I can do one-hand pushups!

Given my lanky ectomorph body, this fact almost always surprises people!

Yet it’s true. I spent almost a year studying, dieting, testing, and training my body so that it can finally be able to do the targeted feat. To be able to do one-hand pushups was one of my yearly goals that I set last year, which I set because I wanted to learn how I can better take care my body.

It took me around eight months. Muscles cracked. Joints snapped. I started from normal pushups, to varied forms of it, to core workouts, then I started dieting, and then slowly I focused my efforts on pushups that isolate the stress to just one arm.

Pursuing goals without sharing them is difficult, thus I also asked a friend to by my accountability partner. I shared my goal, I set deadlines, I made training schedules, and I designed consequences. Luckily my friend was more than willing to participate.

The experience taught me a lot of things. From the human body. To diet. To discipline and consistency. To motivation. To mindset. Yet the most valuable thing that I got out of it isn’t one of them.

The most valuable lesson that I got out of it is this:

The mind gives up twice as times earlier than the body does.

I think I read this out of a book, or a workout magazine, or a blog. I’m not sure anymore. But I was eager to test out that theory.

When I was in pain, I cheered myself.

When I felt lazy, I pushed myself to just do it.

When I feel like my body can’t endure it, I just recited that the mind gives up twice as times earlier than the body does.

And then I discovered, my body indeed can take more than what my mind suggests.

The mind gives up twice as times earlier than the body does.

And this knowledge continues to allow me to push myself just a little bit harder.

The 21 Common Sense Business Development Truths are points of business truths coined from the book “Financial Times Guides: Business Development – How to Win Profitable Customers and Clients” by Ian Cooper.

These down-to-earth truths, as Ian has coined, offer much wisdom on how to develop your business, whether you’re just planning to start out or you’re already running in traction.

The 21 truths in it’s entirety are titled as follows:

  1. Focus your efforts on turning your enquiries into business and not just on generating leads.
  2. Exceed customer or client expectations.
  3. Speak to potential customers or clients … and speak to them nicely.
  4. Be open for business.
  5. Don’t let your admin get in the way.
  6. There’s no job more important than helping customers or clients part with their cash!
  7. Don’t let technology get in the way.
  8. Quality and word-of-mouth count for everything.
  9. Actively strive for consistency.
  10. Recruitment is part of business development.
  11. Keep in touch with your existing and past customer and clients.
  12. Master social online media.
  13. Test your ideas, concepts, and prices.
  14. Plan, but keep things simple.
  15. Take complaints seriously,.
  16. Make your customer or client environment appropriate.
  17. Train your people to spot opportunities.
  18. Get out of your office or premises and mix and mingle.
  19. Find a niche and specialise.
  20. Model what works best.
  21. Be squeaky clean – you need to be trusted.

 

Conclusion:

These truths pack a lot of punch. Without getting into the nitty gritty of things (I advise to read the book for details), I will summarize them into five points:

  1. Customers first. Your business exist for your customers. As much as possible, exceed their expectations. Ask their feedback. Take their complaints seriously. Talk to them and build your relationship. Make their life better and easier.
  2. Goals over processes. It is harmful to get short-sighted by focusing on the processes and procedures without thinking long-term and asking the following questions: What is our business here for? What do we value? What are our goals?
  3. Test your ideas, concepts, and prices. “Business is not, as some think, about taking wild risks. It is about making sensible and sound judgments based on information that is usually available. Test as much as you can, so you have as much information as possible. In this way any risks you take are calculated ones, which then ‘stack the odds’ in your favour.”
  4. Model what works, but find a niche and specialize! “If something has been consistently successful in the past, there is a reason for it.” At the same time, it is being different that makes businesses stand out.
  5. Build trust. I’ve built Progressia with zero financial capital, instead I built it all just on the economy of trust. Be clean. Have strong values. Be honest. Be a person of utmost integrity. In the smallest of things, realize that it’s an opportunity to practice your character. And then you will attract people who will want to help you succeed and do business with you.

 

 

Reference: http://wpc.475d.edgecastcdn.net/00475D/uk/Email/FT_Guide_to_buisiness_Viking.pdf

I have a really weird name.

