I was loved before I was born!

I was planned, pushed through against odds, willed!

I was the reason why someone willingly risked having five children to support, just to have the chance to have me!

I was the reason why someone who’s gravely addicted to smoking quit his years-long vice, cold-turkey, to prepare for me and give me the good health that he wanted!

I was the reason why he had to come up with such a unique, “special and futuristic”, quirky name!

I am the reason of this someone’s many things!

To my dad, and the many inspiring stories that he shared, of how he desperately wanted me and the determined works that he did for that. And to the needed nuggets of wisdom that he taught me to prepare me for life. And to the values that he patiently but consistently instilled into me. And the good genes that he passed, too!

Most importantly, to the immutable fact of his inspiring willful works of love towards me, of which has carved into my being a special deep life-long understanding and knowledge of an immutable love!

Happy father’s day Pa!

 

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25 whole years in. And I’m still alive. Surprise.

I remember the first time I cursed my existence. I was a wee kindergarten, I think.

I remember the time where I attempted suicide, rushing myself to a busy road hoping to get crushed by a rushing car.

I remember the times where I questioned the purpose of life itself, the seeming vanity of its unchanging cycle. And the unending suffering it brings. The vanity. The meaninglessness. The striving after the wind. The cycle.

Yet here I am, still breathing.

Still kicking.

Still suffering.

Yet surprisingly, I found something else.

I found hope that this world cannot offer.

I found joy that is worth fighting for.

I found purpose in the light of suffering.

I found a reason to live and to die for.

I found something that is worth risking my everything.

And when life snaps, hopefully I can look back and see that this vapor-like life was not used on nothing. That it was faithfully expended on something. That it was used for some lasting good thing. That it was given up for the LORD Christ Jesus.

Yet not by my might or my reason, but by the amazing grace of the sovereign God, from whom every lasting good thing comes from.

Yet not I.

But from, through, and to Him, from whom my life flows from — redeemed; and to whom it will return to — by faith.

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.

1. A Mastermind

We are the masterminds.

I have been consistently typed as an INTJ in the Myers-Briggs-Type-Indicator (MBTI).

Being an INTJ, there are not so many of us here in this world.

We are a rather very rare breed, and a rather proud, gifted, and special one on top of that.

We are smart (second only to INTPs according to a certain statistic).

We tend to have a higher financial income (fourth among the sixteen personality types, according to a certain statistic).

Without us knowing it, we have an aura of naturally attracting people, which makes us the second most sexually attractive MBTI according to a certain statistic (second to the charming ENFP).

We are especially adept at reverse engineering things, making it possible for us to learn almost any thing that we set our minds on.

We can see the possibilities of the future, break it down to smaller pieces, and make an actionable plan to make that future happen.

We are independent, “cool”, logical, natural leaders, strategic, and visionaries.

Because of this, we have attracted a lot of eyes to us. People find us fascinating. Amazing even. If you’d dig enough resources, you’d find out that there are a lot of articles and blogs about us in efforts of trying to understand the mystery that surrounds our being.

And among these interesting flattering things that I’ve found, a certain statistic that I’ve found also discovered that we are the least type that believes that there’s a higher power in this world — a God.

2. A Mastermind That Believes In A God

Taking into account that finding, I can see the reasoning behind it.

Being an INTJ, I am a highly cerebral person (as a friend of mine would word it). I use my mind a lot — I think a lot, and I ask questions a lot (mostly to my self), from stupid ignorant queries, to being unyielding to social norms and authority, to philosophical struggles, to wrestling with the realities and mysteries of existence. I believe everything should be up to question — rules, traditions, facts, philosophies, science, and even gods.

Truth is very important. Almost everything hinges on what is true. And if truth exists, then it should be objective since a subjective truth is no truth at all.

In relation to my belief in God, I can say that my faith as it is now is not grounded in tradition nor social influence as opposed to a lot of people. No. It is deeply rooted. I believe a god exists. And not just any god, but The God who made everything, who’s outside the domains of space and of time, but still who chooses to be personal with us human beings. And this God is an objective truth.

In my perspective, the question if there truly is a God or not is not a question of science. No. Rather, I think it’s a question of philosophy. Science only brings us too far, while philosophy always seems to ring true across all generations. And as a good friend of mine would put it, “The truth of God and the truth of science does not clash with each other. God made science for us human beings to understand things — things that only a higher power, God, is capable of making it possible.”

3. A Mastermind That Believes In Christ

Believing in God is easy. I think rationality alone could lead to that stand. But believing in Christianity is much more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the existence of Jesus Christ to be true. His existence and His works has been proven not only by the Bible, but by countless historical sources outside of it. Rather, to think that Christianity — that Jesus Christ is God, that He went down and lived a perfect sinless human life just to save and redeem us fallen unfaithful creatures, and that He loves me, a person who is the very opposite of His perfection, is true — This is a much harder thing to believe in.

