What Dreams May Come

Grassroots community Technopreneur Bootcamp. Investor Meetup for portfolio founder. Press Brief. Awards night for bossings. Packing up for new spaces. Talking about solid teams. Reporting about globalization strategies. Sharing about La Prospective case studies. Talking on air to scale the opportunity of democratizing access of capital for commercializeable science and technology. This wraps up my major stuff for the week.

Now, I am giving myself the time to unwind and write before facing week 49 head-on. I was telling my classmate earlier how lutang this week has been, and how next week will continue to be, to which she shares the same sentiment. I tell her how I’ve lately been feeling more weight of owing so many things to so many people, that I’ve overlooked the virtue of being myself for myself. She ended up saying, “wow, that’s deep.”, to which we ended up just laughing it off – the lutang kind.

But seriously, as I prepare for my trip tomorrow, with the mission of highlighting the greatness of Filipino innovations and innovators among the people I will meet across the region, I will have to admit that I am getting the jitters. Not a lot of people will believe that I am an introvert, considering the kind of work I do, but I am. I simply keep being consistent at pushing myself outside my comfort zone, because I know all this is for a greater purpose, one that is well beyond my own.

This morning, my professor in strategic management and technology foresight challenged me in front of class. He told me that I am already in the thick of efforts to put PH science and technology forward, and that this needs to be sustained.

Several weeks ago, my bosses challenged me to think bigger, i.e. to dream bigger. Everyday is always a learning experience that allows for a bigger world view of matters. I am reminded of this coming fresh from doing reports on international prospective deployments, and the implementation drivers and methods of global strategy. This could not be more timely as I plan my roadmap for next year. On theory and practice, cheers!

So in spite of the stress, the discomfort , the frequent instances of being lutang, the breakouts, I am still honored and grateful for the opportunity to execute these things. I have never prayed for an easy life; rather, I would always pray for a meaningful one.

Much like supporting folks who are in it for the marathons and not the sprints, I’ll have to amplify my cheerleader skills to my best capacity (aha! so this was what those high school cheerleading stints were for! #ConnectingTheDots) for them. This is for myself AND for them.

My colleague would remind me that dreams that don’t scare me aren’t worth achieving. Perhaps he makes a good point. The path to technopreneurship is not easy, it’s a steep upclimb, and being in a role that supports them entails the same.

I remember a couple of years ago, in the thick of not seeing the deeper purpose of the things I was doing and taking up the most of my time, my fervent wish would be to do things that would enable others. It was one simple dream.

And now as I sit and type in front of my laptop, I realize I am living my dream. And this living dream is allowing me to dream bigger, dream brighter, for myself, more so for others.

We are all that we can be.
It is okay to be scared, so the fear can transform us to face bigger things.
I’ll do my best to raise the PH innovation flag high. *sweats*
PH S&T geek technopreneurs, I believe in you. I believe in us!

#CommunityDevelopment

Talk Shows on Mute

Yourself

 

Week 48 encroaches as of this writing.

“Natutulog ka pa ba?”, I remember my grad school classmate asking me. He was perplexed with all the bustle my life seems to have had lately. Perhaps this was borne out of scenes with me being shipped off to different places for work, still being enrolled in school this semester, and still carving out time for yoga practice – these on top of making sure to be a good daughter, sibling, tita and friend in the best capacity I know how.

Needless to say the past few months has been an emotional, physical and mental roller coaster ride. Also, it goes without saying that I am immensely grateful for all the peaks and troughs that life has brought. It comes with the territory though, that being susceptible to the surrounding noise of the bustle is highly likely.

Tonight, my boss shared this article to the team. It’s the perfect encapsulation of well-guided YOLO-ing, in my opinion. The article brushes on big dreams, taking big steps, letting go, and the like. This is some good stuff to absorb in a time where one is in a thoroughfare of gunning to change the world as well as gradually accepting that one cannot be all things to all people.

Speaking of letting go, I was in the process of cleaning out data from my old phone, so I can give the gadget to my brother. There was so much information stored there, but I realized, I wasn’t able to read up on all the e-books I loaded, play all the games I downloaded, interact with all the folks on my contact list, or learn all the modules in my language app. The list goes on. This then got me thinking (and feeling) that as much as we all want to be superheroes, learn and do so many awesome things and change the world (and I do believe we can), the virtue of focus is fundamentally important to translate these big dreams into doable steps. It is okay to let go of noise to make space and bring in focus.