My name is something that makes people scratch their head. It stumbled my teachers, blundered cashiers, confused my then-be-managers, and baffled my business partners. Other than being a one-of-a-kind name, it purely consist of consonants, making people unsure how to pronounce it. It is weird to pronounce and equally weird to spell and write. To make things worse, people would think that it’s not my real name but an acronym for something.

But my father named me Pyl (pronounced as “pill“) for a reason.

Even though the explanation doesn’t make total sense to me, but I am told I was given such name because my father wanted a “unique”, “special”, and “futuristic” name for me. Even before I was born, I am special to him.

I was named with a purpose.

He wanted uniqueness; He wanted me to be special; He named me after the future. Maybe that explains why I’m kind of aloof, a bit prideful, and hell-bent on working towards a better brighter future.

But more than that–more than what my earthly father did–is what my Father in Heaven does. He knows my name and calls me by it. He planned me and formed me with my name in mind.

And I’m sure He doesn’t stop for a second to scratch His head, if he has one, whenever he sees or hear my name.

How comforting could that be?

 

 

I think I am a weirdo.

My age is something that I prefer to not bring up–if I can just forget it and cast it into oblivion. But I think I cannot just do that. I have to yield to it at some point, and probably even to reality. Most especially since I have a feat that I need to drill into my thick skull: That I started a startup in my twenty three years of living. I am a twenty three year old CEO. And the startup that I started, which I started with zero financial capital, still lives after almost one year of being founded!

This experience is something that I want to poke at, to think about, to learn from, to dissect, to treasure, and yes, to write on.

These points that I will be sharing may be jumbled, but here are the lessons that I learned from this crazy of an adventure that you might also learn from.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who plan to juggle a dayjob and a startup, read on!

Time Management

This may not be an important thing if you have your hands free for your startup (or your dayjob), but when you have a dayjob and a startup, pro time management skills is a must! You’re working two jobs at the same time! The other has a distinct clear future and it pays your bills; The other is a high-risk-high-reward venture that may not pay anything yet.

I believe some of the actions for this then is to develop effective time management strategies and a commitment to be purposeful in the usage of time. And last but not the least, to not just work hard, but WORK SMART.

Psychological Management

A GREAT part of the strains of startup is psychological stress. I think this is highly the case if you’re also the CEO of the group. There’s only so much that you can handle. The stress, your thoughts, your emotions, and your physical weariness — these are heavy and they will take a toll on you.

Some of the actions then, just like above, is to develop effective strategies for dealing with stress. Your self-talk, your feelings, your thoughts, your determination, your vision, your habits, your systems, your environment, your faith, etc. Most of them basically revolves around how you manage your self. I believe self-management is a very important part of this experience.

On Growth

I think that in terms of technical growth, personal and character development, and networking opportunities, I am growing faster than most of my peers. I’m working more than the standard 40 hours a week. I’m being exposed to more technical problems and solutions. I’m meeting and talking to more people. I’m solving more problems crossing across diverse natures and disciplines. My speed of gaining experience and the areas where I gain experience is much more demanding and robust.

This also became evident with my dayjob. As a result, I had been entrusted with more responsibilities, I had more confidence, I was faster, and I also became more inquisitive of how the systems, processes, and business of our company work, which to me previously was hiding from plain sight.

This is also the stage where I came face to face with my own immaturity and lack of experience. When you’re twenty three and you started an initiative with people who are more experienced than you, you can’t help but see it. But it is how you take it as a learning opportunity that I consider to be most important.

On Pain, On Grit

I have to admit that a lot of days I just want to give up: Mornings where I wake up and start the day by questioning my own existence: Nights where I cry out of pressure: Vacations where I can’t take my mind from work, etc.

The days then will come where you will start to question everything. Your motivations, your actions, your plans, your life. But from there, I found a solid foundation upon where my motivations and dreams are laid. So I find the grit to press on. And I find a stronger source of light that lives within.

One of the lines from a successful entrepreneur that I can’t forget is this one: “Running a startup is like eating glass and staring into the void.”

Running a startup is painful. But it also develops a stronger will, a stronger mind, a stronger heart, a stronger grit.

On Grace

One thing that I also learned from this experience is this: That I need to practice grace. Not only towards others, but most especially towards my self. Ideally to be gracious as how the Lord is gracious.

