Want a Joyride to Sin City? Think again.

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A man is driving on a highway in a faraway suburb. He can see the green mountains, coconut trees and, well, coconut trees. Then suddenly, he encountered a crossroad. The road going to his left has a signage that says: To Sin City. The road going to his right says: To holy land. Suddenly the man has to decide. He began to scratch his head and say “where do I go now?” But hey! There’s a description below the signage.

The road on the left, To Sin City says that: This road will lead you to short cuts. It is the easy way, pleasurable, no sacrifices needed and absolutely FREE! Go here and you will experience instant gratification. You have nothing to worry but yourself.

On the other hand, the road on his right says: This road is rough, it’s also tough. Nothing is easy at the beginning but you will learn from everything. At times you have to give way to others, even help them when they’re in need. We’re very sorry for all the inconveniences, but here’s a promise though: In the end you will experience life in abundance.

He thought, “I’m in a hurry. I want everything I want now! Who wants to go on a rough road anyway?” So he took the road on the left to Sin City. And not surprisingly, many people took the same road. And they experienced all the fun. In the beginning.

Another man encountered the same thing in the same place. He saw the signage. But he got out of his car and read the descriptions on point blank. He noticed, the description to Sin City has a footnote. Below, it says, “Destination will be damnation.”

Of course, this story is just a product of my imagination. But there are truths behind it. First, in this life everyone has to decide on what path to take. There’s the path to Sin City and the path to holy land. The characteristics of the two roads are given. The destinations are also certain.

In reality though, we are faced with this decision every day. But each day we decide on a certain road, we get farther and farther. And a lot of times, we take the road on the left too much until we realize we’ve gone too far to go back.

Fortunately, there’s a thing called repentance. Yeah, the very unattractive word, repentance. It’s like when you encountered this word, it goes in your right ear and then out to the left. It has become unpopular because of the powerful perception that it is hard. And no one wants that, until it’s too late. Until they’ve gone to the point of no return. Laging nasa huli ang pagsisisi.

But think about this analogy: if you went to the wrong road, repentance is your exit point leading you back to the right path.

Because most of us started out in life in the right way. But somehow, someway, temptations come and we give in. Bad habits are formed and the cycle goes on. Until, consequences began to surface. You’re overweight and sickly, your wife or husband left you, your grades are failing, your child is rebelling, no one trusts you anymore.

Suddenly, you want to repent. Repentance is a popular word again. But this is what repentance is NOT. Repentance is not the fear of consequences of sin but rather, we should hate the sin itself because it offends God.

The Greek word for repentance is metanoia which is literally translated as change of mind.

And for my analogy above, it is a change in direction. And to do this, we must possess two essential characteristics: honesty and humility.

First, we should admit to ourselves that we’ve made a mistake. Acknowledge that you were wrong. Never justify nor sugar coat your sin. It is what it is. Because it was your choice in the first place. A lot of people now tend to sugar coat their sins and call it “open-mindedness.”

Next, we should be humble enough to ask God for forgiveness and seek the help of others.

And when you fall again, remember that God will never give up on you. So don’t you dare give up on yourself. Which reminds me of the most important thing, His love for you.

“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans: 38-39)

Believe and have faith in His love for you. Without this, you will just be travelling the road on your own. With your own strength, own understanding and own directions, which are fleeting and prone to errors.

Repentance and faith go together. It is a double action response.

To just reform our lives is inadequate. We need to go by His plans and promises. To believe without doing anything is nothing. For faith without works is dead (James 2:14-17).

So, to holy land anyone?

Never Give Up on Yourself

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It is indeed hard to be a follower of Christ. But it is much difficult if you are too hard on yourself. You want to be a good Christian yet you still believe that you are a failure and that you’ve messed up despite of all the efforts you’ve done.

You tried to be the best person you can be; a good son, daughter, mother, father, husband or wife but it seems not enough. You keep on confessing the same old sin, five, ten, twenty years ago. It’s like you didn’t improve at all.

Sometimes you just want to give up. You consider yourself as a fruitless branch that should be cut from the vine. You question yourself: “Is this what it’s like to be a follower of Christ? I thought it is all flowers and rainbows, is it not about feeling great and awesome?”

Have you been this kind of a Christian? If you are, then welcome to the club. Congratulations! You are not alone.

