Brothers Bonifacio – For Millions Still Unborn

Brothers Bonifacio – For Millions Still Unborn

January 3, 2017
I had gone to work early – really early – 2am early. Yasmin and I had been arguing, and I decided to do what I do when I need to relax: work. Later in the morning, I got a text from Yasmin telling me she was at the hospital and needed to tell me something. She had not been feeling well, feeling easily tired with aches, so she was really planning to have a check-up. Embarrassingly, ungentlemanly of me, I had taken the car my wife uses without thinking (I usually take Uber everywhere), so my sick wife decided to walk to St. Luke’s since it wasn’t too far. When I got the text, I had a feeling I knew what it was about already but I don’t know why. I called Yasmin, and heard the news that would seismically alter my life.

“I’m pregnant.”

Out the door went the pride, offense, and anger I had been harboring from the argument before. And I quickly settled things in the office and drove to the hospital. There’s nothing like being responsible for another life that brings out the better parts of our nature.

After the check-up, Yasmin said, “No wonder my breasts were getting so tender. They’re going to get bigger.”

“Nice!” I answered.

“You’re terrible! I can’t believe that’s what you’re thinking about!” Yasmin reacted.

“Sorry… What I meant is, I’m sorry you’re feeling pain.” I corrected.

“Whatever…” she said with a slight smile.

 

Being married has revealed different parts of me – for better AND worse. But I’m making up for my insensitivity these days with my daily role as Chief Body Butter applier. Apparently, there’s a whole line of products just for helping with the stretching a woman undergoes while pregnant. It’s not easy being Chief Body Butter Applier, but someone has to do it. It’s part of the many sacrifices a husband has to make. I’m being sarcastic of course. My wife’s body gets stretched and expanded, and that’s just what I can see. Inside her, she is literally chemically changing. I can’t imagine what that’s like. All I need to do is massage her. The more I read up on it, the more I think “I’m lucky to be a guy”. When my wife’s not pregnant, she’s bleeding every month. When she is pregnant, she’s…

She’s…

She’s…

I don’t know what she is.

Just kidding.

My wife is, pregnant or not pregnant, always beautiful.

 

Someone’s 179 BPM
On the way to a meeting yesterday, with order restored with me in an Uber, I stared at the photo of my baby. I’ve been staring at that photo since I took it. I remembered seeing the heartbeat and the doctor telling us, “There’s the heart beating. 179bpm.” I was so excited, that as I posted a photo on Instagram, the only word I could think of was “Joy”. Yasmin laughed. She said, “You were thinking so long about your post that I was worried you’d say something smart and make mine look corny. After all that, you ended up with one word. For once, David Bonifacio has nothing to say.”

It happens more than Yasmin knows, like when I watch her sleeping beside me. In those moments, I also have nothing to say. I just feel joy.

I wrote this poem while stuck in traffic:

179
BPM
Our treasure’s heart
A beating gem

“Is that  healthy?”
We asked naively
Doctor said, “Quite fast,
But safe. Believe me.”

“Of course it’s fast”
I thought with sanguinity
“That’s my child
Also chasing infinity”

So much hope you bring,
With so many a concern
But we’re not without ways
And what we lack, we’ll learn

I want so much to be perfect
For you, but you’ll find
What your mother now knows
I can be blinder than blind

But I will do my utmost
And where I fall short
There is One who watches
Our first and last resort

Best you meet Him early
For He already knows your frame
Best you get used to calling on Him,
To crying out His name

I am getting ahead of myself
As I am prone to do
You’re still forming
But you’re there, that’s you

You already hold my heart
Just a few weeks, yet you do
I feel my chest getting tighter
At the thought of beautiful you

We love you our treasure,
We love you our beating gem
We love you more than you’ll ever know
We love you 179 BPM
#db

But my thoughts for my child were suddenly overtaken by the faces of team members and the people who work with me. And this question popped into my head, “Am I the kind of leader that a wise father would enthusiastically encourage their child to follow?”