After all, we are just beggars of of grace.

On Moving Forward

My sister said that I now achieved a childhood dream of mine: To be a CEO. I really hadn’t thought about it. But if I now think about it, it is kind of true to a degree. I am indeed living the dream.

The doubts, the struggles, the weariness, the uncertainty, they all contribute to the pain that keeps me from practicing gratitude. But having a mind for gratitude is important.

And from this gratitude, I’m moving forward. Despite the struggles, I’m learning more about the world. I’m getting progress.

On Progress

We initially named our startup “Progress” because we want to have progress.

After wanting to revise our name, I suggested to name us “Progressia” because I want our startup to become a symbol of progress: A group of people who are working towards progress, not just for ourselves, but for our people and our nation.

We want change.

We are working towards progress.

In the case that if we fail, we will actually not since we stand as “people who are working towards progress.”

Win or lose, we will still win.

It’s a win-win scenario.

I think I am well acquainted with fear.

I have heard friends say that I am too courageous, probably nearing to the degree of recklessness. I make decisions involving obvious risks with personal consequences. I make decisions that would make my knees and jaw tremble. I desperately move forward, making decisions that will push my self towards the outside of my comfort zone.

Because I am against fear, I will attempt to write some of my thoughts about it.

Fear Amplifies Humanity

I believe I can achieve any thing as long as I set my eyes on it. And it is not just me, but I heard mentors say that I’m the type who’ll excel at whatever thing that I’ll set my eyes on.

But fear. Oh, fear.

Fear is one of the many things that makes me realize something most important: That I am just human. That I am dust, weak, stupid, fragile, sick, dependent. And luckily, this fact helps me to stir my ship away from the pit of conceit. It helps me to bring me to my knees. It amplifies my humanity. It makes known to me the great disparity between man and God, and with it reminds me of my great dependence to God.

Fear Shows Direction

The human brain is amazing. It has different regions, with different functions, with different natures, with different “sub-brains”. And out of all the “sub-brains” of our whole human brain, the one which I blame to be the cause of fear the most is the “Reptilian Brain”. The Reptilian Brain is the brain responsible for giving us “instinct” and is most attributed for our survival.

But the thing with the “Reptilian Brain” is that it can be really selfish.

It clouds sound judgement. It twists logic. It pollutes morals and ideals. It makes our vision short-sighted and our decisions weak, concerned only for the Now instead of looking ahead for a greater better Future.

That is why the moment that I notice myself feeling fear is most of the time the moment that I know what action to pursue: That I should all the more do these things that makes me feel fear.

When confronting my own fears, my inner dialogue usually goes on like this:

Pyl: “Do you feel fear?”

Pyl: “Well. My knees are trembling. I definitely feel fear.”

Pyl: “Why do I feel fear?”

Pyl: “I feel fear because I don’t know what will happen. What if I’ll embarrass myself? What if I’ll make enemies and make people dislike me, even hate me? What if I’ll be alone? What if I’ll fail real hard?”

Pyl: “Why am I afraid? Didn’t Jesus said that Perfect Love casts out fear? Then why am I afraid? Shouldn’t I not be afraid of evil even through the valleys of death, because His rod and His staff gives comfort? Does running away from this justify this fear? Or do I want to just run away so I can selfishly save my own skin? Why this fear???

Rationalizing against fear can work. It allows me to detach myself from the feeling and allow me to see the hard facts. It makes me stand strong despite with trembling knees. Also, knowing God’s words on fear is a tremendous boon.

This is then why fear gives direction when decisions are hard to make.

Fear Gives Courage

Without admitting fear I think there can be no development of courage.

It is when we realize that we are afraid that we can identify our self. And then from there take steps to quell our shortcomings and develop our character.

Of course, I think fear can be never ending. But I also think fear is something that is worth fighting against.

Finally, there is absolutely every reason to feel fear for things. But I also know something that will make a great daily reminder: That our most deep seated fear should be reserved and be realized for Someone most worthy.

 

 

Twelve months? Ten? Fourteen? I’ve lost honest count of how long it has been since I started to study Japanese.