Let me share this bible verse with you from St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews in the twelfth chapter.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

It is indeed hard to follow Christ, it is not for the faint-hearted. Just like St. Paul said “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.” and who are those witnesses? Those are the people who followed Christ before us. Ordinary people like you and I (Hebrews 11). Great saints and prophets who are watching over us, cheering us on. To “run with perseverance” telling us that if they can do it, so can we by the grace of God.

May we be reminded that this “race” is not a sprint but rather a marathon. As for me I’d like to see it as a bike race like Tour de France, composed of group mates designed to support one another. Employing various techniques like drafting to allow each member to endure each struggles up to the finish line.

Let us “fix our eyes on Jesus”, our lover and number one fan. Knowing that He too suffered, He too uttered the words from Psalm 22:

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?”

May we look at this not so much as a cry of a man that despairs but a man that endures everything ’til the end, as the psalmist continues:

“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”

So please don’t be hard on yourself. Trust in your Lord and allow yourself to be loved by Him. Allow yourself to stand up again, and again, and again, and again.

“Consider Him who endured… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Don’t get discouraged. You’re doing great. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said:

“Instead of becoming discouraged, I said to myself: God cannot inspire unrealizable desires. I can then. In spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness.”

 

Road to Fulfillment

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Do you feel that you’re going through life without direction? Do you feel empty and that your life has no meaning? You drift from day to day, from job to job unable to create something valuable because you lack the sense of identity and purpose.

There are many people who fail in life because they do not love what they do. Some do what others want them to do. Some people follow the crowd. A lot of us are trying to fulfill someone else’s dreams.

Simply because, a lot of us do not follow our own passion. Or haven’t found it yet. Some, fail to recognize it.

Each one of us is wanting to do what we love everyday. But we can’t do that if we do not know the direction to pursue.

We need to live a passionate life. For a life without passion is not worth living for.

Don’t follow the crowd, follow your passion instead. And then you will discover your purpose.

The Calling

You have a calling. You have a mission to fulfill. So that you will be fulfilled. People sometimes believe that having a mission is for certain people or groups of people only. But it’s for each one of us. That’s what I believe. And that’s how I live.

How do you find it?

Let me give you some guidance.

First is you identify what you want to do. What you love to do. What gives you the most joy, happiness and fulfillment? What do you love to do that even if you don’t get paid, you’d still do it? That’s your passion.

Hard to think? Alright, what did you like as a child? What are your hobbies?

(Warning: Sometimes, what you are passionate about is not your calling. For example, you love to dance. But dancing doesn’t love you. You know what I mean. Hehe)

When we work hard on something we believe in, it’s called passion. When we work hard on something we don’t believe in, it’s called stress.

—Simon Sinek

Next, where do you excel? Where do people say you are good at? Where have you been successful in the past? And when you do it, people are blessed. That is your potential.

If you were able to identify the thing that you enjoy and you’re very good at, you’re on the right track. Because your passion and potential are the keys to unlock your calling.

To know and follow your calling is very powerful. And there are remarkable people who found their passion, pursued it, and succeed.

The Beatles

We all know that The Beatles can play music (Duh!). They’ve created some of the grandest music that made such a global impact even for generations to come. But how did The Beatles evolve to be the best musical band of all time? In Malcom Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he described the time when the Beatles were still performing in German pubs before they became “The Beatles.” He said:

“The Beatles ended up travelling to Hamburg five times between 1960 and the end of 1962. On the first trip, they played 106 nights, of five or more hours a night. Their second trip they played 92 times. Their third trip they played 48 times, for a total of 172 hours on stage. The last two Hamburg stints, in November and December 1962, involved another 90 hours of performing. All told, they performed for 270 nights in just over a year and a half. By the time they had their first burst of success in 1964, they had performed live an estimated 1,200 times, which is extraordinary. Most bands today don’t perform 1,200 times in their entire careers. The Hamburg crucible is what set the Beatles apart.”

The Guardian, original post

And then the rest was history.

James Dyson

James Dyson is an inventor. And he was discontented at vacuum cleaners during his time, so he invented his own. But here’s the catch:

“When Dyson invented his first Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner, which hit stores in 1993, he spent 15 years creating 5,126 versions that failed before he made one that worked. The payoff was a multi-billion dollar company known for its creativity and forward-thinking designs.”

Entrepreneur.com, original post

Only a passionate person will be willing to undergo 5,126 failures to create something valuable. For 15 years, just in case you didn’t get that.