Each person, or super-person, has always had a niche that he/she zoned in on – Iron Man focused on optimizing his geeky mechanical inventions, Spider Man on his hopping and webbing and such, Flash Man on being fast – all for the goal of being the most effective conduit in making the world better. A lot of (non-fictional) people I consider successful always focused on something, more than intending to address the full spectrum of an identified gap. Yes, focus.

And so with fostering focus comes shutting out the noise.

“You’re so much more endearing with the sound turned off”, so goes a lyric from Talk Shows on Mute, a song from my favorite band, Incubus. This may very well be my soundtrack of the moment as I attempt to follow through on achieving these big and bold dreams. To hone focus comes with shutting out the noise, and being attuned to consciously simplifying life.

With simplifying life comes the appreciation of the virtue of silence. A good friend shared this article recently written by one of my favorite profs. This quote stuck to me:

Unfortunately, today’s obsession with speed tends to compromise the virtue of silence.

In this post-modern, information age, there are so many ideas and concepts that can easily bombard us and sway us. I’ve been subject to this noise on many occasions, But over time, I’ve come to realize that listening to the self can be powerful – that it has a voice and that it has something significant to say.

Two weeks ago, the team had a strategy planning session. There was an activity where each person in the team was tasked to map out her/his 20-year life plan and share that to the entire group. It proved to be an enlightening and frightening encounter for me. I always knew at the back of my head that I had big dreams, but putting it on paper, more so announcing it to others, makes me feel more accountable to those dreams. After that exercise, I shared to my good colleague and friend that I actually felt scared, considering the what-ifs of life in the course of gunning for those goals. He then shared, “If your dreams aren’t scary, are they even worth pursuing?”

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”, so goes another reminder springing up on my news feed. And so, in the course of contemplating on dreams to change the world with its weight on one’s shoulders, perhaps much of it has to do with honing focus, respecting the process of change, and learning to be comfortable in the struggle upward.

And perhaps part of that journey means to be tolerant of failure. Perhaps in the pursuit of excellence comes the recognition that the world does not need our perfection, but rather our compassion, our courage to fail forward. However, excellence bundled with compassion does not necessarily entail having to be consistently gentle. Compassion devoid of strength, passion and rigor may very well lead to what is called, “Idiot compassion” (another term I learned, thanks to my news feed). It is in the course of mixing in these ingredients that one does indeed achieve: COMmitment + PASSION= compassion. This all begins with zoning in on the self.

So, for the snippets that remind me and you to zone in and introspect, to listen to ourselves, to focus, to dream, to achieve and achieve with excellence, commitment and passion, much gratefulness!

Cheers to the seven billion unique paths to bliss and awesomeness!

 

Rage.

Some people think I’d be the type of person to evade negativity just so I can dwell and bask in the positivity of things.

Truth is, although I preach positivity and self-empowerment as I go through my journey in yoga, advocacy work, higher education, establishing engagements with people for collaborative and synergistic opportunities, the works – the hunger to do so is driven by this: why is it that I was born into this time and space, where yes, some are more fortunate than me, but most others have to deal with so many challenging ‘givens’?

The knowledge that only 10% of the Philippine population get to graduate college bothers me.

I am perplexed by stories of violations of fundamental human rights.

It makes me feel uncomfortable how ends are made to justify means, and how this is being perpetuated.

I do not know much about the ins and outs of development theories. In fact, on my 1st day of class this sem, the theory of economic development was dubbed ‘mainstream’ by my prof, and she invited the class to zone in on more neoliberal views. The fact that this isn’t my niche makes me excited to learn more. It’s a very much welcomed discombobulation.

As of this writing (5:45PM), I’m stuck in traffic, and I am going to be late for class. There are others now suffering their own private costs given social costs incurred by an incident like the MRT getting literally derailed off its tracks.

Some others at this very point in time are figuring out if they will have dinner to eat.

Pardon me if I roll my eyes when I hear any of you complain about relatively first world problems, and obsess over how it’s making your life miserable.

Pardon me if I kneejerkingly cringe at seeing you spend shitloads of money in poisonous lifestyles when the rest of humanity can barely get by. I respect that it is okay to bask in life’s little pleasures, sure. Game! But to do so in reckless abandon is insensitive.