I thought about this idea. Let’s say my baby was now a grown up, would I tell him or her “Go work with David. You’ll produce your life’s best work, you’ll grow, you’ll become a better version, you won’t have to compromise your values, you’ll be successful, you’ll achieve your goals, you’ll be healthy, you’ll be well provided, you’ll have great relationships, follow him, follow his instructions, and follow his example”?

Would I?

All of them are someone else’s 179 bpm. All of them have the potential to bring the joy I’m feeling. Putting myself in their shoes, would I enthusiastically recommend my leadership? And would I be wise for doing so?

These thoughts quickly revealed many areas of improvement that I quickly jotted down and made plans to improve on. I made a commitment to myself to become the type of leader that a wise father would enthusiastically recommend that their child follow me.

 

For Millions Still Unborn
I’ve been reading on the different Founding Fathers of America. I’ve read the biographies of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Alexander Hamilton, and now reading through Thomas Jefferson. I’m always blown away by the work they were able to accomplish despite the diversity of their perspectives and interests. Reading about their lives removed the myth of perfection and showed really really really flawed men – even terrible men. But a few things struck me about them. One was a deep desire to live out their principles, as flawed as they were. The other was how the idea of “the millions still unborn” was so important to them. They realized that their lives, their decisions and actions, the principles they defended, the institutions they erected, and the battles they fought would go beyond their own lifetimes and would affect generations, the millions yet unborn. So even as they lived in the present, their perspective gave them the foresight to build for far into the future.

I’m no George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. I’m no great leader. I simply have myself, my family, and our companies to lead. Our companies are not huge. I believe they will be. But I’m biased of course. Just as I think my baby is the most beautiful baby in the world even if no one, not even I, know how he or she looks like, even if it’s only been 6 weeks – in my wife’s tummy. But the decisions I make today will impact my baby decisions. If I save for the future, my baby will have money for the future. If I build a good name my baby will have a good name. If I build a strong relationship with my wife our baby will have that security. My decisions today will greatly affect my child still not yet born.

In the same way, in business, in anything I’m leading, my decisions today affect the millions yet to be impacted. Current employees and future employees, current shareholders and future shareholders, current customers and future customers, all will be affected. Are my present actions guided by the knowledge of future implications?

Am I the kind of person who is living with such a big purpose that it impacts the millions still unborn?

Or have I shrunk my purpose to just myself and today?

Do I throw that piece of trash on the street for my convenience now and ignore the pollution the millions still not born will face?

Do I spend the resources on my current impulse and neglect the future education, the future opportunities, and the future quality of living of the millions still not born will experience?

Do I truly love my neighbor as myself, and am I truly living a big purpose, that mobilizes the same type of resources for others, for future others, as I do for myself?

My 179 bpm is already impacting the world by impacting me. And it’s not because he’s done anything yet, and it’s not because he’s perfect, or healthy, or a boy, or a girl, or anything more than this growing form. In a world that’s so entitled, materialistic, and no longer capable or willing to suffer, we’ve managed to rationalize the killing of babies as practical but this is ignorant to this fact:

The first gift our child ever gives us has nothing to do with their perfection. It has everything to do with the child being ours. Perfection, at least as we know it, after all, is basically how close the baby is to “normal”, and “normal” is how close it is to average. The first gift our child gives us is joy that comes from loving someone beyond the love you have for yourself, and the second, for those willing to learn, is that we learn a new kind of love, a love not based on external excellences, but exclusive possession. I love my unborn child because he or she is mine.

Maybe this is also why God can love me so much despite how terrible I am. I am loved because I am His. It’s as simple, and as beautiful, as that.

Daily Surgery

Daily Surgery

Unlike many today who believe in living a life of no regrets, I have regrets. I can tell myself that these “mistakes” (or non-mistakes for politically correct weirdos) have helped get me to where I am today, and this is probably true. But at the same time, if it is true that those choices could lead to something amazing given the infinite permutations of life paths, it is also true that among those infinite permutations could have been a better way, a wiser way, a way that doesn’t need me to rationalize, “I have no regrets.” The fact that I have to tell myself not to regret something already shows regret. It’s very common for us to contradict ourselves.