But don’t be too overwhelmed by others’ success stories.

Let me share with you my friend’s story of passion.

Christine is a nursing assistant. One time after my talk about passion and purpose, she shared her story in our small group discussion. She said that she is very good in “motivating” mothers who are about to give birth in the delivery room.

She said, she would touch them and say, “umabot ka na din dito, matagal kang nagtiis, it’s your time to shine!” Even though it sounds funny, she said that she loves doing that. She’s very good in lifting their spirits in times of painful labor. And Christine finds great importance in that deed. She is a motivator. She encourages mothers in their time of physical and emotional pain. That’s her calling.

If you find meaning and joy in what you do. If you wake up every morning with the desire to fulfill your calling, your purpose, then you are on the road to fulfillment.

You have a calling. Don’t ever think otherwise. Find it. Embrace it.  And God will use you in an amazing way.

Friend, I pray that you find your calling and bless the world with it.

Believe in Someone Who Believes in You

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If someone would ask me how I started writing, I would say that as a kid, I used to write poems. But that was it. I never wrote a single poem again. After that, I only wrote essays for school requirements.

But one time during my senior year in high school, our teacher asked us to write about our school since it will be celebrating its diamond jubilee the next year. Since I love my school very much (and it has treated me very well), I tried to write a creative essay about our school’s history (Yes, I did my research on it) and everything interesting about it. Hoping my essay will be chosen to be posted in our newsletter.

I thought my essay was really good. But it was never posted.

I wonder if it was even read by my teacher, for I was never known as a writer. I was more known as a basketball player back then. So that’s my writing background.

Until one day in college, when I did my homework, which was a reaction paper about our field trip in a farm in Tagaytay, my sister saw my writing (we share one desktop computer back then) and she told me that I’m a talented writer and I should use it. She even made me a letter on that Christmas about it (I still keep it to this day). And I believed her. Because she’s the best writer I know. And that’s the time when I considered about writing as a tool to be used for something greater than school assignments.

But I have no idea what to write.

I was eighteen years old, and it was the turning point in my life. I experienced the love of God in a way that I can’t even explain in words. It was a miracle. A healing miracle. Perhaps I need more time on sharing about it, and I hope to share it with you one of these days. But that experience made me commit to serve God.

From then on, I was actively serving the Lord through our youth charismatic community, the CFC Youth for Christ and now, the CFC Singles for Christ where I learned a lot about myself as well as the lives of other people, their experiences and their stories. That was also the time when I got a grasp of wisdom from people who’ve been there. All of these influenced me to believe that there is something larger than our own lives. And that everyone plays an important role in realizing our purpose. And I told myself, I also want to be used by God through what I can offer.

Fast forward, I decided to use my gift of writing to reach out to people and share God’s love. I’m not the best writer out there but I know I’m making good use of what I have. And my self-discovery, as well as my experience in our community, comes in handy for it is unique. Only I can tell them.

When I think about it now, had I not believed my sister, I wouldn’t have recognized my gift at all. Now, it has become my passion that drives me to fulfill my purpose.

And I will continue to write. For I believe that in every person (including you) blessed through my writings, I’m making a big difference.

In reality, you only need one person who will say, “you have this gift, use it.”

And if you think, that nobody believes in you, you need not wait for that person.

Because someone believes that you CAN BE a good steward of this gift. Because He’s the One who gave it to you. And you know very well who that person is. Yup, it’s God.

And if the Lord believes that He can use you, what else can stop you from believing that you can?

And every time you burn with passion, He’s always rooting for you because He’s your biggest fan.

Friend, you have a gift. Use it.

Kita Kita and the Random Act of Kindness

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Are you feeling down? Life doesn’t make any sense? Do you feel like giving up?

If your answer is yes, then let me share this reflection with you.

Warning: this blog contains spoilers regarding the movie Kita Kita (I See You).

If you haven’t seen it or you don’t have any idea what it is about then here is a synopsys of the movie.

It is about a boy meet girl movie with a simple but effective plot. The Lea (played by Alessandra de Rossi) had a temporary blindness. That’s when she met Tonyo (played by Empoy Marquez) who is a charming and funny guy, who is also not good looking.

In the movie there is a particular scene that struck me. It’s when Lea (not yet blind) noticed Tonyo, always drunk and sleeping on the road side. And everyday as she passes by, greets him a good day and gives him food to eat.

