep doing this for 10 years, you would have memorized 520 verses plus 520 poems. If you start when you’re 18, you’ll only be 28 and younger than me by a year. how many 28 year olds do you know memorize 520 poems and verses?

People ask me how I’m able to read and learn and do so much, and the simple answer is I choose a target, break it down, and pursue it in increments.

When we realize that amazing things are built in increments and deliberately and incrementally pursue our personal development we find ourselves growing in the areas we spend time on. Instead of wasting your time away, grow yourself incrementally.

Being yourself doesn’t mean doing whatever you want. I hear people always say “I’m just being myself” to excuse their mediocrity. NO. You’re not JUST being yourself, you’re being like most everyone else. And guess what? Being like everyone else means you don’t stand out. You’re supposed to be unique. You are unique. But being self-centered and selfish doesn’t make you unique. It makes you self-centered and selfish – like most people – so you ruin your uniqueness. I once told someone, “You should put an RT in front of your name because there’s nothing original about you.” Everything she did, everything she seemed interested in, seemed like a retweet of some tastemaker.

If you’re just as foolish as everyone else, or as religious as everyone else, or just copy what everyone else thinks is cool or trendy or fashionable, then you’re just like everyone else. If everyone else is really so amazing, then why does “cool” keep changing? Why change something amazing? It’s not as amazing as we think, that’s why we look for the new. Don’t ever think that just because something is new it’s amazing. It could be just new.

If you really want to stand out and sustain credibility be the best version of yourself.

4. Get good at creating value – make your life count by spending your days making the lives of others better. Be the type of person who infects others with passion and excellence, who makes people feel welcome, who inspires them to reach higher than they’ve ever thought possible. Actually help people make more money, learn more about good habits, discover more about God, make others laugh, advice them on their careers. There are so many examples but the point is simple: be a person who brings value to the lives of others. A value is simply something of worth, to bring value to the lives of others means to bring meaningful things to their lives.

Let’s get practical. Start at home. Before you go out making pa-cute, bring real value to your parents, siblings, and household. Honor your father and mother, and serve them. Bring value to their lives. Even if you don’t get along with them you can serve them. Pray for your parents and your siblings, do the same for your maids. Serve your maids and drivers.

Serve my maids and drivers??

Yes. That’s practice. That’s how you get good at creating value – when you can create value for the people others think are lower because you understand they’re just as valuable as you. When you treat people as valuable, you will offer them something valuable as well.

Those are a few things you can do to attract the opposite gender. I know it’s not like a bunch of the blogs out there that tell you “how to act” or “what kind of person to marry”. I disagree with most of those ideas anyway. They fail to include the complexity and diversity of life. Not everyone will grow up with the luxuries that religious idealism preaches. And that’s ok. Because everyone, from whatever starting point they’re coming from can journey towards their best version of themselves.

Maybe, as you offer the world your best, as you honor God with your best, you’ll meet someone who is offering the world her best as well. You’ll be lucky to have someone who’s been developing herself and she’ll be lucky to have you. It will be undeniable.

And if not, if you live the rest of your life like my current state, that’s not bad at all. Humanity is better off that you’re single anyway because humanity gets all of the best version of you.

 

To the Entrepreneur

Must you rock the boat again?
The boats of others and your own
Yes, please do, though no one else
Appreciates the seeds you’ve sown
Must you leap off cliffs too high?
Live on the edges we all dread to near
Yes, please do, for progress rests
In hearts and minds that defeat fear
For your life’s journey is a gift
To the aspirations of many to achieve
As the bigness of your dreams lifts
Their dot in the beauty you conceive