With all of my questioning, studying, wrestling, and researching, there are a lot of things that I still haven’t figured out. Things like the Trinity of God, free-will, God’s love, the world, etc. And this is where the element of faith comes in. My mind can carry me only to a limited distance; Faith can carry me to an incomparably greater distance. I can only cling to faith as to why I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

And where does this faith come from? I certainly could not credit the little faith that I have to myself. Rather, faith is a gift (just like other gifts) that comes from God alone.

4. A “Mastermind” That Has His Faith In Christ

The question of whether Myers-Briggs-Type-Indicator is a reliable indicator of personality or it is not, I do not know. But instead of putting my identity on to the very flattering definitions of an INTJ, I’d rather have my identity as a son of God, an elected co-heir of Christ.

And why I follow Christ, it is only because of this small faith that I had been given.

As it was written,

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
(Ephesians 2:8)

Recently I’ve founded two start-ups.

But to put honesty in its place, I really couldn’t label us as a “startup” yet. We’re still at the infancy stage: A fetus waiting to be born. We have no investors, no capital, etc. We just have us, a company of hackers, businessmen, and entrepreneur-wannabes, working for free towards a vision that may lead to somewhere or may just go down the drain.

I’ve formed the team basing on two things: an idea, and connections. And in this post, I’ll be talking more on the latter.

So far I had a 100% success rate of my attempt in recruiting the people that I wanted to work with. I hand-picked them based on their talents, experience, and character. This got me thinking: Why would such talented people, where some are more experienced than me by years, accept a crazy offer from someone young who’s from a unknown faraway land? And why would they be willing to work for free for something that will just drain them of their energy, finances, and time?

At first, because of my prideful super-masculine-testosterone-driven-ego-centric thinking, the questioned revolved around me. But as I thought more, I realized it wasn’t about me. I had nothing to do about it. It was more about abstract factors that contributed to this willingness, and in here I’ll attempt to identify them.

1. Trust

I believe trust is the foundational block of relationships.

I hand-picked people that I trust enough. People that are flawed but great. I found out that I trust people more that have apparent flaws, than people who try excessively to hide them.

I also believe this is a two-way thing. I believe they can’t accept my offer if they do not trust me enough. Why they trust me, I do not know. But this I do know: Trust is the foundational block of relationships.

So, don’t be afraid of your human flaws. We all have them.

Share yourself enough; Build trusting relationships.

2. Plan

Trust is the foundational block, skills provide the leg work, but a plan makes things clearer, reduces fear and uncertainty, and provides overall motivation.

I’ve come up with a plan and presented it to the people that I’ve recruited. I’m no seer, but I try to see the possibilities of the future, and then for me to come up with a plan to work towards the most ideal future.

Plans tend to fail. A lot of my plans did. But plans work sometimes too. And at the very least, plans makes a lot of things less uncertain.

Me and my teams are working towards something that we’re not very familiar with. We’re even stepping towards a very unfamiliar area. But we’re willing to grow and to experience what holds ahead of us. And having a plan makes this frightful venture more bearable, even exciting.

3. Vision

A team without a vision is a team without direction.

I’ve once read from a Chess grandmaster that in order to win, you need to study the endgame. For me, to make something work, I need to visualize the end result, then slowly work from there towards the current state that I am in. That way, efforts will be focused towards the end game.

A vision unifies. A vision gives direction. A vision gives focus. A vision inspires.

And I’m not talking about a vision of success, fame, nor wealth-creation. Things like those doesn’t really cut for me. Even from a lot of people that I’ve learned from, they’ve shared that wealth-chasing usually backfires. Instead, I think that a better world is a more appealing and satisfying goal.

Conclusion

I have plans, but I’m not entirely sure of the things that are ahead of me.

I have a vision, but I’m not entirely sure how the future will play out.

I am only sure of this:

That I do not have total control of my past, present, and future, but to the LORD who is sovereign.

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
(Romans 9:16)

After graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from college, I flew to Manila to live alone.

With no single soul that I am well acquainted with (except for my sister who’s in a different but nearby city), I embraced the challenge and the risks of starting to live alone. And considering  my inexperience in using the Tagalog language, coupled with my decision of not watching TV for years, conversational Tagalog had been a challenge to master.

A lot of people were bewildered by my decision to move here. From my family, church, and friends in my hometown in Iligan City, to the people here in Manila, they all questioned me.

Some of them said that my decision was unnecessary, since there’s the obvious choice of Cebu and Davao for career opportunities.
Some were stunned and commented that its a pakikipagsapalaran.
Some were astounded to the fact that I am currently living alone.
Some were just plain curious, I think.