In this moment Tonyo was down and basically gave up on life because of broken heartedness. He considered himself dead, dead on the inside but because of this girl’s kindness and compassion he was brought back to life. She has given him a new life because she believes in him and didn’t gave up on him.

This scene was engraved in my heart because at some point in our lives, we too hit rock bottom. We too may feel down and already raised the white flag but we also have someone who is looking after us, doing every little thing to cheer us up. To bring us back to life even if we’ve given up on ourselves. And that someone is Christ Jesus.

He looks at our poor situation with love and compassion just like Lea. He is nearer to us than we know. Even though we ignore him and put our faith in a can of beer and name it “Sapporo” and declare it as our friend. He is there wanting us to take a shower because we already stink. As Lea told Tonyo, “Maligo ka naman at ang baho-baho mo na“. Upon hearing this and smelling himself, he stood up and took a shower, got a haircut and shaved. Those simple words finally jolted him to life.

Very much like when Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus. People told him that Lazarus is already dead and decaying but Jesus proceeded and uttered the words “Lazarus come out,” and indeed he came out. We too are being called to come out from our “tombs”. We too are being called to life. God wishes us to live, to live in Him. To tackle life with Him side by side.

The raising of Lazarus

Today, may we hear His voice calling us by name.

Today, may we identify our “tomb” that is keeping us from receiving the life that God is offering us.

Today, may we recognize His loving presence.

 

Featured Image: Screen grab from https://www.facebook.com/KitaKitaTheMovie/
Video: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SineHub/videos/

What is Your Worth?

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“But I’m nothing without this suit.”

“If you’re nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

-Peter Parker and Tony Stark (Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017)

I’ve watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and these lines struck me. How? In superficial cases, did you ever feel naked when you go out and you realized you didn’t have your smartphone with you?  For the ladies, do you feel less beautiful when you didn’t spend two hours doing your make-up? (I know some. Haha) And for the guys, do you feel incomplete if you can’t bring your car (I’m talking to myself. Hahaha!) or you don’t have one?

Let’s get deeper. Do you feel less of a person without your job, title, or status? How ‘bout feeling down when you can’t meet the expectations of your loved ones? Do you care too much about your image?

Many of us, that includes myself, base our self-worth with the above-mentioned. Basically what other people think about us. We feel the need to be recognized or affirmed by others.

John and Peter (Juan at Pedro)

John

John the Baptist once said that “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:7-8)

He was talking about the coming of Jesus Christ. Now, the point is John knew his role. That he was just the one to prepare the way for Jesus. He was the “front act” of Jesus. He knows very well that Jesus is the main Man. John wasn’t like the most of us. He is so secured with himself.

Unlike most of us, John knows that his worth is not dependent on anyone’s perspective but with God’s.

And to God, we are worth far more than anything.

Peter

Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man, unlike John, is so anxious to become somebody. To be an Avenger. And if you watched the movie, you know what I’m talking about. He wanted to play a much bigger role by doing all sorts of things that will make him a Super Hero. He became too obsessed with saving people that lead him to make a fatal mistake that almost caused the death of many.

He made two mistakes. First, he was trying to do what he’s not supposed to do, to be like Iron Man. He wanted to prove his worth by being someone he’s not. Second, he was too dependent with his hi-tech multimillion-dollar suit that Tony Stark gave him. He thought that it was the suit that gave him the right to save people. He believed he was nothing without the suit. Then Tony Stark, way beyond disappointed, took his suit after saying “If your nothing without this suit, then you shouldn’t have it.”

But Peter knew his mistakes and did “the amazing.” He made a decision to do what is right even if it meant doing it the hard way. To cut the story short, he made a super hero out of himself even without the suit, and consequently changed the disposition of his enemy. Wow!

Spoiler Alert: Then finally, Tony Stark offered him to become an Avenger with a brand new suit much better than the ones he had! It seemed like a dream come true for Peter. You would expect him to backflip with joy. But to our surprise, Peter refused the offer realizing he has a lot of growing up to do. He decided to be a “friendly neighborhood” instead. Tony, shocked with his decision, was impressed with Peter’s maturity.

Both John and Peter are okay with playing a minor role. Because they knew that they wouldn’t be lesser of a person by stepping down. They have learned to not base their self-worth with their status, title or image. They knew the importance of the roles they play.

Bros and Sisses, there is no more important perspective than how God sees and thinks about you.