This post isn’t so much about regrets and how to deal with them but about the other thing I thought of while gathering my thoughts in advance preparation for a “singles event” I’ll be speaking in.

I’ve never been a fan of “Singles Events”, simply because I find it to be a weird classification. I don’t think “Singles” have unique needs or special circumstance. Listen to their concerns without getting lost in the symptoms, and you’ll find the same concerns that everyone faces – including married people. Feelings of loneliness aren’t cured by having someone. Feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, needing to feel beautiful, needing to feel desired, needing to feel loved, these issues will not be addressed by getting married, in fact, they’ll be highlighted. If you feel inadequate alone, imagine how you’ll feel when you have someone else relying on you for things you’re afraid you can’t deliver? You’ll feel worse. Being in a relationship will only emphasize the issues you’re already facing. If you have spent your life building the foundations of your life, you’ll be able to handle it and thrive. If not, you’ll find yourself, at best, insecure in a roller coaster of ups and downs, and at worst, miserable, crumbling, and jaded when you find that this thing called marriage, the thing that was supposed to complete you, is crushing you instead.

Underneath these issues is not a distinction between single or married. Both single and married people are facing the exact same things. A medical doctor doesn’t treat the cancer of a single person differently from the cancer of a married person. It’s irrelevant. He treats the cancer. To think that the condition of a single person is his or her being single is weird. It’s not a condition to be treated or handled with special care. Here are what I think the conditions are:

– Immaturity
People Who Are Too Weak (particularly mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) to Stand On Their Own. Immature people are not mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially independent, so will be difficult in a marriage because marriage requires inter-dependence. How can a dependable partner depend on someone who can’t even take care of himself or herself? He or she will have a leach as a partner, and that leaching partner won’t realize it. They’re too immature to realize it. 

– Irresponsibility
People You Can’t Rely On. Connected to immaturity is irresponsibility. This is someone you cannot rely on, who always has an excuse for why they can’t deliver. These are people you end up building around instead of with. In time, you’ll lose respect for immature and irresponsible people because there’s nothing to respect. 

– Entitlement
People Who Think the World Owes Them. It’s not uncommon to find that many immature and irrespirable people, if not all, are accompanied by this disease: entitlement. It’s ironic because the person who contributes the least somehow thinks they deserve the most. This is most obvious when we don’t get why we want. Do we expect others to deliver what we can’t? It’s really weird. 

– Unreasonableness
People Who Can’t Reason Beyond What They Feel. In an age where the most important thing in the world is to be nice, get ready for more divorces – and from nice couples. This isn’t a fearless prediction. It’s plain logic. The cult of nice has removed Reasoning from the dialogue. When there’s no reason, there’s no meaning, when there’s no meaning, what we have is meaning-less. Why be in a relationship that meaning-less? No amount of inspiration or ritual can save a union that has lost meaning. 

Being reasonable has nothing to do with being nice. It has everything to do with basing your understanding and discussion on objective truth. Is your position based on objective truth or a feeling? Truth doesn’t change. Feelings do. If I based my career on how I feel our companies would crash. Yet you have marriages listening to advice saying being nice is more important than being right. 

They’re both important!

Without rightness and truth you will remove that essential ingredient to lasting relationships: respect. Again there’s nothing to respect. When nothing is true all that matters is how we feel. This person will not be teachable and will learn at a snail’s pace. Why? Instead of being sensitive to truth and picking up, the only way for them to learn is to be taught in a conducive environment by no one less than the Dalai Lama. 

– Foolishness
People Who Don’t Live with Purpose on Purpose. A lot of people have dreams that won’t come true. And it’s not because they’re not nice. It’s because they’re not backing up their dream with purposeful living – in other words: discipline. Discipline means limiting my activities to things that bring me closer to my goals. Many times we think that a fool is simply someone who is mean or evil. Not exactly. Those are mean and evil people. A fool is someone who doesn’t love with purpose on purpose, or lacks disciplein. It will be very difficult to be the partner of a fool, even if you are disciplined, especially if you are disciplined. 

