I’ve been letting the comments around here build up a little … not because I’m feeling lazy, but I’m off on a rare trip to the US, visiting with my son in Colorado. A few minutes ago the wide-awake at 0300 jet lag syndrome hit me so I decided to answer some of the comments … and wow am I glad I did.
Every so often something come in from a reader that just absolutely makes my day, and this was ne of those. I’ve decided to post it/host it as a regular article because I don’t want it to get buried in the string of comments.
It says so much I wish I could have said, and most importantly, It says things I really never seem to be able to say in the right way to my Filipino readers and the Filipino relatives of my foreigner expat readers.
Thank you Marcus, you really made it worth my day starting at 0300. I’d get up any day at that hour for these words. (BTW, you can check out Marcus’s excellent blog, “Inspire Tree” for more good reads..
I’m a long time reader and I love your blog. I love your posts on following your dreams and giving your readers ideas on how to become their own boss. I know you may hear this from other readers but I’m being 100% honest when I say this, you’ve been one of my inspirations to make me pursue my dreams. I won’t get into it too much here but I just wanted to start by saying thank you….
My friend you are more than welcome. Any time I can help even one person, my day is made for me. A lot of times I talk about earning money through some component of the Internet and many people leap to the conclusion that I am talking about this blog when I do that.
Actually, by virtue of the old saying that is false, but often works anyway, “if You Build it They Will Come”, this blog makes a little money … but I never set it up to do that and I never really expect a single dollar to come in.
I originally started PhilFAQS as a place to document my quest to move to the Philippines.
There are two sets of people I thought would be interested in this. First my fellow expats who are learning, dreaming or even “doing” the moving thing.
Secondly it should be of some interest to Filipinos as well because when you live in a country it’s often quite illuminating to see the place of your birth appears to other people.
But after I lived here in the Philippines and observed a lot for myself, and listened to many Filipino friends and neighbors, part of the focus of this site shifted.
I am so, so, so tired of hearing phrases like “Oh but you can do that because you’re an American, poor me, I’m only a Filipino.”
Or the worst, most hateful phrase I know of, “If only”.
Entire families live in poverty because of the phrase “If Only”. Untold numbers of artistic, intellectual and business success stories are untold because the brains and hearts which own those dreams are driving a tricycle or prostrating themselves in front of Saudi Arabian toilets, letting their children grow up lonely and parentless, content to “make do” with the status quo … “If Only” there was a better way.
Well, that’s my message. There is a better way, “If Only” people would stop saying “If Only” and waiting for something to happen.
… Now onto the topic at hand. I hate to say it but I think a lot of us Filipinos have this fear that something will go wrong. To chase after our dreams and fail would be a loss of face and that’s just something that a lot of us aren’t willing to risk. I mean, the Philippines’ richest man is Henry Sy, a man who actually immigrated to the Philippines from China. I’m not saying Filipinos can’t do it, it’s just that fear of failure that we have to get over. It’s like a lot of us don’t have confidence in ourselves and we don’t even want to try.
I still notice it from many relatives and sometimes even from myself. I think most Filipino kids are taught with their parents telling them “don’t do this” or “don’t do that” because their parents don’t want them to get hurt. I know my parents brought me up that way. What they don’t realize though is that we need to go through some of those hardships and pain (within reason of course) to become stronger people when we grow up. If we’re constantly told NO or DON’T DO THAT while growing up it’s tough to grow up confident in yourself. …
Here’s something a lot of people could learn and make their lives much easier. If you try something, you’ll likely fail.
This is not a bad thing, though, it’s a good thing.
From failure comes growth, knowledge and wisdom. Relish failure and you can then be sure that success will follow right along in it’s footsteps.
I have written nearly 1,000 articles here.
So are trash. Some ramble on with no apparent point. Many are riddled with typos and other English gaffe’s.
But you know what? I’m shooting for at least 1,000 more. And the ones that are failures, or “reflect badly upon my writing skills”? So f-ing what?
Each one served a purpose and each one will live on, and at least 95% of the people who write in to tell me about my grammatical errors have never written 100 articles for a cause, probably not even 10.
So the real reward is the doing and forget about perhaps embarrassing your lola. Relish failure, it leads to success.
So when you tell us Filipinos (I’m guessing the majority of your readers are Filipino) to “follow you dreams” there is this built in “I’m not good enough” syndrome that’s there and no action is taken because “well, what’s the point I’m probably not going to succeed anyways.” Some have it worse than others but I believe that anyone can overcome it.
So take this as one vote to keep your “inspiration” posts coming. If you’re getting discouraged that you may not be inspiring all or even the majority of your readers just remember, you are inspiring some of us out here and we are listening.
Well I certainly am glad to hear that. And I’ll keep going, trust me, I will.
One thing regarding my demographics here. Roughly half my visitors come in from Philippine IP addresses but I think many of them are fellow foreigners. I doubt I am anywhere close to 50% Philippine readers, but that would be a worthy goal.
I don’t want to sit in the corner of my adopted country like some alien that ‘real’ citizens can’t talk to or have to avoid.
The perhaps a bit obscure part of the title of those article came to mind when you mentioned Henry Sy (Founder of SM). I think also of Cecilio Kwok Pedro, founder of Lamoiyan Corporation (Hapee toothpaste). Do any thinking readers actually think these men became successful simply because they are of Chinese heritage? Are Chinese brains “different”? Personally, I don’t think so.
I was watching a business show on ANC a month or two back and the guest was a Filipino born man who is now a very successful real estate entrepreneur in California. (sorry I don’t remember if he had any Chinese heritage at all). The interviewer was reaching the point of being ludicrous with her constant statements suggesting “if only” other Filipinos could follow in his footsteps.
Finally the guest, tired of the blatant example I witness all the time of how no one can be more negative and insulting toward Filipinos than a fellow Filipino, and he snapped back at the host,
“What, do you think if they put my brain cells and an American’s brain cells under a microscope you’d be able to see the difference”?
Frankly, I don’t believe there’s a difference, but those with dissenting opinions are more than welcome to chime in.
(and by the way, Hapee toothpaste? Cecilio Pedro burned through cash like a wildman trying to get that toothpaste palatable to the Filipino palate. 22 formulations were tried and scrapped … tossed out … wasted … failed … before the current successful one. How embarrassing, to fail 22 times, diba?)