You are so important to God that his love for you is unconditional. He doesn’t say, “I’d be happy if you would impress me every day.” Rather, he’s saying “I’m happy because YOU ARE.”

Your self-worth is God’s unconditional love for you.

And when you realize that this kind of love is given to you, you would never see yourself the same way as before.

Peace be with you.

Mark Lester Fernando

Just Do It and You’ll See

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“Just because you cannot see the good result of your labor does not mean that it bore no fruit.”

– Randy Reynolds

Do you feel like all your best efforts had gone to waste?

Do you have a project? You put all your heart, your time, sweat and blood and yet you don’t see any advancements whatsoever ?

Are you aspiring to be the best in what you do, yet nobody knows you.

Do you feel like you’re just one pebble in an endless shore?

Do you feel empty and exhausted upon giving your all and it seems every effort is going nowhere?

My friend, let me share with you a story.

The Other Side of the Wall*

There was a young woman who took great pride in the growth and care of the flowers in her flower garden. She had been raised by her grandmother who taught her to love and care for flowers as she herself had done. So, like her grandmother, her flower garden was second to none.

One day while looking through a flower catalog she often ordered from, a picture of a plant immediately caught her eye. She had never seen blooms on a flower like that before. “I have to have it,” she said to herself, and she immediately ordered it.

When it arrived, she already had a place prepared to plant it. She planted it at the base of a stone wall at the back of her yard. It grew vigorously, with beautiful green leaves all over it, but there were no blooms. Day after day she continued to cultivate it, water it, feed it, and she even talked to it attempting to coax it to bloom. But, it was to no avail.

One morning weeks later, as she stood before the vine, she contemplated how disappointed she was that her plant had not bloomed. She was giving considerable thought to cutting it down and planting something else in its place.

It was at this point that her invalid neighbor, whose lot joined hers, called over to her. “Thank you so much! You can’t imagine how much I have enjoyed the blooms of that vine you planted.” The young woman walked through the gate into her neighbor’s yard, and sure enough, she saw that on the other side of the wall the vine was filled with blooms.

There were indeed the most beautiful blooms she had ever seen. The vine had crept through the crevices and it had not flowered on her side of the fence, it had flowered luxuriantly on the other side.

Just because you cannot see the good result of your labor does not mean that it bore no fruit.

I hope this story touched you as it touched me. Yes it is so wonderful to decide to become the person you ought to be. It’s exciting and makes you dynamic. We then start to do something to be that person. You learn, you practice, you exercise, you create. Like in the story, you water the plant, you take care of it, you invest time on it. But somewhere down the line, disappointment comes when nothing seems to happen. And the thing that made you feel dynamic becomes the very reason of your heartaches.

But remember, even though it seems disappointing to you, somebody thinks otherwise. Because, He who began this good work in  you, will carry it on until it is finished… (Philippians 1:6)

Continue digging, continue planting, continue watering, and you will see the best fruits of your labor at the perfect time, in the most profound way. You may not notice it, you may not feel it, but others are already delighted in what you’re doing.

It was the words of the prophet Isaiah that says: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. 

Right now, you are still in the process of becoming who you’re ought to be. But behold, Thy will be done.

To the one reading this, I pray that in everything you do, may it take you to your desired destination. You may not see it, but God is always, always at work in the hearts of those who are open to his Word.

Keep on keeping on. And before you know it, the flowers of your labor are already blooming.

Planting with you,

Mark Lester Fernando

*Story from Randy Reynolds' The Other Side of the Wall

 

Why You Should Write Your Book (Lessons from eBook Queen, Sha Nacino)

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“Writing is such a beautiful calling.”

What is your compelling reason to write your book? How can you write your book? Author and Coach Sha Nacino is generous enough to give us answers thru her free webinar “How to Write your Book, Even if You’re Not a Writer,” last January 24.

If you haven’t known about her, Sha is dubbed as the Wonder Writer and eBook Queen by Bo Sanchez and has written over 9 best-selling books. Her passion is coaching people how to write books because she believes that everyone has a story to share.

I happened to know about her back in 2012 while surfing the net, and at last, I had the opportunity be one of her 100 students, and learn from her first hand in the said webinar. The lessons I got were very enriching. And I’m happy to share with you the highlights.

“If you want to spread a message, you write a book.”