– Vanity
People Who are Obsessed with the Superficial Areas of Life. These are people who live for likes and shares, who would rather seem than be, who want to be liked more than known. These are the people taking 100 selfies in the bathroom, give themselves more cleavage, and brag about their stuff – stuff they won’t be using in a few months.  Vain people are a black  hole you’ll ever be able to fill, and they’ll resent you when you can’t fill it. Why even try?

– Pride
People Who Think They’re the S**t, Including the Ones Who Don’t Realize It. It’s easy to spot pride in a high achiever. It’s more difficult to spot it in a low-achiever even if it is just as present. The question here isn’t whether we’re overconfident or underconfident. The question here is “Do I think about myself, my activities, my feelings, my present, my future, more than others?” If yes, that’s pride right there. The most obvious indicator of pride is the inability to say sorry simply because you hurt someone. 

– Laziness
People Who Base Their Output On Feelings Not the Needs of the World. No one will admit to being lazy. Everyone thinks they’re very busy. Modern day laziness looks more like staying busy with whatever catches our fancy instead of being committed to meeting the needs of those we’re responsible for. 

– Impatience
People Who Cannot Journey with Graciousness. This is a big one for me. I am incredibly impatient, especially with lack of logic, lack of common sense (and I think time and money management should be common), and incompetence. But there is no good reason to be impatient, so it’s important I learn to be more gracious, no matter how frustrating it can be to reason with people who lack the education and training of simple dialogue.  

 

There are more conditions than these of course. These conditions will continue to hurt you and others, even when you’re married. These are all present in my life in different stages, and still crop up. They were present when I was single and they’re still present. Just ask my wife. That’s why what we need is not more feel good inspirational sound bites. We don’t address these conditions with quotes. Like a surgeon, we remove these soul cancers with a sharp knife. For Christians, we know that our cancer is so huge and so deeply rooted, that a scalpel won’t do. We actually use what Ephesians 6 calls a sword, the Word of God.

The insecurity, loneliness, and inadequacy singles face are not symptoms of being single but the symptoms of a people, single and married, who want to be loved and called beautiful without dealing with the vanity, entitlement, immaturity, pride, selfishness and foolishness that make us unlovable and not beautiful in the first place. Society’s cure to ugliness is to lie to us. We want to be told we’re sexy when we’re overweight, that we’re beautiful when we know we’re not our makeup, that we’d be a catch when we know we’re not. No external thing can make someone who is inwardly empty more fulfilled, no cosmetic treatment nor compliment.

What we need is deep surgery.

Contrary to the popular approach of reminding people they’re beautiful or that their best life is in front of them, I recommend doing what I’ve learned to do daily:

Daily devotions not as my daily dose of inspiration, but my daily surgery, daily healing, and daily loving.

Here’s my prayer:

Father, I want to feel loved. But I am honest enough to admit that my pride makes me closed to love, my selfishness makes me unloving, and I am incapable of dealing with these things on my own. I tell myself, “Today, I’ll be humble”, and within minutes I am cursing the man who cut me in traffic because I feel I was dishonored. I tell myself, “Today, I’ll be selfless” and within minutes I am agitated by a small comment from my wife. I blame others for the way I feel, when it is I who hold these feelings. How illogical my feelings have made me. How foolish and unwise am I. Every day I am reminded of how much I need You. I am closed to love, unloving, and incapable, in short, I am unlovable. So I come to You today without pretense for You know everything already, and I ask You to keep operating on my heart. Cut away what You must, heal what You must. Your will be done in my heart. For Your perfect love makes up for my imperfection, Your beauty drives away my ugliness like light banishes darkness. My Great Surgeon is also my Great Healer for He is my Great Lover. I can rest in the security and pleasure of Your hands.

Amen.