I agree to them to an extent, but I have my reasons, reasons that I believe are compelling enough to me  to the point that it overshadows all the fear and risks that were lying in wait.

I. Seeking Personal Growth

I consider my boyhood years to be overprivileged: I am the youngest child and the only boy in my family. Thus, I failed to grasp the importance of independent life skills such as negotiation skills, social skills, sense-of-direction, etc . I learned to always be dependent of someone for some of my needs.

Why should I learn to do these things when I have someone who can and will do it for me?

But, I wanted to break through out of my comfort zone.

I desired growth.

I hungered. For independence and experience.

I thirsted for my maturity.

Thus, as an overprivileged boy, I wanted to learn life skills and gain experiences that I believe I could not learn if just stayed in my home city.

I wanted to be stronger as a person.

To be more mentally strong and resilient.

To be more decisive.

To gain experience and be more wise.

So to make this happen, I had to force such new and unfamiliar environment to myself, an environment that will push stubborn me to learn them faster.

II. Environment and Opportunities

I had been studying the life of outliers: Elon Musk, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Andrew Carnegie, etc. And one thing that I found as a common pattern among them, aside from their genius and their incredible character, was that they were positioned in the right place at the right time.

Elon Musk flew away from South Africa to Canada.

Benjamin Franklin travelled away from his home when he was about to turn 20 years old.

Andrew Carnegie moved to a different city for work.

Steve Jobs was fortunate to live in a city that breeds technology.

Arnold Schwarzenegger moved away from hometown for training purposes.

Even Jose Rizal ran away to study and learn.

In other words, environment is an important factor. Some were fortunate to be naturally positioned in good places, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The less fortunate ones, having realized their positions, made the decision to force their way out to a better place, such as what Elon Musk, Benjamin Franklin, and Jose Rizal did.

I am no one special compared to the above mentioned outliers, but I have decided to learn from the life experiences of people.

So, aside from my desire to quench my personal curiosities about my country, I moved to Manila because of the significant difference of opportunities it has and will probably have in the future.

III. A Stubborn Vision

This last reason may be strange, but its a stubborn one. I consider this to be more of a spiritual reason than a practical one.

I personally believe in destiny: that each person has a calling.

Lets just say that I believe I have a calling that I should fulfill. I can’t articulate it well beyond that.

 

Conclusion

So, do I recommend my fellow “Mindanao-oans” to move here straight out of graduation, to live alone?

For me, me being just months in since I moved here, I am assured that my goals are being satisfied. And having learned some new things about myself and of the sovereignty of God (which I think I could not learn had I not ventured here), I already feel like I have gained significant growth in a short amount of time.

I won’t recommend my decision to everyone, as it depends totally on you and on the calling that you think that you have.

But I do recommend the experience for those people who want this type of growth.

I am sharing my INTJ-ness to the world by sharing one of my weekly evaluation template that I have developed and have been using.

I am fond of evaluating my life, strategizing around it, setting systematic weekly and daily goals, rinse and repeat. Of the 7-day week, I take a day off to contemplate, journal, plan, and strategize. I guess this is an INTJ personality thing. I do this mainly because this helps me to see my life from a bird’s eye view, see where I am currently headed,  and see what things I need to do for me to achieve long-distance goals. This also helps me to internalize things better, help commit events to my memory, and in general make me feel more responsible of my life.

You are free to use this Weekly Evaluation Template (W.E.T.) for free and for your benefit, except that it remain to be free. If you do decide to use it, I would greatly appreciate it for you to share to me any results and feedback in using it.

Why am I doing this, you ask? I guess you could say this to be one of my nonsense experiments

 

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Weekly Evaluation Template (W.E.T.)

  1. PAST
    1. GOALS:
      1. What were my goals for the week? (Write and list them down.)
      2. Did I hit my goals for the week? (If yes, elaborate and evaluate. Then, feel good! If no, evaluate and learn from it.)
      3. Am I getting closer to my long-term vision?
    2. HABITS:
      1. Did I read for atleast 1hr this week? (What is the title and who is the author of the book(s)? How is the book? Review and evaluate.)
      2. Have I exercised this week? (If so, how many hours in total have I exercised?)
      3. Have I read the Bible every single day of the week?
    3. DEVELOPMENT:
      1. What new thing(s) have I learned this week?
      2. What are the things/skills that I still need to develop, for me to move forward faster?
    4. EXPERIENCES:
      1. What accomplishments have I made?
      2. What setbacks have I experienced? (How did I handle it? Could I have handled it better?)
  2. FUTURE
    1. What goals should I focus for the coming week? (Are the goals SMART? Are the goals in-line with my core principles? Are the goals pointing to my long-term vision?)

 

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What do you think? Do you think W.E.T. can help you in any way? In the case that you’ve been using it, how has it been? Let me know under the comments section below!