I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I’ve been considered one of the insensitives. I think I know it well enough to realize I can do better things with the finite time I have in this world.

I invite us all to channel this rage and transform it into something wonderful and revolutionary.
I invite us all to go out and explore the world,
to observe the presents in our presence,
to fill ourselves with gratitude so much so that it overflows,
to go beyond our comfort zones and find our edge,
to see the gaps,
to be part of gap-filling pursuits,
to help the other as a means of filling in the self.

Darkness validates light. Light shines bright amidst darkness.
For those in the dark, light awaits.
For those in the light, be the bearers to guide those in the dark.

At the risk of sounding sophist, I do declare to channel this rage to transformative action.

Namaste.

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TLW

So I saw this on my Facebook news feed the other day, and could not help but blurt out in laughter:

I’m happy to know that I’ve moved on from what otherwise seemed like an intense stretch of emo days. Given that I’m a relatively transparent person, and that I don’t really mind telling people what’s up if they ask, I ended up receiving a myriad of advice from different people recommending different things. The bits of advice were so diverse, and all seemed to be at the extreme ends of the spectrum. However, this bit reigned supreme, and is my favorite of them all:

Hello love. Our conversation regarding your journey towards finding your mate stuck to me and got me thinking. If there is one thing I learned about love, is that in order to love we have to be vulnerable. Vulnerable and humble.

I am not saying you don’t know this yet.

If you do, I want to affirm that in my experience this is really true.

Regarding (insert other friend’s name here)‘s advice that you have to find someone smarter than you, although it is a challenge, it is very doable. I am surprised that within your network, you haven’t found many intellectual equals or superiors. Maybe they’re intelligence isn’t manifested through articulation.
Also through experience, I can tell you that sometimes it’s much harder to date someone who is as smart as or smarter than you simply because ideals clash and intelligent people are less likely to compromise on their views because they are so sure of themselves, sometimes too sure. I am talking about myself and some boy here, not you darling.
So in my experience, although I dated men I could respect, I didn’t feel respected or heard, or appreciated. So my wish for you is you find a man you can respect, but also someone who can appreciate your strength and your power, who is not afraid of or intimidated by you.
So whether you find a man who is an intellectual, or someone who may not be your equal in terms of I.Q., it doesn’t matter. Both will have different yet equal qualities of worth to bring to the table. What matters is your attitude towards love or romantic relationships. We are so used to nurturing ourselves, and being proud of our accomplishments, of people looking up to us. But love and romantic relationships are not about us, if we want a truly rewarding love life. They are primarily about what we see in someone, how much we believe in someone, are willing to commit, nurture and take care of someone. My advice to you is don’t rush, as I have rushed at some point, and even fell flat on my face because of rushing. Find a man you respect, you trust and you know will stretch your growth spiritually. Someone who will bring out the giver in you, as it is such a maturing experience to be the one who listens, and understands, and at the same time being listened to and understood. I don’t doubt you will find this kind of love. But if it isn’t love you are looking for, well there isn’t anything I can say about that. But as someone who has been through it, I say pray for this kind of experience. Don’t go for a relationship that only skims through your being. Look for someone who can shake you to your core, and will enable you to grow even more spiritually. You’re on the right path. Good luck!
When I initially spoke of finding someone I could respect, I was equating respect with intelligence.
I was wrong on that note. I found men whose intellect and accomplishments I respected but whom I was supremely turned off by because of their arrogance and perceived superiority of self. So never again will I limit or reserve my respect for people who have proven to be smart.
What I respect in someone now is someone who embodies kindness, diplomacy, compassion, tolerance.
As someone who was very stubborn, I didn’t have much of these qualities. But loving someone who did humbled me, and softened me, and I am so much happier for it.
Just sharing my thoughts my love..
Have a great day!

Beautiful, isn’t it? Lucky me to have friends with such wonderful perspectives.

I suppose at the end of the day, when people give advice, it is ultimately up to you whether you subscribe to them or not. A rule of thumb I use when sifting through different viewpoints?

  1. Does the advice-giver practice what he/she preaches?
  2. Do you and the advice-giver share mutual goals and perspectives in life?
  3. Are there areas in the advice-giver’s life that you want to imbibe in your own life as well, in relation to the topic being advised at hand?