She shared her story as a young professional when she was buried in debt and how she was able to get out of it. Through that experience, she gained financial wisdom. She had a burning message to share but had NO LISTENERS! So, Sha started to write like never before. And that’s another problem, she has never written a book before.  She was hesitant at first. Things like “I’m too ambitious, too young, clueless, and no one knows about me,” were playing in her mind.

Fast forward, she has authored several financial books like Who Took My Hard Earned Money and How to Make More Money Without Quitting Your Job… Yet! What happened? SHE DID IT! As you observed, she’s not really different from the rest of us. She had fears, doubts and hesitations. That’s why ordinary people can relate and learn from her.

And being a book author, you get priceless perks. Her number one blessing as a book author?

Speaking Engagements

Because she shared her financial wisdom in her books, she became a resource speaker in various shows and events like Bo Sanchez’s Wealth Summit, Money Summit, ANC On the Money and even invited by the Office of the President. Yes, the President, as in the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Blessing Number Two: Passion and Purpose

She published her first book in 2011 and resigned from her work in 2013. Now she can focus in her passion which is writing and public speaking. For her, “work is play, play is work.” And through that passion, she is helping a lot of people, and that includes me.

Blessing Number Three: Touching Lives

“Writing is such a beautiful calling,” she exclaimed.

Take these two scenarios. The first one is this: Ask yourself, who am I? Why would people listen to me and read my book?

The second is this: Ask these questions:

Will my book inspire someone?

Will my book bless someone?

Will my book solve someone else’s problem?

Will my book give hope to someone?

Will people miss out if they didn’t read my book?

Did you see the difference in focus of the two scenarios? The first one is about yourself. The second one IS ABOUT THE READER!

“No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, you are worthy to become an author,” she emphasized.

You might be asking now, “How will I start?”

Sha gave the Three Keys to unlock your writing potential.

Key #1: Message

All of us have that compelling message. Have the heart to write your book and have the right reasons. The fame, branding and money are all consequences of writing your book. Imagine, what if Bo Sanchez didn’t write the book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market… and Why You Should, Too”?  A lot of people might still be afraid of the stock market. And because he had the compelling reason to write this book, as a consequence, her maid is now a millionaire. Just wow!

Key # 2: Passion

Writing entails hard work and dedication, and to do it, you should love the profession of writing a book.

Everyone can write but the passionate person is likely to succeed.

Key # 3: System

Have the tools to write a book. In her experience, writing her first book, “Think Rich Yuppies” took her three years. She used the trial and error method. Along the way, she discovers a systematic way of writing a book. And for the second book, it only took her three weeks! The system made the difference.

The systematic way of writing a book includes selecting a topic, defining your thesis statement (in other words, what is your book about?), creating a mind map, start and keep on writing, and then edit WITHOUT MERCY. 

Now that’s some valuable knowledge! Now let me end this article by quoting from Bo Sanchez in his book How to Turn Your Passion into Profit which is co-authored with Dean Pax Lapid:

Pursue Fun, and Funds Will Follow

When work is fun, it’ll be more fun than any other kind of fun. My magic 20 percent is communication. Creating something with words and sharing it to the world. For example, writing for me is the ultimate game. Watching an empty computer screen slowly fill up with well-chosen words, sentences and paragraphs – that gives me an exhilarating high.

The perfect vacation for me is spending time with my family and friends. But when everyone is asleep or resting, I’m on the balcony overlooking the beach, writing my thoughts…

I see two kinds of rich people around me. There are those who pursued money. And there are those who pursued fun.

I noticed that those who pursued money became rich. But those who pursued fun became even richer.

You have that book in mind? It’s time to take it to reality.

Write your book.

Mark Lester Fernando

Your Best Year Ever

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“If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.”

You know the thing about New Year’s resolution is that many people will call this practice a cliché. You’ll forget about it and probably won’t succeed. I disagree. First, let’s talk about its definition. Every year is a venue for a new year’s resolution right? It means we can have resolutions for THAT year. Not every five years, not every decade. It means we will be doing this resolution for a year ONLY. After that we can move on. The problem for most people is that they see a resolution as a tedious life changing experience and look much in advance to their destination and gets overwhelmed after some time.

Well if we think like this we’ll also be disappointed in advance. Because we won’t get results RIGHT AWAY. And the image of the desired destination will be destroyed completely. And this will go on every year.

