Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Plan! Plan! Plan! Visualize!

Friends and colleagues often wonder how I can even keep up with myself. From their perspective, I do tons of stuff, travel to a thousand places and still be sane. However I do not feel that I have done tons of stuff nor traveled to a thousand places. OK, taken that I act like the normal person next to you on the train I am still not superman.

The trick to juggling family, work and fun is as simple as planning. We use our day timers, Franklin Covey systems and even DIY planners, but one trick in planning is visualization.

When you plan and visualize your environment where you would be performing, the things that you will do, the stuff that you will use, once you actually get to that point of execution it becomes natural and effort-less.

For example, when I learned that I would need to find a new apartment, I would plan on my mind the things that needs to be done, stuff that needed to be taken cared of, down to the boxes that I would be using. Two nights ago, I went to Staples and bought home boxes. In one night, I
was able to contain all the binders, papers and reference materials in my room. Ready to be carried out to my next apartment, in like two months.

There have been studies that show how visualization creates a great impact on almost everybody. The team that practiced every night, the team that visualized their game plan and the team that did nothing. The team that visualized might not have the same outcome than those that practiced but it sure is better than doing nothing.

My only problem with planning / visualization, my mind sometimes becomes to active that I have a hard time turning it off. Anyhows, I'll try to tackle that on my next article.

Happy visualizing!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Simplicity by Bo Sanchez

I was talking about "simplifying" in my previous entry, I stumbled upon this email sent by my cousin from the Philippines. I guess this tells all of what I it means about simplicity.


My parents breathed simplicity. Oxygen too, but that's pretty obvious.
Dad was an assistant vice president for a humongous company, yet I didn't "feel" like I was a rich man's kid because my parents made it a rule to live below their means.

A millionaire's son rode a sleek Benz; I rode our sixteen-year old Toyota that sounded more like a drum and bugle band, with its cacophony of bangs, rattles, and whams.

An heir of the moneyed class was chauffeured to school, but as early as Grade III, I was taking the public jeepney-- sitting, standing, or swinging from its handrails like a flapping flag.

The wealthy dined on gourmet meals every day. But the culinary highlight of my whole week was when Mom bought Coke for our Sunday lunch-- the only time we tasted the stuff. I'm not kidding.

Rich kids wore outfits from America, England, and Paris. I wore clothes from Avenida, Escolta, and Pasay.

The mansions of the rich and famous are veritable furniture showcases, complete with sixteen Egyptian jars from the Nefertiti era. I learned that one of those monstrous flower vases was equal to the price of our entire house. But naturally, we too, had our own flower vases. If my archaeological knowledge serves me right, they came from the Nescafe era.

Their estates have playrooms with life-size Barbie's and Power Rangers. But the way I played with expensive toys was admiring them from the store shelf and using my imagination to the hilt. That way, I owned all the toys in the world.

You'll be shocked by what I'm going to tell you, but through all this, I recall never feeling deprived in any way.Let me tell you why.

I remember my father coming home every night and we'd go jogging together--around our old car parked in the garage. (Dad says he wasn't vying for the Olympics anyway.) Then I'd sit on his lap and we'd talk about how to solve the problems of the universe.

After dinner, we'd read the comic pages together. Tarzan was my favorite, until I reached puberty. From then on, it became Jane.

Almost every Saturday afternoon, it was father and son time. We'd walk to the shopping center and Dad would buy me a hotdog. Then we'd walk back home, bringing a little something for Mom, usually a chocolate bar. To add sentimental value to our token, I forced myself to take a few bites from it.

I guess being with Dad and Mom was all that my little boy's heart ever wanted. And I got it, every single day.

I believe that God chose to write the "map of happiness" on the ordinary parchment of simplicity-- like a treasure map written on recycled brown paper.

Consequently, many people ignore that map, and are attracted instead to the more glossy, loud, shiny maps around. But when they follow these others maps,they end up tired as a dog chasing its own tail.

I have a radical suggestion........Simplify. Simplify because you want to discover the depths of your soul. Simplify because you want to start living deliberately.Simplify because you want to love from an uncluttered heart.

Remember that simplicity is only the first step of the journey. Holding the treasure map, memorizing it, photocopying it a thousand times, and keeping it safe in a vault won't make you claim the gold. You actually need to sail through oceans, climb peaks, cross valleys, and explore caves.