If your answer to all 3 is a fat YES, then it’s worth considering. At the end of the day, we are all captains of our own ship, and we are accountable to our own actions and outcomes.

So yes, I am allowing myself to blog re touchy-feely things after realizing that the 1st schoolweek of the sem isn’t even over yet, and I’ve been assigned >1,000 pages worth of readings. Upside? Skimmed through them and they mostly seem worth the read.

Okay, back to reading. Haha.

A happy Monday to all!

Dear Youth

My boss could not help but react how inspiring my weekend was based on how I shared my stories with excitement from YouthHack Manila, the 1st high-school hackathon in the Philippines. When I told them about the innovative ideas, the extent of the sharpness of some of the pitches, as well as the hunger and competitive spirit I saw in the attendees, they could not help but hint at supporting more initiatives like this churning out such exemplary output.

After the event, several teams approached me to get more concrete feedback. Some of them asked why they didn’t win, or what tips I could share to help them progress with their idea. Hey, the winning team even asked me why they won (Yup, they really did ask). As I tried to answer these queries one by one in my best capacity, and admittedly, at the risk of lowering my value in the dating market, with pits sweating (it was getting humid, not that it was due to anything else), I suggested that they explore more about Lean Startup philosophies, get out of the building to do more validations, or even discover invalidations, and share all these startup pegs that they could look further into from the Valley, or Tel Aviv, or here in the Philippines, that are emerging best case examples of already commercialized solutions resembling the pain points they are addressing.

But this is not a post about startup jargon. Last night, one young man asked me what other tips I could give to help him progress in general. I cannot remember what I exactly said, or if it was adequate at all. The aura tonight makes me ponder further on his question and figure out the things in my life so far that have helped me get through to living a life where I get to wake up cheerfully every morning with a happy disposition:

1. Invest in yourself. Chin up. In decisions big or small, it pays to think about the long term repercussions of your actions. Be accountable to your actions. Regardless of whether the outcome is a perceived highlight or lowlight, perceive your chosen experiences as your investments to become a better and stronger self. And man/woman up, doing them head high.

2. Always learn. Always ask. Enjoy your quest to answers. When you learn of the answers, revel in your capacity to ask more questions. Cliché as it may sound, there are a lot of wonders to be discovered along the journey. When you reach your destination, make new ones. Continue to tread on the journey through the lens of wonder.

3. Combine personal passion with social relevance. One team shared this line as part of their pitch, and I could not agree more: All technological advancements are useless if no one uses them. In grad school, one of my teachers would always remind our class that innovation is a function of both invention and commercialization. It is perplexing to even fathom the purpose of churning out a solution for its own sake, one that does not seek to solve a problem. In grade school, we are taught the scientific method, and we always are invited to define a problem as one of the preliminary steps. Often, it is easy to rest on laurels and settle on an unfair advantage with regards to relative knowledge attained. But if that is the be all and end all of things, it will only generate intellectual elitism and our brain cells will have expired for its own sake only. But wouldn’t it be more awesome if our intellect were to be used in creating solutions that transcended beyond the confines of our own time and space? Social impact does that. Stuff to consider, yeah!

4. Failures, challenges, roadblocks happen. There’s no person who ever ONLY succeeded. These bumps in the road of life exist for a reason. They validate/invalidate our purpose. They help us have thicker skin, and help us become stronger. Embrace them, learn from them. Fail fast. Fail better. Fail forward.

5. At any given point in time, being in a place where you don’t know what you want is okay. Do not beat yourself up. But ultimately, be open. Stagnant bodies of water eventually become devoid of life, but those that flow actually support and even perpetuate life. Flow. Move. Show up. Being a yes person makes all the difference. The bigger picture will unfold in its own serendipitous time.

6. Know your why’s. Look at the things that take up most of your time. What is the reason why you spend so much time doing this and that? Having deeply rooted why’s on the things that you do on most of your waking days i.e. your passions, your hard work, your advocacies, your recreational choices, your loves, even your aversions will help you solidify your path with more definition. Let us go back to your why’s.