One of my Yearly Goals (my yearly personal challenge) last year was for me to enroll in a Japanese language class. I really thought that I would make it through getting myself enrolled in a class, but it was then in the early half of last year that I realized that commitment to time would be a serious issue. So I decided to go gungho saying to myself, “Blah. I can learn this language all by myself just like old times. This’ll save me time, money, and it’ll be more fun!” Now it’s a year later (I think) and I can indeed say that I was correct: It saved me time, money, and it was uniquely fun! I learn at my own pace, I can decide how fast or how slow I want to learn, I get to decide what things I study and what I don’t (the best part), I save money for tuition fee and transportation fee, and I even gained new friends along the way: Japanese locals and businessmen, Filipino OFWs, students and professionals, and even met other self-studying language-learning-adventurers like me. I also met some very inspiring individuals along the way that makes me want to say “Ganbaru!” (I’ll do my best!)

Since I find solace in writing, I thought, “Why not write my Japanese adventures?” This will speed up the rate of my mastery of the language.

This is a way to teach myself; for me to pay more thought to my discoveries, to reinforce my understanding, and to share the love to the world.

Disclaimer Alert, I am no Nihongo professional nor am I a JLPT certificate holder YET. You have been warned. The following contents cannot be unseen.

 


 

As a start, I’ll be teaching you how to open the door, how to close it, and how to do the same to our windows.

Here are the basic vocabulary showing the English word with it’s Romaji counterpart as well as the Japanese counterpart (i.e. Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana, or the combination of them):

Vocabulary:

English word Romaji Japanese
Door Doa ドア
Open Akeru 開ける
Close Shimeru 閉める
Window Mado

Examples (How to use them in a sentence):

  1. Open the door = Doa wo akeru = ドアを開ける。
  2. Close the door = Doa wo shimeru = ドアを閉める。
  3. Open the window = Mado wo akeru = 窓を開ける。
  4. Close the window = Mado wo shimeru = 窓を閉める。

Advanced Examples (Me just playing around with grammar. In other words, I’m not sure of these so PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong.):

  1. May I open the door? = ドアを開けてもいいですか?
  2. Please don’t close the door. = ドアを閉めないでください。
  3. I closed the door and windows and went to bed. = ドアと窓を閉めて寝ました。
  4. Because I cannot sleep, I opened the windows. = 眠れませんから、窓を開けました。

 

 

 

I think that I had been putting the blame of my recent lack of self-discipline on to Someone.

My new knowledge of God’s sovereignty was music to my ears. Even though the knowledge of it is beyond comforting to my soul, but it also became a reason for me not to take any responsibility over my life.

Yet it is amazing, how cold pitch-black nights can open my eyes that is; Sadness made me realize my foolishness.

Now I am ready to bounce back. I am at the edge of my seat. Now is the time to make up for what is lost and move forward!

Distractions

We live in a generation filled with buzzing, noisy, entertaining distractions. We may be preoccupied with tasks, our schedules filled with meetings, and our mind conquered by short-term goals. We think that we are productive, but at the end of the year, we look back and see the time that we lost.

I learned that there’s a GREAT difference between what is urgent and what is important. Important things are what we should only strive to work on, while urgent things are what must be taken care of. Anything else is a distraction.

Working on important things is the goal; working on urgent things is a responsibility.

But consistently working on what is important is difficult. Partly because it requires more mental effort and force, the disciplining of the mind, and the keeping of strong good habits.

But to be distracted is dangerous.

It is a great boon to learn how to number our days, so that we may hopefully gain a heart of wisdom.

Emotions

Kings fell. Nations crumbled. Wars waged. Families broken. All because of a single thing — the fallen human heart.

Leadership always requires strong control over the heart. To keep emotions in check. To control outbursts. To make sound and wise decisions. To have control over the self.

The heart is deceitful above all things; We should watch over it with all diligence.

Stewardship

With everything that we have, with the relationships that we had been given and will be given, with the range of free will that we have, with the space and time that we are in. With the degree of control that we have — it is stewardship entrusted to us.

It is then our job to take responsibility over it.

Finally, self-discipline is hard — The moment we believe that we have it, we then easily lose it. But it is something that is worth having.

 

PS: Though I try to avoid taking quotes out of context but all of these sprung out from a paragraph that randomly popped out of my head: “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”