Simplicity will point to you where and what and who the gold is in your life.Once you know your gold, the game has just begun.Will you treasure your gold?

My parents knew their gold:
1. Each other,
2. Their six children, and
3. Their faith.

They tried to live uncluttered lives so that they could have time for what was most important.

They didn't busy themselves buying a bigger house, because that would mean working harder to pay the monthly amortization, doing overtime work or taking a second job. Who would then go jogging with little Bo every night?

Who would read Tarzan for him? They didn't burden themselves buying a BMW because that would mean laboring and worrying about installment bills. Besides, walking to the shopping center every Saturday afternoon with his son gave my dad his needed exercise, and made little Bo feel special.

One of the delights of my heart was seeing Dad and Mom in their bedroom at night, after our nightly family prayer. The lights were turned off, and I'd see the silhouette of my father seated on his old chair and mom standing behind him, gently massaging his shoulders. I'd hear them talk about what transpired during the day. Even as a child, I sensed their quiet pleasure at being together.

My question today: Could they have done this rich ritual each night and nourished their marriage if they had been busy paying for designer outfits for themselves or their kids, or if they had been worrying about monthly bills for new hi-tech appliances?

I don't think so.

And I've made the choice: I don't want that kind of life either.

Monday, August 21, 2006


After one "lazy" weekend and a Sunday's Dimsum with family (thus missing my 9AM Mass), I decided to trek my way to St. Paul the Apostle Church in Manhattan. Usually, I would go to Queens of Angels a few blocks away from the house, this time, I had to take the 7 train / N train to Columbus Circle.

It was well worth the trip.

I realized that my being there and participating in the Lord's Eucharist was all about intentions. Doing things not because your body has been programmed to do them, but because you intend to do them.

Especially here in NY, people would rise and shine, grab a cup of joe, bite into their bagels, rush to the train and find themselves doing the thing over and over. We hustle and hustle and when we look up, we are astonished as to what amount of time has passed by.

I have been working on a new route to work for the past couple of weeks. Instead of the regular 7 train to Times Square and the transfer of 1 train downtown I would switch around and take the 7 train Flushing bound (opposite of the usual) and find a transfer of either the F or the E to Manhattan. When I take the F train, I would either go across 23rd Street then 7th Ave or through 6th Ave then 25th St. to 7th Ave.

Why do I do this? To get out of the everyday redundancy. I go to work with intentions. I will definitely live my life with intentions as well!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Parable of the Cracked Pot

As I was doing my regular run and listening to BustedHalo.com's Podcast episode 61, I can't help but feel so positive with Father Walsh's Day by Day. I went online and found a copy of the parable. Read on.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

"I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the other side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side?"

“That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them.”

“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table.

In God's economy, nothing goes to waste.

So as we seek to minister together, and as God leads you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws.

Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.

Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength, and that "In Him every one of God's promises is a Yes."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Managing Your Finance

One of the best things that I have experienced here in the US is the ability to borrow money. At age 20, I had my first credit card from this prominent store at 34th Street. They gave me a whopping $100.00 credit line. For a kid who never experienced credit, this was great. People giving me credit for the mere fact that applied for it.

Credit cards can be good if you know how to use them. It would be great if we can live without the plastic, but why suppress convenience if we can master that art of credit cards?

Since my first job as a training consultant back in 2001, my accountant gave me this great tip, in order for you not to worry about receipts, charge it all to you credit card but always keep a separate card for "work" and for "business". Ever since, I would charge my travel tickets to lunches to sometimes my latte at Starbucks. This worked for me since I pay off my bills that end of every billing cycle. Viola, no finance charges.

After moving to a new apartment in 2004, there is no way that you can't charge stuff on your card. From the new shelves to groceries swiping that card is fast yet scary. But I am happy to report that as of February 2006, I am down to two credit cards. I don't owe to much money, but I am targeting that by the end of the year, I would be debt free. This is good, especially since I am saving money for future investments.

So what is the trick that I used? First understand how your credit cards work. Does it employ Average Daily Balance or the Two Cycle Average Daily Balance. Check out the simplest explanation I found online at StudentPlatinum.com. Second, pay off more than the minimum. You can't just be paying for interest right? Third, minimize the use of the plastic. You know those change that you accumulate in your glass jar at home? Use them for your morning coffee or your afternoon pick me up soda (better yet, make use of the free coffee at work!).

It is not easy, but the rewards for diligence and smart moves will definitely pay off.