Then I go about my day. I always used to say that if you need more than one person to love you’ll always feel insecure. If you love one horrible person you’ll still be insecure as well. But if you love the One who love you most, and you really really really love Him more than anyone else, who cares if no one else loves you?

Foundations – Body

Foundations – Body

This isn’t going to be like my usual posts. This is a simple explanation of the fitness regimen I’ve adopted for 2017. The reason why I’m sharing this is because of the importance of developing our whole selves, meaning Spirit, Soul, and Body. I can’t say I’ve taken are of my body as best as I could have, so I’m being more intentional about becoming meaningfully healthier every year. I want my family to have a meaningfully healthier husband/father every year, and I want to set a good example to our team members, that it is possible to be productive and healthy at the same time. In fact, I think being healthy makes us more productive as it helps us focus and avoid sickness.

The first thing I did was I set my goals. Goals and objectives give us something to aim for. They become starting points to work back from, plotting the necessary steps and investment to achieving them. Whether it’s business or body, applying Stephen Covey’s Begin with the End in Mind, works. To help me choose goals, I just looked at what really fit people are doing and made them my standard. For 2017, my goals are:

– 100 Push-Ups Straight

– 50 Pull-Ups Straight

– 8% Body Fat

– 24 Minute 5k Run

– 48 Minute 2km Swim 

– 10 Handstand Push-Ups

The sad part is that a lot of these I had already achieved when I was younger, but instead of improving with discipline, I allowed a more sedentary lifestyle to take root, which has led to terrible flexibility, pains in certain parts, and significantly diminished physical performance. I needed to turn this thing around before things got worse. 

Due to my time, money, and physical limitations, I looked for concepts that are relatively inexpensive, can be completed in a short amount of time, and can scale, starting with moderate difficultly. This led me to include more High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), swimming, less running than usual, and one “heavy” weights day (which isn’t really very heavy at the moment). A lot of these things are actually free. So no excuses. 

The most important part though would be diet and nutrition. A healthy diet is actually very affordable but can be very bland and repetitive. If diet is 80% of the battle, being healthy is well-within everyone’s reach. Sadly, our lack of discipline, particularly with high-sugar food, is undermining our well-being. For those who are using finances as an excuse not to be healthy, my advice is to stick to a very simple healthy diet. Not only will you save money, you’ll get healthier and feel better because of it.

Here’s what my weekly fitness routine looks like:

Monday: Swim 1k (building up to a 48 minute 2k swim)

Tuesday: HIIT / WOD Day (I alternate between KEELO and CrossFit’s Workout of the Day (WOD))

Wednesday: Goal Day. This is when I focus on improving on specific movements. For this year the movements are Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, and Handstands, all foundational movements that I hate! But giving myself measurable targets helps me see my progress. There’s no such thing as a goal that isn’t measurable. Those are called wishes. And there’s no goal that is achieved without a consistent progression towards that goal.

Thursday: Swim 1k (focus on technique)

Friday: Active Rest (I’ll probably go for an even 5k run)

Saturday: Burn Day: Run 5k, Swim 1k, Core Exercises

Sunday: Strength Day/ 5×5 Day, Yoga Stretching (none of that chanting stuff)

Sometimes, I’ll rest an extra day depending on how my body feels. Notice that I didn’t say “depending on how I feel” because many times I don’t feel like working out even if I know my body can handle the day’s exertion. What I watch out for is potential injury. We need to listen to our body’s to avoid the kind of pain that breaks things. 
Learn from High Performers

I was talking to my friend about my fitness goals when he replied, “Are you nuts? 8% body fat is athlete level!” To which I replied, “Yup.” I explained that I don’t believe in setting mediocre goals. I believe in setting the highest possible goal and working backwards. When making your goals, don’t make your starting point your basis for choosing what you want. Make what is good what you want. Look for a standard, and look for one that’s beyond you, that’s bigger than you, that scares you. This is what high performers do. They don’t set meaningless goals that don’t lead to an achievement or win. Learn from them.

#db