The key here is to change your strategy by condensing it. MAKE YOUR RESOLUTIONS DOABLE FOR A YEAR. The year will pass by. It’s up to you how you’ll spend it. It was Albert Einstein who said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. So if you want this year to be your best year so far, a good portion of it is really up to your decisions. And don’t expect instant results, instead expect for slow gains.

How???

Make targets.

That. Are. Sustainable.

I’ll give my blog as an example. I used to write long articles. My target was to write at least 1000 words per entry. I realize it’s probably not good for me YET. Writing long articles can take a toll on me mentally and psychologically. The result of having this target? I felt pressured. I had this feeling that I need to put extra effort to meet my target. The passion became a burden and not a single article was written for almost a year.

So I decided to write shorter articles that is worth the read. A valuable message that readers can easily remember and apply in their lives.  About three to five important points are enough. Another thing is that shorter but meaty articles would only take a minute or two of your precious time. The value of my writing isn’t diminished. It just became concise. I’m not saying that I’m never going to write 1000+ word articles. I will. I believe that if I get to increase my reps just like how James Clear has described it in his article about slow gains, I will be able to write longer articles of value with ease. I know I’ll get there, but for now, I have a more doable target. It’s sustainable!

And finally…

Be good in your one thing. What is that one thing? We all have it. For me it’s writing. If you focus on that and make a resolution to be better, as discussed earlier, then you can change for the better. And guess what, that one thing? Only you can do it.

Because you are unique. No one else is like you. And not a single person will ever be!

St. Catherine of Sienna believes that “If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.” You want this year to be your best year yet? Focus on your one thing and be willing to contribute something good to the world. I promise you, your life will be changed in a very profound way.

May these guide questions help you to set and achieve your goal.

  1. What is your one thing?
  2. What is your “condensed” target?
  3. In what ways can it be sustainable?

Make your best year ever.

Mark Lester Fernando

 


Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunset-sunshine-travel-wings-103127/

5 Lessons I Learned as a Youth Leader

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“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

—John F. Kennedy

I never had a single regret in joining youth organizations. Aside from the fun, I get to know a lot of people with different backgrounds and eventually, became my friends. Being in a community is one of the greatest blessings I ever had. And I’m privileged enough to lead them. I’ve led a number of different organizations since my teenage years. And in there, I get to develop skills that I find valuable in the real world. Things you don’t learn in school. And aside from that, I gained wisdom from the realizations I had. Of course it’s not at all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but even then I still consider them as great learning experiences. Sure I learned a lot, and I’m sharing with you five of them.

  1. You can’t please everyone

It’s the cold, hard truth for every leader out there. Members have different opinions. They take sides and they criticize. And one disagreement could hit you mentally and emotionally. I had my share, lots of it. How to overcome? Just live with it. You can’t shut people’s mouths but the important thing is to continue to do what you consider is true.

  1. Feedbacks are vital for your improvement and effectiveness

I met my fiancé in my favourite group, the CFC Singles for Christ (Talk about great blessings). And she is my biggest critic. She really spends time to reflect on what I can do to better myself. Either be in the way I give my talk, my mannerisms, etc. Her feedbacks are precious to me. I keep in mind these things so that I can be a more effective leader. Who is your critic? If you have none, ask someone to be. But not just anybody else. That person should be someone important to you as well as you are to him/her.

  1. Friends are your treasures (especially when you’re vulnerable)

You’ll experience a lot of downs while leading an organization. There are times when you just want to stop. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a lot of good friends who push me up and remind me that they are here for me and that they got my back. Think about who your real friends are. Keep them.

  1. A small act of kindness can change a person

As a leader, people look up to you. Many of them will respect you. They will value your words, your stories, your attention and even your presence. In fact, some of them will be honoured just by speaking  with you. No kidding. Now here’s a time where you can be a good influence to someone. A smile, a small chat, isang kamusta, a tap on the shoulder could mean a lot to them. Take advantage of it in a very good way. Be an inspiration!

  1. Build relationships, build a whole community

Give more venue for sharing of thoughts, stories and reflections and not just for teaching. In this way you get to build a community who treat each other as family. And they will cherish the times they have spent with each other. In my case, I believe that my friends in our community will be my lifelong friends. May forever!

To my Singles for Christ family, thank you very much for the past six years in the community. I thank God for all the experiences I had with you whether it’s beautiful or not, I cherish them all.

Another important thing I realized about leadership is that everyone is called to be a leader.

Lead.

Mark Lester Fernando

 


Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/paper-boats-on-solid-surface-194094/