7. We are an empowered generation. Access to information is at the tip of our fingers. Let’s maximize on this opportunity, and build on this momentous time in history. But let us not feel entitled. I could not help but overhear a conversation between two young men over the weekend as well. They were talking about coming up with their startup. The other guy goes that he likes to think of strategic stuff, but admits to not liking to do dirty work a.k.a. knitty gritty legwork. Here’s some news: if you feel you are made for greatness, yes, you don’t have to like doing dirty work but you have to do it at some point. All the greatest people in time underwent difficulty, did things they didn’t necessarily like doing in the pursuit of achieving their missions, but had a smorgasbord of grit, and all chose to focus on the silver lining. As one of my favorite lines in yoga goes: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Folks, it’s all a matter of perspective.

8. No man is an island. Help. More so, don’t be too shy / egoistic to not seek for help. We are all more similar than we are different. One of the greatest personal discoveries I went through was the power and scale that lies behind the spirit of collaboration.

9. Be grateful. Appreciate your present. Recognize your past. Keep a list of the stuff you want to achieve in your future (my boss would always emphasize this in his talks to the youth). To operationalize and execute your set future milestones, translate them to key metrics – per unit time, value, a nominal number. But more importantly, it is useful to go back to your why’s. Be it through a timeline, or the number of countries travelled, or one’s financial net worth, or the number of people helped, let us always remember that we all do it to cultivate kindness to ourselves by virtue of cultivating kindness to others. And this brings me to the last tip–

10. Know yourself. It is the key to knowing what you want, what your purpose is, to respecting your own unique path to bliss. I know a lot of people who are unhappy with their paths. They complain how hard it is to climb the corporate ladder, for example. Is the corporate ladder as a metric for success forcibly shoved on all of us? Should we subscribe to mainstream notions of success just because most others view it as such? The secret is to respect your inner voice. To know there is always a choice. To blend heart and mind when taking calculated risks. So go ahead and climb the corporate ladder – if you want to. Do it with class and pizzazz. We live and breathe in a time and space where we have the gift of freedom and liberation. Let’s take advantage of it.

Young man, I thank you for your question. Your attempt to explore the methods of validating/invalidating your path is invigorating. It gives me hope knowing that the movers and shakers of tomorrow are using their minds and hearts well today.

Young man, this is just a curation of borrowed concepts and experiences. I do not claim any of these ideologies to be genuinely mine, but these are what I have genuinely adhered to since discovering them. Here’s hoping you get to learn of these few things one way or another as you continue on your journey.

Love and light. Namaste. Ü

I Am Grateful

Today, I choose to focus on how considerate people have been and continue to be considerate.

I wake up in the morning with bananas and other vegan treats ready at the breakfast table. While my brother gobbles on his bacon, he is concerned and mindful, making sure I have something to eat.

I hop on over to yoga class, which happened to be a hot and bendy session at that. We do Prasarita Padottanasana III and it felt nice to have my teacher instinctively bend my hands further towards the ground for a deeper stretch. At pauses, our teacher reminded us to go be compassionate to our bodies, and to go back to our intentions, mine for today being kindness.

I go to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch, not so long ago when I used to eat meat, and I order a salad. Based on Foursquare, I read rants from vegetarians claiming that waiters could not understand the gist of removing certain ingredients in their templatized salad. Forewarned, I gave it a try. My first request for a Symphony Salad sans the eggs was unfortunately unavailable. Mr. Waiter tells me to try out the Mango Royale salad instead, but I told him I couldn’t take mayonnaise. I suggested he make it vinagrette based, to which he initially had apprehensions on, but eventually agreed to. Lo and behold, I get my vegan salad and shake for lunch, along with a smile from the waiter. He was amused at how it was possible to serve salad this way.

I hop on over to Katipunan for work, where I arrived too early. Deciding to kill time at Starbucks, ate barista and I collaborated to make my yummy abangers cooler happen: an iced-cocoa-soy drink. Look ma, no dairy!

And as 1:30PM approaches, I get giddy as I look forward to hearing out the pitches of the high school teams. They are all part of the 1st hackathon in our country, and I feel ecstatic about seeing the output coming from our ideation session yesterday. Can’t wait to see that optimism and drive being translated into actionable initiatives!

And so I sit and ponder about all these connections around me in pursuit of the good. Whether they were momentary or continuous, they are validations of the cliché that no man is an island. We are more similar than we are different. We communicate so we understand, so we can have a greater capacity to be considerate to each other.

Happy Sunday!

Namaste.

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